Rethinking Religion

“Religion” isn’t just a belief. It is humanity’s collective attempt to explain eternity.

“Religion” is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, world-views, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements [1]. Or is it?

The problem with the “religion” is the fact that it objectifies faiths into nothing more than an ideological belief. Truth is, “religion” isn’t just a belief. It is humanity’s collective attempt to explain something far greater than what the eyes can see. It is humanity’s endeavor to explain eternity.

Therefore, religion should not be looked at separately, but holistically. Interfaith discussion shouldn’t be a matter of “living and let live” nor “mutual respect”. The center of interfaith discussion should, rather, be the bringing together of diverse religious pillars of all faiths to the table, accompanied with scientific findings, to lay out the groundwork to explain something that humanity so desires to explain — where do we come from, and where are we going.

You see, the point I am making here is that all religion attempt to explain something so profound, it touches the heart of all who ever lived. Questions regarding where we come from digs right into our identity. We need to understand if we are a treasured possession or if we’re nothing but a speck of dust. This is the foundation of humanity’s value.

[1] –

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6 thoughts on “Rethinking Religion”

  1. As I read this message the Lord reminded me of Elijah’s experience on Mt. Carmel, in 1 Kings 18:16-39..I believe we’re here again…..

    ” So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” 18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” 20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing. 22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.” Then all the people said, “What you say is good.” 25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. 27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. 30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs[a] of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”
    34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
    36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”


      1. Just copy the photo of the Barnabas Award so you can add it to your post. Then, tag me for nominating you. Answer my questions and post five of your own. Nominate five people and notify them by commenting on their latest post. Please let me know if you have other questions.

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  2. I completely agree with you that “religion” is not “just a belief.” One of the first tasks of every religious studies course is to disabuse students of their easy, common, and mistaken, equation of “religion” with “belief.”

    But with respect, I disagree that Wikipedia’s definition, or the other definitions that are similar to it (e.g., Christian Smith’s in *Religion: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It Matters”), work to “objectify faiths into nothing more than an ideological belief.”

    And still with respect, I would point out that defining “religion” as “humanity’s collective attempt to *explain* eternity” does, actually, work to reduce religion to belief.

    The key problem comes from identifying religion with what is in people’s heads – such as “an account of reality” or “an explanation.” But there is an enormous and significant difference between “belief” and “behaviors and practices, morals, … sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations.” Most of the items on the Wikipedia list go well beyond “belief,” asserting that “religion” involves ritual practices, aesthetic and emotional responses, social organization (and everything that goes with that), and so on.

    I do understand that this does not address what is probably your real main point, which is that the Wikipedia definition makes it seem like “religion” is simply (if “simply” is the right word) a matter of socially or culturally conditioned identity and its related convictions and practices, giving religious accounts of reality and their sources of evidence less universally authoritative effect than most religious people can possibly go along with. But that’s a whole different issue.


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