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 What even is a Religion?

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The Hanged Man

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PostSubject: What even is a Religion?   Fri May 26, 2017 7:42 pm

The Facilitator and I were having a conversation recently and the topic of what even constituted a religion came up. We both seemed to disagree with what a religion was down to its basic parts, but we did seem to agree what it including the following:

1. A need/desire/offering of spiritual liberation.
2. A form of devotion either in the form of a goal, a duty, a deity or some other point.

What do you think? What is a religion? Does a religion need to have supernatural elements? What about things like environmentalism or feminism, could they be religions?
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The Facilitator
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PostSubject: Re: What even is a Religion?   Sat May 27, 2017 12:57 pm

To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I keep saying that.

I think philosophy is the ideas and religion is the practice. Louis CK makes a good distinction between these realms:



"I have a lot of beliefs, and I live by none of them."

He has the philosophy down, but no religion. The liberation-devotion pattern might be something you can shove into anything. I've been studying Daoism, which seems to buck a lot of the things commonly associated with religion: no gods, per se, no definite organization, and the Daode Jing almost attempts not to define its philosophy (because the definition is not the thing defined). I guess you could say it's a devotion to The Way and a liberation from not-The Way, but that feels like a stretch.
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