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Author Topic: What is religion?  (Read 311 times)

arete

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What is religion?
« on: March 14, 2019, 10:35:55 am »
What is religion?

In my opinion, it's a lifestyle. The compass we have to live our lives. The more we don't practice what we believe, the less happier we become.  :)

Jenett

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Re: What is religion?
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2019, 10:49:59 am »
What is religion?

In my opinion, it's a lifestyle. The compass we have to live our lives. The more we don't practice what we believe, the less happier we become.  :)

I really really dislike the idea of religion as a lifestyle.

I'm a middle-aged single librarian with a cat, living in a metro area of the United States.

My lifestyle - where I get my food, what and how I cook, how I get to work, how I spend my time outside of work, who I spend it with- is different than, say, the priest who trained me in my tradition (who lives with his husband in a different city, who has a different set of health needs and food needs, a very different work and social schedule. Though also cats.)

Which makes me realise that cats are probably the only reasonably consistent lifestyle choice in my particular religious witchcraft tradition, and one not at all actually related to the religion or its practices. (And we have had plenty of people who do not have cats.) That rather points out the silliness of conflating the two.

We have different relationship configurations and romantic/life partnerships (or lack thereof.) We have different jobs. We put different priorities on things like food choices, transportation choices, or how we make a living, or whether people have kids or not. (And what things like sexual orientation, gender identity, or other related things mean for some of those choices.)

As a tradition, we have talked at various points about why we make the choices we do - that's part of talking about our lives - but there isn't a single answer here. There are dozens of answers. What *is* part of our tradition is, we hope, self-awareness about the choices we're making, and reviewing them regularly to see how that's going.

Self-awareness does not a lifestyle make.
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arete

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Re: What is religion?
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2019, 11:02:48 am »
I really really dislike the idea of religion as a lifestyle.

I'm a middle-aged single librarian with a cat, living in a metro area of the United States.

My lifestyle - where I get my food, what and how I cook, how I get to work, how I spend my time outside of work, who I spend it with- is different than, say, the priest who trained me in my tradition (who lives with his husband in a different city, who has a different set of health needs and food needs, a very different work and social schedule. Though also cats.)

Which makes me realise that cats are probably the only reasonably consistent lifestyle choice in my particular religious witchcraft tradition, and one not at all actually related to the religion or its practices. (And we have had plenty of people who do not have cats.) That rather points out the silliness of conflating the two.

We have different relationship configurations and romantic/life partnerships (or lack thereof.) We have different jobs. We put different priorities on things like food choices, transportation choices, or how we make a living, or whether people have kids or not. (And what things like sexual orientation, gender identity, or other related things mean for some of those choices.)

As a tradition, we have talked at various points about why we make the choices we do - that's part of talking about our lives - but there isn't a single answer here. There are dozens of answers. What *is* part of our tradition is, we hope, self-awareness about the choices we're making, and reviewing them regularly to see how that's going.

Self-awareness does not a lifestyle make.
But if religion is not a lifestyle, wouldn't that mean that religion is useless?

Jenett

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Re: What is religion?
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2019, 11:21:38 am »
But if religion is not a lifestyle, wouldn't that mean that religion is useless?

Why do you think so?

My religion is about the service of the Gods I honour. It is about self-transformation. It is about awareness of being made of stars, and connected to the world. (Your religion probably varies.)

My religion gives me a framework for asking questions. How do I want to live, how do I want to treat people, what sort of person do I want to be, what magics do I want in my blood and my bones, who do I love and how do I share that love? What is my life in this moment, this day, this season, this year, this phase of my life?

What will I live for, what would I die for? Who am I doing it with?

My religion doesn't give me answers. Those are up to me.

Other religions do specify a lot of these things: what foods are permitted or forbidden, what clothing, how marriages or long-term committed relationships work. But not mine.
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Re: What is religion?
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2019, 11:27:19 am »
Why do you think so?

My religion is about the service of the Gods I honour. It is about self-transformation. It is about awareness of being made of stars, and connected to the world. (Your religion probably varies.)

My religion gives me a framework for asking questions. How do I want to live, how do I want to treat people, what sort of person do I want to be, what magics do I want in my blood and my bones, who do I love and how do I share that love? What is my life in this moment, this day, this season, this year, this phase of my life?

What will I live for, what would I die for? Who am I doing it with?

My religion doesn't give me answers. Those are up to me.

Other religions do specify a lot of these things: what foods are permitted or forbidden, what clothing, how marriages or long-term committed relationships work. But not mine.
I see. In my religion, it dictates how I should live. What food I eat for example.
The problem is when it contradicts society standards.  :-\

Yei

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Re: What is religion?
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2019, 06:55:06 pm »
What is religion?

In my opinion, it's a lifestyle. The compass we have to live our lives. The more we don't practice what we believe, the less happier we become.  :)

Religion is an organisational structure that is intended to facilitate the interaction between people and the gods and spirits through structured worship.

Religion:
- Organises group worship activities
- manages sacred locations
- represents their communities to the gods
- ensures that people follow the gods intentions
- attends to their followers spiritual needs
- helps to spread religious teachings and values

Religions don't always follow this in practise, but this is what it is supposed to do.

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Re: What is religion?
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2019, 06:59:08 pm »
What is religion?

The definition of 'religion' I've come up with for my own use is 'a body of narrative and practices that provides structure for emotions, beliefs, and subjective experiences'. That's a very formal definition of course, and now I'm curious about how other people's definitions differ.

Darkhawk

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Re: What is religion?
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2019, 09:31:33 pm »
But if religion is not a lifestyle, wouldn't that mean that religion is useless?

"Lifestyle" is an utterly trivialising word.  It connotes something that is about appearances rather than substance, mutable choices rather than commitments.  "Lifestyles of the rich and famous" is about aspirational fashion, not meaningful choices.  It is used against minority groups to suggest that aspects of their lives are arbitrary, easily changeable, and wholly dismissable.

In the strictly denotational "manner of living" sense, it is still primarily an economic word.  Where does one live?  Where can one afford to live?  How does one dress?  How does one eat?  What appearance is presented to the world and what does it suggest about one's status?

My religious life both runs deeper than my shopping choices and is not profoundly reflected in them.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

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