Definition of Religion Essay

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Religion is a term that at first glance seems quite easy to define, but upon further investigation, requires a bit more thoughtful exploration. It would be easy to say that religion is simply belief in a higher power, but that barely scratches the surface. What about the practices and practical ethics that usually come tied up with the word “religion”? Most, if not all, major world religions include belief about deity, often involving rituals, a code of ethics, and a philosophy of life. The three largest religions (by number of followers)- Christianity, Islam, and
Hinduism- include all of these things, so it would not be a stretch to make a definition about religion based upon these criteria. Keeping the three aforementioned religions in mind as examples, the phenomenon of religion as it exists in the world is the belief in some sort of deity where moral codes and ritualistic practices all effect the way practitioners live their lives, be it as a way to serve the deity they believe in or as a way to live their lives well or a combination of both.
Belief in a higher power, god, or otherworldly deity is typically one of the very first things brought up when talking about religion. This should really come as no surprise seeing as the many diverse ideas that the world recognizes as religions all address this idea in some away.
Specifically, the three largest world religions- Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism, all address the idea. Christianity is a monotheistic religion in which God is both wholly independent of and involved in the world because of his nature and love for humanity. The one God in Christianity comprises three distinct, eternally co-existing persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Islam is a monotheistic religion in which Allah is one and incomparable. The Qur’an (the central religious text of Islam) asserts the existence of a single and absolute truth that transcends the world; Allah is a unique and indivisible being, who is independent of the entire

creation. Hinduism does not take a restrictive view on the fundamental question of God and the creation of the universe. Instead, it allows its practitioners to find their own answers over the course of their lives. Because of this, Hinduism is is a diverse system of thought with beliefs spanning monotheism, polytheism, panentheism, pantheism, monism, and atheism, among others. Even though some major religions, like Buddhism, do not adhere to the notion of an omnipotent creator deity or group of deities, the reality that most of these religions, if not all, still address the matter of deity in some way or another. Buddhism is a religion that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs, and practices largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, who is commonly known as the Buddha ("the awakened one"). The
Buddha is recognized by Buddhists as an enlightened teacher who addresses life’s biggest problems, like ending suffering and eliminating ignorance and craving, thus attaining the highest happiness (nirvana). Even though Gautama Buddha is not seen as a deity in Buddhism,
Buddhists still hold him to a certain reverence, either viewing him as a human being who attained nirvana through human efforts or as an embodiment of the cosmic, born for the benefit of others. Even though all religions have a different view on deities and higher powers, almost all have one who is to be held in reverence, and if not, they directly address the issue of deity and creation.
Another aspect of the phenomenon of religion as it exists in the world is that they include moral codes. The three most practiced religions in the world- Christianity, Islam, and
Hinduism- all have such ethical guiding rules. The Ten Commandments, as stated in the Old
Testament of the Bible, are a set of principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Christianity, by detailing how Christians should interact with God and each

other. The Qu’ran is upheld in