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A Definition Of Religion

3 Pages 679 Words

The word religion comes from the Latin word Religio. In our society it means believing in a higher power. This higher power is usually a God and people are taught how this God came to be. When one believes in a God there are set ways of worship and a moral code that is lived by. Not every religion has a God and sometimes there are many God’s or in some instances there is no God. In any case this general definition does not do justice to all the religions because of the different beliefs that each religion has.

There are many aspects to religion like animism, magic, divination, taboos, totems, sacrifice, myth, rituals, rites of passage, and ancestor veneration. Not every religion has all of these but a combination of them. Animism is the belief that everything around has spirit. Magic has many definitions but for the use of religion it is the belief that performing certain formulas, dances, and or incantations correctly one can change the course of nature. Divination is the belief where a priest or a prophet tells of the future to be. Taboo is a belief where people observe rules pertaining to their religion, like Hindus don’t eat the flesh of cattle. Totems are symbols that resemble a certain religion, clan, nation, or a group of people. Sacrifice is a very common practice throughout most religions, it entails giving something to the gods so that they may either be kept happy or for the simple reason of bringing the community and the gods closer together. Myth is one way of explaining the way things came to be in the world; usually myths are passed on from previous generations. Rituals are usually re enactments of myths. They are ceremonies that are performed every day, several times a day, weekly, and or annually. The rites of passage are transitional points in ones life, the most prominent one being the passage from childhood to adulthood. Ancestor veneration is where people celebrate or remember their deceased family members.

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