What is Religion?
• In narrow sense:
– Teaching, advice, and command of a respectfully
recognized teacher (may be considered as a God)
• In broad sense:
– Set of belief recognized and followed by the followers as
the influence of the super/hero man
– The belief in supernatural influences
– Belief in the holy teaching and command (doctrine) of
the God man…
– Teaching people to be moral
– The aspects of ritual, morality, theology, and mystical
What is Religion?
– Latin root
– Re plus ligare
– ‘again’ combined with ‘to
bind’ meaning ‘to tie fast’
– Latin – ‘obligation’ or ‘bond’
Religion deals with the big
issues in life – good and evil –
important to people.
- Ex. Some believers cling to
their faith and even prepared
to die for it.
Meaning of “Religion”
• Religion is “to join again,” “to reconnect.”
• The Latin roots of the word religion are thought to be re
– Re means “again”
– Lig means “join” or “connect” (as in “ligament”)
• The word religion suggests the joining of our natural,
human world to the sacred world.
Types of Religion
• Religion of Animism / Super-Naturalism
– Belief in super nature (natural influence)
– Ex: belief in mountains, sea, lakes, trees,…
• Religion of God Existence
– Belief in God/ gods
– Ex: God creates everything and destroy it,…
• Religion of Non-God Existence/ Religion of
– Philosophy of life, reality, rationality, logics,…
– Ex: Life is suffering,…
Why do religions exist?
• Religions help us deal with a variety of human
needs. For example:
–Give us a way to think about our own mortality
–Help us to find security in an insecure world
–Organize us socially
–Assist the poorest and the weakest with
–Stimulate artistic production
Why Religion Exist? (continued)
Reasons why religion exists:
1. It serves many human needs. One primary need is
having a means to deal with our mortality.
• Religion can help us cope with death, and
religious rituals can offer us comfort.
2. It helps us to respond to our natural wonder about
ourselves and the cosmos
3. It’s a human attempt to feel more secure in an
4. It grows out of psychological needs
5. It is a way of life founded upon the apprehension of
sacredness in existence
Why study the religion?
Each religion is interesting in its own right, as a complex
system of values, relationships, personalities, and human
The study of religions require sympathy and objectivity.
While it is true that being a believer of a particular
religion brings a special insight that an outsider cannot
have, it is also true that an outsider can appreciate things
that are not always obvious to the insider.
In a multicultural world, tolerance of differences is
valuable, but enjoyment of differences is even better.
The value of the study of religions is that it helps us
recognize and appreciate the religious influences that are
Major Religions in the World Today
• 1. Christianity
• 2. Islam
• 3. Hinduism
• 4. Buddhism
• 5. Judaism
Key Elements of Religions
• Religion is simply defined as belief system which consists of
– Doctrine (basic principles & teachings)
– Mythology (stories of gods & history of RGL)
– Concept of religious experiences (consciousness)
– Institutions (Church, Buddhist monastery...)
– Ethical content (practical instructions)
– Rituals (ceremony, sacrifice)
– Sacred objects & places (inanimate items...)
(Ninian Smart, British Philosopher & theologian)
• The written body of teachings of a religious group that are
generally accepted by that group
• The basic principles of any religion are known as doctrine
– believers are taught to understand and accept.
• Some religions open to interpret then leads faith to
change and diversify, but some do not.
• Sources of doctrines: scriptures; sacred texts; and
continual process of reading & interpreting texts
• Doctrine (from Latin: doctrina) is a codification of
beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught
principles or positions, as the essence of teachings in a
given branch of knowledge or belief system.
• Religious doctrine - the written body of teachings of a
religious group that are generally accepted by that group
• Tenet; dogma; religious doctrine; reading; version; creed
Doctrinal or Philosophical Dimension
• The principles of a tradition
• Typically explain complex ideas
• May or may not be familiar to the average
believer, but is part of the scholarly tradition
• A mythology is a collection of stories about God/
gods, covering particularly the origins of the cosmos
and humanity, and the role of divine.
• A religion’s mythology underpins its beliefs, explains
the way of the world is, and provides moral lessons to
guide the followers
• Common to all religions is the idea that worshippers ,
in some way or another, can experience the absolute,
or God. This experience is most obviously
recognizable as a kind of heightened state of being –
ecstasy, trance, exaltation, or calm – reaches beyond
• Religious Institutions are the groups of people who
come together to lead a faith.
• A religion may have a single, central leader, who
presides over a highly organized administration; or it
may have a less formal governance, or consist of
several churches with local leaders.
• Common to all the world’s religions is the idea that we
should try to live better lives.
• Sacred texts and later teachings brim with the moral
instructions of early leaders, of prophets, and of God
• The result is a rich framework of ethical values for all
followers to live
The Buddhist Code of Moral Conduct
1. To abstain from taking life
2. To abstain from taking what is not given
3. To abstain from sensuous misconduct
4. To abstain from false speech
5. To abstain from intoxicants as tending to cloud
• A common theme runs through practice of rituals in
all the world’s religions: rituals that resonate with the
regular of human life give believers chances to
connect with the absolute – at specific stages of
development, at particular times of years, or as part of
Sacred Objects and Places
• Held in special reverence, sacred places and objects
are often linked with specific deities, religious
leaders, or specific times in a faith’s history. Places
may be marked with grand temples or monuments,
but even a wayside shrine used for spiritual
contemplation can be sacred.
Sacred Objects and Places
• Natural Sites
• Historical Sites
• Pilgrimage (Ex. Becca/ Bakkah in Saudi Arab)
• Holy Objects