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religion

Definition of Religion

(noun) A personal or institutional system of beliefs, practices, and values relating to the cosmos and supernatural.

Examples of Religion

Religion Pronunciation

Usage Notes

  • Plural: religions
  • An individual fervently practicing a religion is a (noun) religionist, is (adjective) religious, and (adverb) religiously advocates for (noun) religiousness.

Related Quotations

  • “According to [functionalism], a society is composed of interrelated parts, each of which serves a function and (ideally) contributes to the overall stability of the society. Societies develop social structures, or institutions, that persist because they play a part in helping society survive. These institutions include the family, education, government, religion, and the economy. If anything adverse happens to one of these institutions or parts, all other parts are affected and the system no longer functions properly” (Kendall 2006:15).
  • Fundamentalism, whether of the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu variety, is a socially conservative political ideology dressed up in religious language. Although fundamentalists claim to adhere to the original doctrinal texts, they are frequently very selective in their use of those texts and traditions . . . As a religious doctrine, fundamentalism often takes religion out of the social context in which it first arose and says that tenets that may have made sense in, for example, a society that practiced slavery, are still applicable today” (Kaufman and Kimmel 2011:51).
  • “If there is one truth that history has settled beyond all question, it is that religion embraces an ever-diminishing part of social life” (Durkheim [1893] 2004:31).
  • “It is not our thesis that the specific nature of a religion is a simple ‘function‘ of the social situation of the stratum which appears as its characteristic bearer, or that it represents the stratum’s ‘ideology’, or that it is a ‘reflection’ of a stratum’s material or ideal interest-situation” (Weber 1948:269–70).
  • “[T]he religious valuation of restless, continuous, systematic work in a worldly calling, as the highest means to asceticism, and at the same time the surest and most evident proof of rebirth and genuine faith, must have been the most powerful conceivable lever for the expansion of that attitude toward life which we have here called the spirit of capitalism” (Weber [1904–5] 1930:116).

Additional Information

Related Terms


References

Durkheim, Émile. [1893] 2004. “The Division of Labour in Society.” Pp. 19–38 in Readings from Emile Durkheim. Rev. ed., edited and translated by K. Thompson. New York: Routledge.

Kaufman, Michael, and Michael S. Kimmel. 2011. The Guy’s Guide to Feminism. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.

Kendall, Diana. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Weber, Max. [1904–5] 1930. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Translated by T. Parsons. London: Allen and Unwin.

Note: Page number is from a reprinted edition, Routledge Classics (2001).

Weber, Max. 1946. “The Social Psychology of the World Religions.” Pp. 267-301 in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, edited and translated by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills. New York: Oxford University Press.

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Cite the Definition of Religion

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “religion.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved August 24, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/religion/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

religion. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/religion/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “religion.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed August 24, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/religion/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“religion.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 24 Aug. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/religion/>.