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What is Religion Semester 1

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Philosophy 1022E
Cathy Thorpe

What is Religion About 1/2 of the class is definitively non-religious 1/3 is definitively religious Rest did not answer There are 3 "Abrahamic" religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. They compromise approx. 53% of the population Non-Religious make up 15% of the population with Athiests making up a further 5%. This then implies that 80% of the world's population is religious. September-10-13 8:13 AM But what is religion? 1. The Idea of Definition Traditionally we understand defining something as giving its necessary and sufficient conditions. Eg: The definition of 'bachelor' is 'unmarried male' Therefore anything that is a bachelor is an unmarried male, and anything that is an unmarried male is a bachelor. 1. Necessary and sufficient conditions 'unmarried' is a necessary condition of 'bachelor' 'male' is a necessary condition of 'bachelor' 'unmarried' and 'male' are, taken together, a sufficient condition of 'bachelor' 1. Essence = definition = necessary & sufficient conditions What is the essence of religion? • belief, faith, in the unprovable • Supernatural • God or gods • Awe • Individual and private affair (charter of Quebec values) • Essential to life: answer to nihility (nothingness) • Eschatology (afterlife) • Ritual • Priests or shamans • Moral law None of these features are present in every single religion! Thus there is no necessary condition of religion. Thus it is not possible to give necessary and sufficient conditions Then there is no definition, and no essence. So lets go back and take a fresh look at the idea of definition Many of the world's major conflicts are defined by religious difference. Eg: War on "Terror"/Jihad, Palestinian-Israeli relations, Sudan, Rwandan Genocide. Redefining Definition How do you define
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