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What is Religion

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Philosophy 1020
John Thorp

What is Religion? September-11-12 There are three "Abrahamic" religions: Christianity, Islam, Judaism. = 53% of world population "Non-religious" (15%) + atheists (5%)=5% 20% Therefore 80% of the world is religious. Many of the world's major conflicts are defined by religious difference:  War on "Terror" / Jihad  Palestine  Sudan  India/Pakistan  Ireland 1. How do you define "religion"? The idea of definition: defining something as giving it necessary and sufficient conditions. Bachelor= unmarried male "Unmarried" is condition of bachelor and "Male" is condition of bachelor "Unmarried and male" are a sufficient condition of bachelor Essence=definition=necessary and sufficient conditions What is the essence of religion? 1. belief, faith in the improvable 2. Supernatural 3. God(s) 4. Awe - holy terror 5. Individual & Private affair 6. Essential to life: answer to nihility (the answer to human existence) 7. Eschatology: afterlife 8. Ritual 9. Priests/shamans 10. Moral law None of these features are present in every religion There is no necessary condition, there are no necessary and sufficient conditions. Therefore, no definition. Ludwig Wittgenstein 1889-1951  important philosopher in 20th centaury  Theory of family resemblances  Very often (though not always) our words and concepts lack definition in strict classical sense  They work much li
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