Introduction to Religious Studies
What is Religion?
There is no single religion. Religion is a scholarly category. There are religions but no religion.
Osama Bin Laden (1957-2011) and George W. Bush both put religion first. 9/11 put religion on the
Religion? St Augustine (354-430AD)
“For what is time? Who can easily and briefly explain it? Who even in thought can comprehend it,
even to the pronouncing of the word concerning it? What then is time? If no one ask of me I know; if
I wish to explain to him what it is, I know not.”
One type of religion is the truth, everything else is religion eg. Christianity is the truth, everything
else is religion ie not true.
“Religion is belief in supernatural beings”- exclusivist. Usual Christian or Muslim understandings.
Cuts out many religions which have no supernatural beings.
Look not at content but at the way that ideologies and practices function in various contexts to
provide an overarching structure of meaning in everyday social life. Often expand ‘religionn’ by
including ideologies such as Marxism.
Substantivist + functionalist ar