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A Definition of Religion Based on the William S. Green

As an ultimate part of human culture, religion plays a crucial role in the modern world. Throughout history, religion has been a powerful tool that unified and divided people. It becomes not only a set of shared beliefs but also a collection of rules of how to behave. A rapidly growing number of religions and their followers show their importance in the modern world. Today religion is a political and socio-economic force that defines global events and economics. It is highly affected by social and cultural features, lifestyle, and location. In most parts of the world, the idea of religion is the same, corresponding to superior power above human-being.

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Nevertheless, perception of religion could vary according to the different factors. For example, religion in America and other parts of the world is not necessarily recognized similarly (Green, 2010). Green (2010) highlights the importance of religion and gives a definition to this concept. Beliefs in superior power or superhuman are closely related to religious rituals. Religion is a tool that consolidates individuals with the same ideas, traditions, and culture.

It is crucial to determine the importance and role of religion in humans’ life. Its role in daily life emphasizes the importance of religion. Although religion became a secondary position in many developed countries, its trace is still present in their national and individual identities. In contrast, in some locations like in the Middle East, religion is the main driven force and political foundation that regulates every sphere of their lives.

Green (2010) defines religion by theoretical and descriptive methods. According to a theoretical point of view, religion is an artificial construct created by humankind (Green, 2010). The descriptive way suggests that religion refers to something invisible, mysterious, and unreachable for humans (Green, 2010). These two approaches could help to identify the importance of religion in humans’ life. Religion provides an illusion of complete awareness of processes and events incomprehensible to the human mind.

To obtain the comprehensive definition of religion, it is needed to revise the concept of superhumans. The superhuman beings with absolute or limited power that exists solely or interacts with other superhumans are just a common interpretation of higher power in many religions (Green, 2010). In this case, humans obey superior power for various reasons. As stated by Green (2010), interaction with the superhuman reflects fear and delight at the same time. The desire to be encouraged by superior power leads to actions such as praying, obedience, meditation, exorcism, violence, and so on (Green, 2010).

Moreover, rituals combined with local traditions construct the way humans speak, dress, eat, marry, and manage death (Green, 2010). Superhumans could occur in different forms such as spirits, saints, deceased ancestors, and other forms beyond humans’ imaginations. In addition to that, superhumans are said to have the ability to control cosmic order, natural cataclysms, and human life. Cosmic order is recognized not as speculation but as absolute truth. Actions of eating or doing something prohibited in religion violate cosmic order. As religion is based on superhuman-human interactions, disrupting cosmic order is highly undesirable.

To conclude, it could be stated that religion is an artificial product to unify humans with similar beliefs and ideas together. Religion plays a crucial role in many cultures and acts as a moral codex for humans. All religious rituals are actions to obtain superhuman encouragement.

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Reference

Green, W. S. (2010). Introduction: A “humanly relevant” cosmos: What we study when we study religion. In Neusner, J. (Ed.) Introduction to world religions: Communities and cultures (pp. 7–23). Abingdon Press.

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