Wednesday, August 26, 2009
So What Is 'Religion' Anyway?
In the landmark ruling Tim Nicholson was told he could use employment law to argue that he was discriminated against because of his views on the environment.Everybody has actually known this for a long time. The devotion, ecstaticism, and fanaticism with which "environmental activists" have pursued climate change action, based on certainly incomplete and inconclusive data, is religious in nature. Which leads one to wonder how to define a religion.
The head of the tribunal ruled that those views amounted to a philosophical belief under the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations, 2003, according to The Independent.
The dictionary seems to think it is "a set of beliefs," while Wikipedia thinks it is "supernatural" in its focus. The UK ruling would indicate that both of these are incomplete definitions. There is no codified beliefs for climate change, nor is there any room for the supernatural. G.K. Chesterton once said:
Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.So what the heck is "a religion" anyway?
I think in part the answer is going to vary depending on what is needed from the definition. It will be one definition legally, another academically and yet another personally. Now this fact alone should mean it is something that is pretty hard to define, and that should tell us something about its nature.
Religion is a BIG thing with many elements. So big, in fact, that we cannot really get our heads completely around it. This has three terribly important ramifications. First, if a religion is fully comprehensible, then it probably is not a religion. Secondly anybody that thinks they have this thing all figured out is going to be wrong. Finally, when we attempt to define it, we are shaping the religion to ourselves instead of shaping ourselves to the religion.
Let's get specifically Christian here considering that last point. The shape of what it means to be a disciple of Christ is amorphous and, ultimately incomprehensible. I inherently distrust anybody that tries to tell me that the way person X is expressing their Christianity is "not Christian," unless, of course there are ethical problems with it. You may find something distasteful, or even ugly, but that does not mean it falls outside the realm of "Christian."
There is a lot of talk about diversity in creation. Do you really think God would have created people so that they all looked pretty much the same? I don't.