Religion Re*li"gion (r[-e]*l[i^]j"[u^]n), n. [F., from L. religio; cf. religens pious, revering the gods, Gr. 'ale`gein to heed, have a care. Cf. {Neglect}.] 1. The outward act or form by which men indicate their recognition of the existence of a god or of gods having power over their destiny, to whom obedience, service, and honor are due; the feeling or expression of human love, fear, or awe of some superhuman and overruling power, whether by profession of belief, by observance of rites and ceremonies, or by the conduct of life; a system of faith and worship; a manifestation of piety; as, ethical religions; monotheistic religions; natural religion; revealed religion; the religion of the Jews; the religion of idol worshipers. [1913 Webster]

An orderly life so far as others are able to observe us is now and then produced by prudential motives or by dint of habit; but without seriousness there can be no religious principle at the bottom, no course of conduct from religious motives; in a word, there can be no religion. --Paley. [1913 Webster]

Religion [was] not, as too often now, used as equivalent for godliness; but . . . it expressed the outer form and embodiment which the inward spirit of a true or a false devotion assumed. --Trench. [1913 Webster]

Religions, by which are meant the modes of divine worship proper to different tribes, nations, or communities, and based on the belief held in common by the members of them severally. . . . There is no living religion without something like a doctrine. On the other hand, a doctrine, however elaborate, does not constitute a religion. --C. P. Tiele (Encyc. Brit.). [1913 Webster]

Religion . . . means the conscious relation between man and God, and the expression of that relation in human conduct. --J. K["o]stlin (Schaff-Herzog Encyc.) [1913 Webster]

After the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. --Acts xxvi. 5. [1913 Webster]

The image of a brute, adorned With gay religions full of pomp and gold. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

2. Specifically, conformity in faith and life to the precepts inculcated in the Bible, respecting the conduct of life and duty toward God and man; the Christian faith and practice.

Note: This definition is from the 1913 Webster, which was edited by Noah Porter, a theologian. His bias toward the Christion religion is evident not only in this definition, but in others as well as in the choice of quations or illustrative phrases. Caveat lector. - PJC [1913 Webster]

Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. --Washington. [1913 Webster]

Religion will attend you . . . as a pleasant and useful companion in every proper place, and every temperate occupation of life. --Buckminster. [1913 Webster]

3. (R. C. Ch.) A monastic or religious order subject to a regulated mode of life; the religious state; as, to enter religion. --Trench. [1913 Webster]

A good man was there of religion. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

4. Strictness of fidelity in conforming to any practice, as if it were an enjoined rule of conduct. [R.] [1913 Webster]

Those parts of pleading which in ancient times might perhaps be material, but at this time are become only mere styles and forms, are still continued with much religion. --Sir M. Hale. [1913 Webster]

Note: Religion, as distinguished from theology, is subjective, designating the feelings and acts of men which relate to God; while theology is objective, and denotes those ideas which man entertains respecting the God whom he worships, especially his systematized views of God. As distinguished from morality, religion denotes the influences and motives to human duty which are found in the character and will of God, while morality describes the duties to man, to which true religion always influences. As distinguished from piety, religion is a high sense of moral obligation and spirit of reverence or worship which affect the heart of man with respect to the Deity, while piety, which first expressed the feelings of a child toward a parent, is used for that filial sentiment of veneration and love which we owe to the Father of all. As distinguished from sanctity, religion is the means by which sanctity is achieved, sanctity denoting primarily that purity of heart and life which results from habitual communion with God, and a sense of his continual presence. [1913 Webster]

{Natural religion}, a religion based upon the evidences of a God and his qualities, which is supplied by natural phenomena. See {Natural theology}, under {Natural}.

{Religion of humanity}, a name sometimes given to a religion founded upon positivism as a philosophical basis.

{Revealed religion}, that which is based upon direct communication of God's will to mankind; especially, the Christian religion, based on the revelations recorded in the Old and New Testaments. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


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