Sunday, September 30, 2007

sunday's word: religion

warner sallman, christ our pilot, 1950

ree li jun

belief that a supernatural power or supernatural powers personally guide the universe, especially human endeavors

any expression of a belief in the supernatural

system of codes, practices, + institutions associated with belief in a god, gods, or other supernatural agents, which tries to explain humanity’s relation to the universe or, in some measure, influence the course of life or the laws of nature

metaphor for anything (love, music, food) for which one feels a high level of interest + devotion

18th-century empirical philosophers categorized two sorts of religion: ‘natural religion,’ or paganism, which interprets events in nature as the workings of a god or gods who inhabit or control individual aspects of nature (e.g., river gods, sky gods, tree spirits, the genii of particular minerals), + ‘moral religion,’ or monotheism, which interprets a set of ethical writings as the true, revealed will of an all-powerful god (e.g., jehovah, christ, allah).

recent religious writers have argued that even skepticism + disbelief are faiths or relgions. such a statement is paradoxical, if not patently nonsensical, comparable to saying that wakefulness is a form of sleep or that lying is a form of honesty.

latin ‘religare,’ ‘to bind tightly’ or latin ‘relegare,’ ‘to read again’

‘man is the religious animal. he is the only religious animal. he is the only animal that has the true religion—several of them.’
--mark twain

‘faith: belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.
‘pray: to ask the laws of the universe to be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.
‘religion: a daughter of hope + fear, explaining to ignorance the nature of the unknowable.’
--ambrose bierce

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