The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
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.
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.
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.
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
Religion . . . means the conscious relation between
man and God, and the expression of that relation in
human conduct. --J.
After the most straitest sect of our religion I
lived a Pharisee. --Acts xxvi.
The image of a brute, adorned
With gay religions full of pomp and gold. --Milton.
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
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
Let us with caution indulge the supposition that
morality can be maintained without religion.
Religion will attend you . . . as a pleasant and
useful companion in every proper place, and every
temperate occupation of life. --Buckminster.
3. (R. C. Ch.) A monastic or religious order subject to a
regulated mode of life; the religious state; as, to enter
A good man was there of religion. --Chaucer.
4. Strictness of fidelity in conforming to any practice, as
if it were an enjoined rule of conduct. [R.]
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.
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
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.
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Natural \Nat"u*ral\ (?; 135), a. [OE. naturel, F. naturel, fr.
L. naturalis, fr. natura. See Nature.]
1. Fixed or determined by nature; pertaining to the
constitution of a thing; belonging to native character;
according to nature; essential; characteristic; innate;
not artificial, foreign, assumed, put on, or acquired; as,
the natural growth of animals or plants; the natural
motion of a gravitating body; natural strength or
disposition; the natural heat of the body; natural color.
With strong natural sense, and rare force of will.
2. Conformed to the order, laws, or actual facts, of nature;
consonant to the methods of nature; according to the
stated course of things, or in accordance with the laws
which govern events, feelings, etc.; not exceptional or
violent; legitimate; normal; regular; as, the natural
consequence of crime; a natural death; anger is a natural
response to insult.
What can be more natural than the circumstances in
the behavior of those women who had lost their
husbands on this fatal day? --Addison.
3. Having to do with existing system to things; dealing with,
or derived from, the creation, or the world of matter and
mind, as known by man; within the scope of human reason or
experience; not supernatural; as, a natural law; natural
science; history, theology.
I call that natural religion which men might know .
. . by the mere principles of reason, improved by
consideration and experience, without the help of
revelation. --Bp. Wilkins.
4. Conformed to truth or reality; as:
(a) Springing from true sentiment; not artificial or
exaggerated; -- said of action, delivery, etc.; as, a
natural gesture, tone, etc.
(b) Resembling the object imitated; true to nature;
according to the life; -- said of anything copied or
imitated; as, a portrait is natural.
5. Having the character or sentiments properly belonging to
one's position; not unnatural in feelings.
To leave his wife, to leave his babes, . . .
He wants the natural touch. --Shak.
6. Connected by the ties of consanguinity. especially,
Related by birth rather than by adoption; as, one's
natural mother. "Natural friends." --J. H. Newman.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
7. Hence: Begotten without the sanction of law; born out of
wedlock; illegitimate; bastard; as, a natural child.
8. Of or pertaining to the lower or animal nature, as
contrasted with the higher or moral powers, or that which
is spiritual; being in a state of nature; unregenerate.
The natural man receiveth not the things of the
Spirit of God. --1 Cor. ii.
9. (Math.) Belonging to, to be taken in, or referred to, some
system, in which the base is 1; -- said of certain
functions or numbers; as, natural numbers, those
commencing at 1; natural sines, cosines, etc., those taken
in arcs whose radii are 1.
(a) Produced by natural organs, as those of the human
throat, in distinction from instrumental music.
(b) Of or pertaining to a key which has neither a flat
nor a sharp for its signature, as the key of C major.
(c) Applied to an air or modulation of harmony which
moves by easy and smooth transitions, digressing but
little from the original key.
(d) Neither flat nor sharp; -- of a tone.
(e) Changed to the pitch which is neither flat nor sharp,
by appending the sign [natural]; as, A natural.
--Moore (Encyc. of Music).
[1913 Webster +PJC]
11. Existing in nature or created by the forces of nature, in
contrast to production by man; not made, manufactured, or
processed by humans; as, a natural ruby; a natural
bridge; natural fibers; a deposit of natural calcium
sulfate. Opposed to artificial, man-made,
manufactured, processed and synthetic. [WordNet
12. Hence: Not processed or refined; in the same statre as
that existing in nature; as, natural wood; natural foods.
Natural day, the space of twenty-four hours. --Chaucer.
Natural fats, Natural gas, etc. See under Fat, Gas.
Natural Harmony (Mus.), the harmony of the triad or common
Natural history, in its broadest sense, a history or
description of nature as a whole, including the sciences
of botany, Zoology, geology, mineralogy,
paleontology, chemistry, and physics. In recent
usage the term is often restricted to the sciences of
botany and Zoology collectively, and sometimes to the
science of zoology alone.
Natural law, that instinctive sense of justice and of right
and wrong, which is native in mankind, as distinguished
from specifically revealed divine law, and formulated
Natural modulation (Mus.), transition from one key to its
Natural order. (Nat. Hist.) See under order.
Natural person. (Law) See under person, n.
Natural philosophy, originally, the study of nature in
general; the natural sciences; in modern usage, that
branch of physical science, commonly called physics,
which treats of the phenomena and laws of matter and
considers those effects only which are unaccompanied by
any change of a chemical nature; -- contrasted with
mental philosophy and moral philosophy.
Natural scale (Mus.), a scale which is written without
flats or sharps.
Note: Model would be a preferable term, as less likely to
mislead, the so-called artificial scales (scales
represented by the use of flats and sharps) being
equally natural with the so-called natural scale.
Natural science, the study of objects and phenomena
existing in nature, especially biology, chemistry, physics
and their interdisciplinary related sciences; natural
history, in its broadest sense; -- used especially in
contradistinction to social science, mathematics,
philosophy, mental science or moral science.
Natural selection (Biol.), the operation of natural laws
analogous, in their operation and results, to designed
selection in breeding plants and animals, and resulting in
the survival of the fittest; the elimination over time of
species unable to compete in specific environments with
other species more adapted to survival; -- the essential
mechanism of evolution. The principle of natural selection
is neutral with respect to the mechanism by which
inheritable changes occur in organisms (most commonly
thought to be due to mutation of genes and reorganization
of genomes), but proposes that those forms which have
become so modified as to be better adapted to the existing
environment have tended to survive and leave similarly
adapted descendants, while those less perfectly adapted
have tended to die out through lack of fitness for the
environment, thus resulting in the survival of the
fittest. See Darwinism.
Natural system (Bot. & Zool.), a classification based upon
real affinities, as shown in the structure of all parts of
the organisms, and by their embryology.
It should be borne in mind that the natural system
of botany is natural only in the constitution of its
genera, tribes, orders, etc., and in its grand
Natural theology, or Natural religion, that part of
theological science which treats of those evidences of the
existence and attributes of the Supreme Being which are
exhibited in nature; -- distinguished from revealed
religion. See Quotation under Natural, a., 3.
Natural vowel, the vowel sound heard in urn, furl, sir,
her, etc.; -- so called as being uttered in the easiest
open position of the mouth organs. See Neutral vowel,
under Neutral and Guide to Pronunciation, [sect] 17.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
Syn: See Native.