1. a religion founded primarily on the revelations of God to humankind
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.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: a religion founded primarily on the revelations of God to