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This module discusses what a definition is, and introduces two typologies of definitions.

The basic building block in Religion Studies is the word "religion". So we need to learn what the word means. Put differently, we need a definition of the word or concept "religion".

Briefly, a definition provides a statement of the precise meaning of a word. That is what it does. But before we begin to attach any specific meaning to the word "religion", it will be useful to first take a step back, and think about the role that words (definitions) such as "religion" play in scholarly work.

Is it necessary at all to have definitions? Yes. The reason for this is that in order to think clearly, express our views clearly and communicate them clearly to others, the words that we use need to have a clear, unambiguous and consistent meaning. Even in ordinary life, being clear about exactly what we mean by words is important. A lot of quarrels can be avoided if people would simply make sure that they understand the same thing by the same word. Often our lives depend on it. If the manual for the new piece of electrical equipment says "Do not touch the wire with the red coating with your bare hands", you want to be very sure that you and the manufacturer understand exactly the same thing by the word "red". If his "red" is your "brown" you may be in deep trouble!

However, the word "religion" is far more complex than the word "red". Usually it would be quite in order to just point to something to make clear what the word "red" refers to. But it is more difficult with "religion". One cannot simply point to something. What is more, many people (including scholars) have very different ideas of what the word "religion" means. We could have just given you a definition of religion. But we deliberately do not do it. Let us rather investigate various kinds of definitions of "religion", take them apart and criticise them. This way you will be able to distinguish between good and bad, useful and useless definitions, and even come up with a good definition yourself.

First, let us distinguish various kinds of definitions before we try to arrive at a definition of "religion".

Narrow and broad definitions

As the word says, a narrow (exclusive) definition includes a limited slice of experience in the word "religion", and excludes a great deal. A typical narrow definition is: "religion" means the belief in God .

A broad (inclusive) definition includes much more. A typical broad definition would be: "religion" meanspeople's search for ultimate meaning . The belief in God might be part of such a definition, but it would not be restricted to it. On the other hand, in such a wide definition it might be possible to even say that even when people do not believe in God, they may nevertheless be religious.

One should not right away jump to the conclusion that any one of the above two types of definition is "right" or "wrong". A definition is just an instrument, a tool, designed for a certain job, a tool that we need to learn how to use well. So it depends on what you want to do. Under certain circumstances, a narrow definition might be more useful, in other circumstances, a wide definition.

Questions & Answers

how do they get the third part x = (32)5/4
kinnecy Reply
can someone help me with some logarithmic and exponential equations.
Jeffrey Reply
sure. what is your question?
okay, so you have 6 raised to the power of 2. what is that part of your answer
I don't understand what the A with approx sign and the boxed x mean
it think it's written 20/(X-6)^2 so it's 20 divided by X-6 squared
I'm not sure why it wrote it the other way
I got X =-6
ok. so take the square root of both sides, now you have plus or minus the square root of 20= x-6
oops. ignore that.
so you not have an equal sign anywhere in the original equation?
Commplementary angles
Idrissa Reply
im all ears I need to learn
right! what he said ⤴⤴⤴
what is a good calculator for all algebra; would a Casio fx 260 work with all algebra equations? please name the cheapest, thanks.
Kevin Reply
a perfect square v²+2v+_
Dearan Reply
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Abdirahman Reply
algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
The answer is neither. The function, 2 = 0 cannot exist. Hence, the function is undefined.
Embra Reply
if |A| not equal to 0 and order of A is n prove that adj (adj A = |A|
Nancy Reply
rolling four fair dice and getting an even number an all four dice
ramon Reply
Kristine 2*2*2=8
Bridget Reply
Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
Emedobi Reply
No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
Mary Reply
is it 3×y ?
Joan Reply
J, combine like terms 7x-4y
Bridget Reply
how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
bamidele Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Learning about religion. OpenStax CNX. Apr 18, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11780/1.1
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