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This module presents a number of concepts that are closely associated with the concept "religion". It explains where these other concepts overlap with religion, and where they differ.

Given the nature of definitions they should not be thought of as perfect set of pigeon holes as in, say, a Post Office. It would be nice if this was the case, actually. All the post office staff have to do is simply to sort the mail into one, and one only, little box, or into another one. One either is Mr BB Bodiba or one is not Mr BB Bodiba. No duplication, no overlap, no problem (this presents a somewhat idealised view of the postal system).

Alas, it is not quite that easy with religion and some concepts in its vicinity. Of course we must be very rigorous when it comes to criteria such as clarity and consistency. But even so we must allow for the fact that, in the Human Sciences, all definitions have somewhat fuzzy edges. To try and make the Human Sciences look like Physics or Chemistry, would impossible and inadvisable.

Let us at this stage list a number of such concepts, and briefly indicate their meaning and how they relate to the word "religion".

World view

"World views" (sometimes written as "worldviews") share one feature in particular with religion, namely: views concerning the cosmos, humanity, knowledge, the good and the beautiful. World views may, or may not, have ideas concerning divinity, but they would typically not have the elements typical of what we term "religions", such as sacred and normative tradition, narrative and myth, ethics, ritual, symbol, spiritual experience/spirituality, faith and organisation.

Sometimes exponents of some "world view" willdemand quite adamantly that their "world view" should under no circumstances be confused with "religion". Usually, what they protest against is the element of belief in God/gods/divinity (that is, supernatural beings) that mostly occurs in religion. However, not all religions necessarily rest on such assumptions (examples: Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism).

It is, however, not excluded that some world views may come quite close to, or even include, other elements commonly found in "religion". Let us look at one or two examples.

Most (but not all) forms of Marxism are heavily non–religious or anti–religious. Yet, as many scholars have pointed out, Marxism may display remarkably "religious" undertones. Karl Marx himself was sometimes venerated as a kind of prophet or saviour; his writings sometimes came very close to be treated as a sacred tradition; there were even elements of ritual (think of the marches in front of the Kremlin on Workers' Day); and sometimes it was seen as, for all practical purposes, a messianic movement, and organized in ways that did not differ that much from religious organisations; and so on.

Something similar was sometimes the case with the movement of psycho–analysis as launched by Sigmund Freud. So there are not really hard and fast rules of absolute division between "religion" and "world view". The famous scholar of religion Ninian Smart once suggested that we should stop calling our discipline Religon Studies and call it Worldview Analysis instead.

Remember that a sizable proportion of your fellow citizens are not "religious" in the usual sense at all. To this group belong many who refer to themselves as "secular humanists". They may not believe in God, but they may certainly take the issues of life and death, morality and so on very seriously indeed. That must be respected, and allowed for in this academic discipline as far as possible.

Belief system

This concept refers to one element that is of prime importance in all religions, namely a set of ideas ("beliefs") concerning the ultimate nature of the world, humanity, nature, divinity, and so on.

Ethical system

This concept refers to another element that is very prominent in most religions, namely ethics. There are ethical systems that do not have a religious framework in the narrow sense of the word, but mostly ethical systems do have some sort of wider framework saying what life is about. However, there is no religion without its ethical system.

Indigenous knowledge system (iks)

This concept refers to the knowledge that is part and parcel of an indigenous culture that has been transmitted over generations. In Religion Studies that heritage must be acknowledged and valued. As is the case with the other concepts under discussion, religion and IKS do not coincide perfectly. Parts of IKS will be covered by the concept "religion", and parts of it (such as the medicinal aspects) will fall outside its boundaries.

Unfortunately, much of the discussion around IKs deals not so much with the knowledge itself, but with the question of who is making money out of it. International corporations will send their researchers out to discover from the local people which plants have medicinal properties, for example. They then proceed to take out international patetns on those cures and the local people are locked out from the vast profits that are made. In fact, they may not even be able to afford the new cure!

In the light of these events, an increasing number of countries are enacting legislation to ensure that indigenous knowlege ramians the property of the indigenous people, and that corporations need to take part in fair negotiations if they want to use it.

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
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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
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a perfect square v²+2v+_
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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.
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Kristine 2*2*2=8
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Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
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No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
Mary Reply
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J, combine like terms 7x-4y
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Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
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. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
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types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
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I'm interested in nanotube
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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?
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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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