Notes on: What is Religion?

Often, people don’t recognize how multifaceted the answers are to “what is religion?,” “what are the sources of theologies,” “what are the components of theologies?” Talking about Christianity, the Bible is often seen as the theological source. By recognizing how the associated histories and theologies, as well as how the Bible is far from the only source, we begin to recognize how much the actual practice of any religion (or any interpretation of any religion) does and can (and should, as needed) change. 

Sources of and/or elements of theologies:

  • certainty
  • charity
  • community and group experiences
  • desire
  • doubt
  • education/proselytizing
  • fiction (e.g., novels, film)
  • group doctrines
  • history (e.g., past, present, future, end/eschatology)
  • iconography
  • memoir/advice books
  • mores
  • music
  • myth
  • personal experiences and feelings
  • philosophy
  • prayer
  • rituals
  • sacraments
  • sacred places
  • sacred texts
  • science
  • secular law
  • select individuals (e.g., ministers, prophets)
  • tradition
  • unexplained phenomena
  • world view

Did I leave out any componets/sources you can think of?

Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda