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religion    : [rɪl'ɪdʒən] [ril'ɪdʒən]
Ghost dance \Ghost dance\
A religious dance of the North American Indians, participated
in by both sexes, and looked upon as a rite of invocation the
purpose of which is, through trance and vision, to bring the
dancer into communion with the unseen world and the spirits
of departed friends. The dance is the chief rite of the

{Ghost-dance}, or


{religion}, which originated about 1890 in the doctrines of
the Piute Wovoka, the Indian Messiah, who taught that the
time was drawing near when the whole Indian race, the dead
with the living, should be reunited to live a life of
millennial happiness upon a regenerated earth. The
religion inculcates peace, righteousness, and work, and
holds that in good time, without warlike intervention, the
oppressive white rule will be removed by the higher
powers. The religion spread through a majority of the
western tribes of the United States, only in the case of
the Sioux, owing to local causes, leading to an outbreak.
[Webster 1913 Suppl.]

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.
[1913 Webster]

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.
[1913 Webster]

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.
[1913 Webster]

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
[1913 Webster]

Religion . . . means the conscious relation between
man and God, and the expression of that relation in
human conduct. --J.
[1913 Webster]

After the most straitest sect of our religion I
lived a Pharisee. --Acts xxvi.
[1913 Webster]

The image of a brute, adorned
With gay religions full of pomp and gold. --Milton.
[1913 Webster]

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
[1913 Webster]

Let us with caution indulge the supposition that
morality can be maintained without religion.
[1913 Webster]

Religion will attend you . . . as a pleasant and
useful companion in every proper place, and every
temperate occupation of life. --Buckminster.
[1913 Webster]

3. (R. C. Ch.) A monastic or religious order subject to a
regulated mode of life; the religious state; as, to enter
religion. --Trench.
[1913 Webster]

A good man was there of religion. --Chaucer.
[1913 Webster]

4. Strictness of fidelity in conforming to any practice, as
if it were an enjoined rule of conduct. [R.]
[1913 Webster]

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.
[1913 Webster]

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
continual presence.
[1913 Webster]

{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.
[1913 Webster]

n 1: a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that
control human destiny; "he lost his faith but not his
morality" [synonym: {religion}, {faith}, {religious belief}]
2: an institution to express belief in a divine power; "he was
raised in the Baptist religion"; "a member of his own faith
contradicted him" [synonym: {religion}, {faith}, {organized

88 Moby Thesaurus words for "religion":
Babi, Babism, Bahaism, Brahmanism, Brahmoism, Buddhism, Buddhology,
Chen Yen Buddhism, Christianity, Mariolatry, Mariology,
Mercersburg theology, Weltanschauung, adoration, anthroposophy,
apologetics, articles of religion, belief, canonics, catechism,
church, churchgoing, communion, conformity, connection, credenda,
credo, creed, crisis theology, cult, cultism, denomination,
devotedness, devotion, devoutness, dialogical theology, divinity,
doctrinal statement, doctrinalism, doctrine, doctrinism, dogma,
dogmatics, dutifulness, eschatology, existential theology, faith,
faithfulness, formulated belief, gospel, hagiography, hagiology,
hierology, ideology, ism, logos Christology, logos theology,
love of God, natural theology, neoorthodox theology, neoorthodoxy,
observance, patristic theology, persuasion,
phenomenological theology, physicotheology, pietism, piety,
piousness, political faith, political philosophy, rationalism,
religionism, religiousness, reverence, scholastic theology, school,
sect, secularism, soteriology, system of belief, systematics,
theism, theology, veneration, world view, worship,

RELIGION. Real piety in practice, consisting in the performance of all known
duties to God and our fellow men.
2. There are many actions which cannot be regulated by human laws, and
many duties are imposed by religion calculated to promote the happiness of
society. Besides, there is an infinite number of actions, which though
punishable by society, may be concealed from men, and which the magistrate
cannot punish. In these cases men are restrained by the knowledge that
nothing can be hidden from the eyes of a sovereign intelligent Being; that
the soul never dies, that there is a state of future rewards and
punishments; in fact that the most secret crimes will be punished. True
religion then offers succors to the feeble, consolations to the unfortunate,
and fills the wicked with dread.
3. What Montesquieu says of a prince, applies equally to an individual.
"A prince," says he, "who loves religion, is a lion, which yields to the
hand that caresses him, or to the voice which renders him tame. He who fears
religion and bates it, is like a wild beast, which gnaws, the chain which
restrains it from falling on those within its reach. He who has no religion
is like a terrible animal which feels no liberty except when it devours its
victims or tears them in pieces." Esp. des, Lois, liv. 24, c. 1.
4. But religion can be useful to man only when it is pure. The
constitution of the United States has, therefore, wisely provided that it
should never be united with the state. Art. 6, 3. Vide Christianity;
Religious test; Theocracy.

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English Dictionary  2005-2009

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