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Excellent BeautyThe Naturalness of Religion and the Unnaturalness of the World$
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Eric Dietrich

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231171021

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231171021.001.0001

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What Is a Religion?

What Is a Religion?

(p.9) Two What Is a Religion?
Excellent Beauty

Eric Dietrich

Columbia University Press

This chapter seeks to define the term “religion,” as well as the more general terms, “spiritual journey” and “spiritual traveler.” The latter two are rather are easier to define in this respect, as “spiritual traveler” can include all religious people as well as those who define their spiritual journey more idiosyncratically or esoterically. And a spiritual journey is any seeking after a mystical or transcendent understanding of life. “Religion” requires a more complex analysis, but all religions discussed in this book possess three properties: each is a social system of some sort; each endorses, and actually requires, something that is supernatural; and each has something to do with something holy or sacred.

Keywords:   religion, spiritual journey, spiritual traveler, social system, religious people

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