- a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
- a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
- the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
- the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
- the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
- something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.
- religions, Archaic. religious rites: painted priests performing religions deep into the night.
- Archaic. strict faithfulness; devotion: a religion to one’s vow.
- get religion, Informal.
- to acquire a deep conviction of the validity of religious beliefs and practices.
- to resolve to mend one’s errant ways: The company got religion and stopped making dangerous products.
- belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny
- any formal or institutionalized expression of such beliefthe Christian religion
- the attitude and feeling of one who believes in a transcendent controlling power or powers
- mainly RC Church the way of life determined by the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience entered upon by monks, friars, and nunsto enter religion
- something of overwhelming importance to a personfootball is his religion
- the practice of sacred ritual observances
- sacred rites and ceremonies
c.1200, “state of life bound by monastic vows,” also “conduct indicating a belief in a divine power,” from Anglo-French religiun (11c.), Old French religion “piety, devotion; religious community,” and directly from Latin religionem (nominative religio) “respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods; conscientiousness, sense of right, moral obligation; fear of the gods; divine service, religious observance; a religion, a faith, a mode of worship, cult; sanctity, holiness,” in Late Latin “monastic life” (5c.).
According to Cicero derived from relegere “go through again” (in reading or in thought), from re- “again” (see re-) + legere “read” (see lecture (n.)). However, popular etymology among the later ancients (Servius, Lactantius, Augustine) and the interpretation of many modern writers connects it with religare “to bind fast” (see rely), via notion of “place an obligation on,” or “bond between humans and gods.” In that case, the re- would be intensive. Another possible origin is religiens “careful,” opposite of negligens. In English, meaning “particular system of faith” is recorded from c.1300; sense of “recognition of and allegiance in manner of life (perceived as justly due) to a higher, unseen power or powers” is from 1530s.
To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. [Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, 1885]
see get religion.