Definition of religion noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//rɪˈlɪdʒən//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈlɪdʒən//
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  1. 1  [uncountable] the belief in the existence of a god or gods, and the activities that are connected with the worship of them, or in the teachings of a spiritual leader Is there always a conflict between science and religion?
  2. 2  [countable] one of the systems of faith that are based on the belief in the existence of a particular god or gods, or in the teachings of a spiritual leader the Jewish religion Christianity, Islam and other world religions The law states that everyone has the right to practise their own religion. CollocationsReligionBeing religious believe in God/​Christ/​Allah/​free will/​predestination/​heaven and hell/​an afterlife/​reincarnation be/​become a believer/​an atheist/​an agnostic/​a Christian/​Muslim/​Hindu/​Buddhist, etc. convert to/​practise/ (especially US English) practice a religion/​Buddhism/​Catholicism/​Christianity/​Islam/​Judaism, etc. go to church/(North American English) temple (= the synagogue) go to the local church/​mosque/​synagogue/​gurdwara belong to a church/​a religious community join/​enter the church/​a convent/​a monastery/​a religious sect/​the clergy/​the priesthood praise/​worship/​obey/​serve/​glorify GodCelebrations and ritual attend/​hold/​conduct/​lead a service perform a ceremony/​a rite/​a ritual/​a baptism/​the Hajj/​a mitzvah carry out/​perform a sacred/​burial/​funeral/​fertility/​purification rite go on/​make a pilgrimage celebrate Christmas/​Easter/​Eid/​Ramadan/​Hanukkah/​Passover/​Diwali observe/​break the Sabbath/​a fast/​Ramadan deliver/​preach/​hear a sermon lead/​address the congregation say/​recite a prayer/​blessingReligious texts and ideas preach/​proclaim/​spread the word of God/​the Gospel/​the message of Islam study/​follow the dharma/​the teachings of Buddha read/​study/​understand/​interpret scripture/​the Bible/​the Koran/​the gospel/​the Torah be based on/​derive from divine revelation commit/​consider something heresy/​sacrilegeReligious belief and experience seek/​find/​gain enlightenment/​wisdom strengthen/​lose your faith keep/​practise/​practice/​abandon the faith save/​purify/​lose your soul obey/​follow/​keep/​break/​violate a commandment/​Islamic law/​Jewish law be/​accept/​do God’s will receive/​experience divine grace achieve/​attain enlightenment/​salvation/​nirvana undergo a conversion/​rebirth/​reincarnation hear/​answer a prayer commit/​confess/​forgive a sin do/​perform penance
  3. 3[singular] a particular interest or influence that is very important in your life For him, football is an absolute religion.
  4. Word OriginMiddle English (originally in the sense ‘life under monastic vows’): from Old French, or from Latin religio(n-) ‘obligation, bond, reverence’, perhaps based on Latin religare ‘to bind’. Culturereligion in the USThe largest Christian church in the US is the Roman Catholic church, followed by the Southern Baptist Convention. There are many different Christian churches in the US and the majority of religious Americans are Protestant Christians. 76% of Americans describe themselves as Christian. 15% say that they have no religion. Although there is no established (= official) religion in the US, religion plays an important part in public life and churches are centres of social events and business activities as well as places of worship. The Pledge of Allegiance includes the phrase ‘one nation under God’ and the official US motto is ‘In God We Trust’. Since the 1960s some Americans have tried to stop government support of religion. The Establishment Clause in the Constitution forbids the establishment of a state religion. In 1963 the Supreme Court decided it was ‘unconstitutional’ for students to pray or read the Bible in class but many schools ignore this ruling. What is taught about evolution in schools is a subject of much legal debate with some religious people objecting to the teaching of evolution as scientific fact and other Americans arguing that creationism (= the belief that the universe was made by God exactly as described in the Bible) is religion and should not be taught in schools .The largest Protestant group in the US are the Baptists. Other groups include Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians and Episcopalians, who are part of the Anglican communion. The Pentecostal Church is a charismatic church, where emotions are freely expressed and spiritual healing is practised. Other Christian religious groups include the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Christian Scientists, the Mormons and the Seventh-Day Adventists. There are groups who have a special way of life apart from the modern world such as the Shakers, the Amish, the Mennonites and the Hutterites. There are many evangelical churches in the US and evangelists and televangelists include Billy Graham, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.Judaism is the second largest religious group in the US. Most American Jews are from families which came to the US from Central and Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. Other large religious groups in the US include Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. Culturereligion in BritainIn the Census of 2001, British people were asked for the first time to answer a question about their religion, although they were not forced to answer the question. This question was repeated in the Census of 2011. Then 75% replied that they had a religion (2001: 85%) and 59% of them said that they were Christian (2001: 71%). 4.8% said they were Muslim (2001:3%). Other religions, including Hindus, Sikhs, Jews and Buddhists made up a further 4% together. 7.2% of people did not answer the question. Although the majority of the population describe themselves as Christian, only a very small proportion go to church regularly. British people rarely discuss religion and feel that a person's religious beliefs are a private matter.The established (= official) church in England is the Church of England. Members of the Church describe themselves informally as ‘C of E’. In Scotland the official church is the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, known by Scots as ‘the Kirk’. There is no established church in Wales and Northern Ireland. In Wales the Anglican Church is known as the Church in Wales. The Church is involved in political life as archbishopsand some bishops are members of the House of Lords and are chosen by the Queen or King following the advice of the Prime Minister. The monarch must be a member of the Church of England and is its official head. Christian religious education is provided in state schools but children do not have to take part. About 10% of the population are Roman Catholic and there are also Catholic schools.Protestant groups other than the Church of England are called Free or Nonconformist Churches. The Free Churches include the United Reformed Church, the Baptist church and the Methodist church. Nonconformist churches are also sometimes called chapels.Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus in Britain are mainly from families who came to Britain after World War II from India and Pakistan, although there has been a Muslim community in Britain since the 16th century. The history of Jews in Britain goes back to Roman times but many Jews in Britain today are from families who came to Britain as refugees from other countries in Europe at various times in the 19th and 20th centuries. Synagogues, mosques, Hindu temples and gurdwaras (= Sikh places of worship) are found in cities and many towns. The first British mosque was established in Cardiff in 1860 and the first gurdwara in London in 1911. The Hindu temple at Neasden in London is the largest in Europe. The Chief Rabbi is the main representative of British Jews and there are many religious organizations that represent particular religious groups. The Muslim Council of Britain and the Hindu Forum are among the largest of these.Extra examples Almost all religions offer the idea of sacred space. As a result of her brother’s death, Maria found religion. Darwinism contradicted orthodox religion. Do you still practise your religion? Eastern religions such as Shintoism Football has become an alternative religion for many people. He believes that all religions originated from a single source. He founded a new religion. He reportedly embraced religion and became a vegetarian. I believe in God, but I don’t belong to any organized religion. I believe we should respect all religions of the world equally. I don’t think the government should try to impose religion on our society. In their religion, mountains are sacred. Islam is one of the great world religions. She believed that her religion needed to be defended by philosophy and logic. She has no religion. The law prohibits the government form endorsing a particular religion. The majority of children adopt the religion of their parents. The teachers started preaching the Christian religion to us at every opportunity. These faiths draw on the traditional religions of indigenous peoples. These people are predominantly Russian Orthodox by religion. They never discussed religion or politics. This popular religion is a blend of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism with spirit beliefs. We’re waiting for the company to get religion on recycling. a religion based on reasonIdioms (informal, disapproving) to suddenly start believing in a religion
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: religion