religion versus christianity


Religion has been part of humanity and it has also played a role of uniting many societies. It has also evolved to the level where individuals, societies as well as nations use it to differentiate themselves from others. According to Atran & Norenzayan (Cited by Shhariff & Norenzayan 2011:85) “the belief in supernatural agents has been a powerful force found throughout all cultures and across all of recorded human history.” As a result throughout history humans pour resources into elaborate religious buildings and rituals, with no obvious boost to survival and reproduction (Sciencemag, 2009:784).

Nevertheless, there are individuals or groups that detested religion and everything it stands such as Philosopher Karl Max,Nietzsche. This individual saw religion as something that does not exist or as a man made system so to control them. For instance, Carl Max views it as a system that the poor uses to comfort themselves. Similar to any issues in the world religion is shapes by economic changes and demands.

This may as the result of seeing his father moving from Jews religion to Christianity in order to keep his job as a lawyer (Latief, 2011:259).

Religion can be defined as “Religion is the set of beliefs, feelings, dogmas and practices that define the relations between human being and sacred or divinity” Anon (2018:1). Religion can be traced back traced to the ancient Near East or Western Asia and classified in three basic categories: polytheistic, pantheistic and monotheistic, in the 18th century. However, religious studies cannot agree on a common definition of its subject matter.

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As it a broad research field.

Traditionally it is understood that Christianity is a religion, as they believe that all religions worship the same God (Adamson, 2019). And it has been like that for centuries. However the difference is the approach. Therefore in this essay I will be reviewing religion and Christianity, its similarities and differences. I will be going through the religious aspects of Christianity and its non-religious aspects. And draw a conclusion based on the findings whether Christianity is a religion or not.


Religious beliefs are universal across cultures and time, and understanding the geneses and progression of religion is a question that has attracted noteworthy attention and question Pyysiaine & Haauser (2009:1). According to Zwemer (1945:13) the homo sapiens of the technologist, in any circumstance, appears on the scene already possessed of religious instinct and exercising religious rites. In addition, Penalver (1997:791) claims that “religion is a commonly used and widely understood term in our everyday language, not some obscure term of art in need of technical definition.”

Nath (2015:83) state that there are different theories when and how did religion come about? It is therefore clear that researcher cannot point as to when and where did religion begin, but its impact on humanity is very clear. It is said by Dunbar (Cited by Palermo 2015) that religious conviction may have sprung up from this need to keep everybody on the same page. However, Richardson (2014:1) states that “religion was not named until there appeared a number of traditions overlapping in the same empires.”

According to AAR (2019) Creed can be categorized into 3 systems: polytheistic, pantheistic and monotheistic. Monotheism and polytheism are not older than 17th century CE and have diverse rulings Assmanm (2004:17).The polytheism meaning a belief in many gods, it is believed to have started in Huiduism around 2500 BC. According to Anon (2018) the polytheistic gods customarily take human features and are famous by precise meanings. It can also be assumed that these gods can be the society’s heroes and heroines who lived before them and had remarkable impact in the lives of that society.

Though others belief in many gods, there are individuals who are doubtful about God but rather belief more in nature and the universe. This religion is referred to as Pantheism. According to Harrison (201) at the heart of pantheism is reverence of the universe as the ultimate focus of reverence, for the natural earth as sacred. Pantheists perceive the universe as God or rather all is God. “Pantheism has been frequently discussed in philosophical, scientific, and environmentalist circles rather than in established, mainstream religious traditions” (Anon 2019)

Unlike polytheistic and pantheistic monotheistic religions basics are built on believing in one God. According to Assmanm (2004:17) “monotheism asserts its identity by opposing itself to polytheism, whereas no polytheistic religion ever asserted itself in contradistinction to monotheism, for the simple reason that polytheism is always the older or “primary” and monotheism the newer or “secondary” type of religion.”

The word religion its self was derived from Latin root religare which means to bind fast (The people’s University 2006: 2). It is however now used to categorise peoples by their beliefs or their way of life based on the many definition given by scholars. Martineau (Cited by Harrison 2006:133) define religion as “the belief in an ever living God.” This definition rather fit groups that believe in an eternal God and exclude publics who worship seen and perishing idols. It is tricky to define religion in terms of belief that has a specific kind of object, like God, it means that certain credence systems which are normally regarded as religion, Theravada Buddhism for example would have to be classed as non-religious an entailment which strikes many as counter intuitive (Harrison 2006:135).

Tyler (Cited by Van Niekerk 2018:3) outlines religion as “belief in spiritual beings.” This definition also has some shortfalls, as it leaves other religious groups which belie spirituality let alone beings. Harrison (2006:1) argues that there are practical reasons for favouring the previously popular view that essentialist definitions of “religions” are inadequate, and that religions should be interpreted, instead, as possessing a number of “family resemblances”. Different religious groups have different practices and beliefs therefore, laying them in one definition has been impossible for most scholar. But they all must have one thing in common which remains the root of religion “Binding together”.

According to Durkeim (1986) “A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them.” Durkeim’s definition includes important aspects of religion such as faith, unity, sacred as well as community.

Advantages and disadvantages of religion

Religion is one important aspect of humanity that brings people together. It plays a huge role in the wellbeing of individuals as well as the society. According to Levy and Ranzin (2011:2) “religious beliefs and religious practice are clearly two important and possibly inseparable features of religious organizations and the link between them are yet to be fully understood.” Most of the religious organisation tends to be an escaping place for community member; they are mostly established with the aim of serving the community. “A core belief of each of the world’s religious traditions is that of concern for others less fortunate and the deliberate turning of attention away from ourselves and toward others who are in need” (Idler, 2008:3).

Religion organisations promotes good will within the community, it encourage its affiliates to be good to each other not only that also to those who do not belong to their organisations. Tejvan (2018) the religious ethics such as Golden rule do provide a basis for boosting better human conduct. This rules works because the followers believe that they are certain benefits attached to following the rules word to word. Religious establishments play a dynamic role in modelling beliefs; many put in time and hard work in endorsing certain kinds of messages while editing others (Levy & Razin, 2011:3). Religious organisations wear the culture of the place it’s established in order to make rules that relates to their ways of leaving and make it better.

Religious practices give hope to individuals as well as well as the community. Life can be very hard and sad at but it is through the encouragement and faith that religious people have in divinity that will help them to look forward to tomorrow. Barber (2012) states that it is called the security blanket concept where by supernatural belief systems provide peace of mind and help believers to cope with the more stressful events in their lives. Faith has been sources of encouragement and through it many avoided things such as depression, suicide and related diseases as it provides a sense of emotional security.

However, religion does not only have the positive side. As much as the word religion means to bind together, it also separates. As many religious groups fight as to which religious doctrines are correct and also fight over power to dominate the world. Today many nations do not see eye to eye because of religion. As far as religion is concerned it brings together only people believing in the same deities. Hungtington ( 1993: ) in the Clash of Civilisation argues that difference between the religious originations will only result in clashes as each wants to dominate. For instance, Hungtinton (Cited by Cline, 2019) “Muslims do not easily assimilate to host cultures when new rulers arrive, nor do non-Muslims easily assimilate to a culture under Islamic control”

Religion also uses pastors, priests and prophets to scare individual into compliance. Many people who are religious do not have the freedom to do things, because whatever move they make they are always conscious not to break the law or displease their gods or God. According to Anon (2018) “rules do not match with feelings.” Fornication for example. “Religion discourages free inquiry and restricts freedom of thought, by encouraging the idea that fundamental answers can only be found in a fixed and specific book or belief system” (Goodman, 2019).

Furthermore Tarico (2014) argues that religion promotes helplessness as most believers believe in gods or God who solves their problem. For example a religious person will not take medication for cancer, HIV & AIDS and many other diseases as their help will come from the supernatural. Religion practices are harmful to the society, it lead to a very slow human progress. According to Goodman (2019) religion excuses people from taking accountability, because they can say that Supernatural being told them to do it.

In addition to that believes that religion it is man made


Its origin and meaning

Religious aspect of Christianity

“Religion is a vague category with no clear boundaries or essence thus it is difficult to determine whether a particular belief or action is religious or not” Pyysiainen & Hauser (2015:2)

Non aspect of Christianity

2.2. Christianity today


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religion versus christianity
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