What means “religion”?

What do we mean when we say “religion”? Wikipedia doesn’t only have an article about Religion, it has a separate article entitled Definition of religion. Just to mention that the topic is complex.

But let’s keep it simple. Here are some definitions that work for me.


A collection of teachings expressing a comprehensive world view specified by a Holy Scripture.

A social-cultural system of designated behaviours and practices, morals, world views, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. –Wikipedia


A set of traditions, conventions and habits shared by a group of humans. Any given culture implies and cultivates a given set of values and convictions.

A set of ideals that makes a group of humans cooperate efficiently by creating “artificial instincts”, which accustome individuals “to think in certain ways, to behave in accordance with certain standards, to want certain things, and to observe certain rules”. –Yumal Harari, Sapiens, p.163 (adapted)

world view

The way an individual or group thinks about and interprets the world around them. –Open Education Sociology Dictionary

The fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the whole of the individual’s or society’s knowledge and point of view. –Wikipedia

A comprehensive conception or apprehension of the world especially from a specific standpoint. Called also weltanschauung. –Merriam-Webster

Holy Scripture

A document that is used by a religion as the base for their teachings.

Buddhism is a religion because it is a comprehensive world view and has holy scriptures.

Capitalism is a comprehensive world view, but has no holy scripture.

Football is a culture, but not a religion because it does not embrace all aspects of life and has no Holy Scripture.