RELIGION: WHAT DOES IT MEAN AND WHY DO WE STUDY IT? What is Religion? Any person may sit down and write his or her own definition of religion. Although the definitions will vary from person to person they will all have one basic characteristic in common. Religion is defined based on a person’s deepest personal feelings, it is affected by the person’s culture, and according to the person’s highest values in life. For the purposes of our course, we can simplify this and say that religion is what gives life its meaning. Religion is a means to ULTIMATE TRANSFORMATION, which means fundamental change from being caught up in the troubles of daily life to living in such a way that one can cope at the deepest levels with life’s trials. What is Spirituality? There is a difference between spirituality and religion. A person can claim to have a well-developed spirituality while at the same time declaring no affiliation to any particular Religion. We may not realize it, but we all have a spirituality. Our spirituality shapes the way we view the world. Our life’s journey allows us to develop what is called an INTEGRATED SPIRITUALITY, which means, we think, believe and act in a consistent manner that promotes healthy values such as caring, compassion, and love for ourselves, others, our planet, and our God.
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