A new/old visitor to the Tentative Apologist, whatifitstrue, asks: “When does a belief system (including , perhaps atheism) become a religion…?”
So what is religion? Perhaps belief in God, an authoritative revealed text, and a set of sacred rituals?
In Bob’s garage is a cherry 70’ Chevelle 454. On the shelf beside the car is a well worn copy of the Haynes Repair Manual for the Chevelle, Malibu and El Camino: 1969 thru 1987. Every Sunday Bob rises early, goes to the garage, flips open the book on the hood, and continues his careful, loving restoration of the Chevelle.
At what point do we say Bob has religion?
Obviously it depends on how we define religion:
(1) Belief in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship
(2) A particular system of faith and worship
(3) One’s ultimate concern
Those who decry “religion” have it in their interests to answer in such a way that they don’t have it. So they might take a more restrictive definition like (1). Functionally however, I think that the broader definition of (3) may be more interesting, and also for some more threatening.
Here’s another interesting question: when do we believe in the divine?
That begs another question: what is “the divine”? Roy Clouser defines the divine minimally as: “Whatever is unconditionally, non-dependently real.” To put it another way, within a given view of the world wherever the explanation stops, that is functionally the divine for that worldview.
Christians believe in the divine because they believe that God is unconditionally, non-dependently real.
What about non-theists? Do they have a sense of the divine? Sure. For Democritus the divine was the atoms and the void. For Bertrand Russell it was the universe which is just there, period. (Pretty close to Democritus, really.)
As for Bob, his view of the divine appears to be the Chevy big block.
I guess some gods are better than others.