I'm taking a very thought provoking World Religions course this semester and I'm thrilled to be able to expand my knowledge of religions. Religion has always been something that intrigued me. I've always wanted to know why people follow the religion they do and why people are so drawn to religion in the first place.
Our first class session was a brief overview of "What is religion?". In the text we are using for the course, The World's Religions: Worldviews and Contemporary Issues by William Young (My professor!) religion is defined as " human transformation in response to perceived ultimacy". Basically, every person has ultimacy or their idea of the highest goal or achievement (what gives life meaning for YOU) and the transformation that takes place in your life in an attempt to reach that goal or achievement is, by definition, a religion.
There are many different types of religion. The two main types are Spiritual and Secular. Secular religions' ultlimacy is usually material, while a spiritual religion's ultimacy is not reachable on this earth (Heaven is one example). These two categories then break down into other stems based on the number or type of "god" or "gods" your religion believes in (monotheism, henotheism, atheism, etc).
Our second class was spent discussing Presleyism. Presleyism is very controversial and by many people it is not even noted as a religion.. but it is, by definitiion, a religion. There are many accounts of transformation that have occured among Elvis Presley's adoring followers and worshippers. There's even The First Preseyterian Church in Australia, Pennsylvania, and in other countries around the world.
I know many Christians here at CafeMom will be appaled by the idea that Elvis is considered parallel to Jesus Christ, but the point of this discussion in my class was to broaden our view of religions. Almost ANYTHING can be considered religious. It would be extremely difficult for anyone to be "non-religious" at all times. Now, I'm not telling you to go out and join the Presleyterians and I can assure you that you will not find me at any of their sermons. LOL. :P
For more information about Presleyterians, or the church, visit these links: