I can’t stop emphasizing that “religion” is a contrived word and not a thing to be discovered. Thus, not surprisingly, people (scholars and lay folks alike) put forward all sorts of conflicting definitions for religion. Even Sabio Lantz offered a Syndrome Model in 1999. This is not to say such contrived words aren’t useful, but we need to recognize them for what they are.
The definition model I have illustrated above is Ninian Smart’s, a Scottish pioneer of secular religious studies who took his stab at defining “religion” and created this 6-dimensional definition where he describes 6 ingredients or flavors that comprise the mix of what we call religion.
A 3 Quark Daily article (where I am banned, if you’ll remember) used Smart’s model to test if Internet-Centrism is a religion or not. The conclusion of the article is not important to me. But instead, keeping in mind my previous “Religion as a Pejorative” post, we can see that the ways Internet-Centrism is likened to religion has negative connotations. “Religion” is used to point out the weak sides of “Internet Centrism”.
But heck, most groups of people would qualify as religious for having stories, community, rules, rituals and experiences between them — according to Strong’s definition. My definition, on the other hand contains a few more criteria to narrow the application of the word and thus to exclude the broader use of the word “religion”. Either way, it is fun to play with definitions, but remember, people are inventing them, not discovering them.