According to the American Psychological Association, yes. They define religion as “any set of beliefs…the religious life is a dynamic and living community that involves belief, worship, life of the religious community, experience or experience with a set of deities, or is related to these things.”
For people who believe in religion, the “set” part suggests the religious community or the beliefs of another. For people whose beliefs they do not believe, it implies the beliefs they do not have. If I am wearing a necklace, and you are seeing me wearing a necklace, but you suspect they might not be in agreement about whether a necklace is appropriate for both of us, I may be a religious person even if I say I am not. It’s a fair question, really.
Does the American Psychological Association make a difference?
It certainly does. The American Psychological Association has published a large body of research into the differences between the kinds of “religiousness” people possess and those who don’t.
If I am a devout Christian with one or more of these beliefs, does this make me a religious person? It sure seems in many ways like a simple yes, and in some ways is quite the opposite. For one, there was a study by the University of Texas that found people with a high and low belief in God experienced significantly different feelings related to religion than those without a high and low level of belief (the lowest group reported high levels of religiousness). Similarly, researchers found that people with high and low levels of “belief” in religion were more likely to feel strongly about certain issues (that being, whether or not to accept abortion) than people with high and low levels of those same issues. These studies indicate that those with low levels of belief in God and higher levels of belief in God experience different feelings related to religion than those who have high and low levels of “belief.”
The bottom line is, for every person who says “No,” there are several who say “Yes.” The results are not in doubt. There are many people, both young and old, who say they have a religious attachment. In fact, there is not a single survey that does not indicate that a significant percentage of American adults say they have a religious attachment. And there are many churches and religious communities that have seen a growth in membership because of the increasing acceptance of these two different types of attachments.
Is this true?
It depends. Does Christianity, for example, have a unique set
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