Etymologically, the term ‘religion’ stems from the concept of ‘a binding’ to the things we hold dear. Prior to the period historians refer to as ‘The Enlightenment,’ the intellectual disciplines were, in certain parts of the world, largely undifferentiated as the institutional church required strict adherence to its doctrines.
As The Enlightenment progressed, and a greater humanity began to experience academic freedom, the way we think about things began to take form within three primary categories. The intellectual disciplines thus became trifurcated. We eventually realized that science is to facts what philosophy is to meanings and what religion is to values. For many, religion has evolved into complex systems of belief or non-belief.
Within the domain of values questions eventually arise concerning the existence of a Deity or personal God. A religion of final value asks ‘Is there a God and, if so, what is my relationship with this God?’ An atheist is likely to answer ‘No and none’ whereas a person whose faith is based upon personal experience would probably answer ‘Yes and the most intimate possible.’
Each of the world religions listed in the Words Aloft collection are included because they each advance at least one edifying value proposition that has helped us to define the Golden Rule as we endeavor to move our world towards an era of light and life.