What is a religion?

There was a time when all a person needed to start a religion was an entirely new set of ideas or values, and occasionally, a great tolerance for being set on fire. This brought many new ideologies and genocides.

Nowadays, not a whole lot has changed except that the application has a lot fewer killings and a lot more to do with money. The government may or may not also get involved.

To officially become a religion by U.S. standards, a religion must only be recognized by the office of census, then they can start applying for tax deductions. Most mainstream religions, such as Christianity, are tax exempt and can build their religious monuments and places of worship on tax free land.

The truth is, all religions start off as cults, a cult being not necessarily a collection of blind worshippers, but a group of any like minded individuals devoted spiritually to a figurehead person, object or its/their teachings. Most of the time, cults die out or at least come very close, such as those of Greek or Viking origin. Those were then labeled as mythology, even if some people do still follow them. Some cults are created out of comedy or protest purposes, and are therefore usually only in rare cases recognized by the government.

Most religions don’t differ very much. Almost every religion has some variation of the same teachings such as not hurting each other, or that their particular religion is the right one, or that harmony comes from within. The point is that religions come from far and wide and whether or not they’re good ideas, they stick around for pretty much as long as people can appreciate their teachings.