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organized religion

n. A religion in which rules exist to govern the means by which adherents participate in the religion.

Organized religion

Organized religion (or organised religion—see spelling differences), also known as institutional religion, is religion as a social institution, in which belief systems and rituals are systematically arranged and formally established. Organized religion is typically characterized by an official doctrine (or dogma), a hierarchical or bureaucratic leadership structure, and a codification of rules and practices.

The term organized religion is frequently used in the mass media to refer to the world's largest religious groups, especially those known by name internationally, and it also refers to organizations with which one can legally or officially affiliate oneself or not.

Organized religion is distinguished from the broader idea of religion especially in anthropology, sociology, and philosophy. American philosopher William James describes that

Religion... shall mean for us the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude... in relation to whatever they may consider the divine. Since the relation may be either moral, physical, or ritual, it is evident that out of religion in the sense in which we take it, theologies, philosophies, and ecclesiastical organizations may secondarily grow.

James further comments that the essential elements of "institutional religion" are " worship and sacrifice, procedures for working on the dispositions of the deity [i.e.] theology, and ceremony and ecclesiastical organization."

Organized religion seems to have gained prevalence since the Neolithic era with the rise of wide-scale civilization and agriculture. Organized religions may include a state's official religion, for example reified by a state church; however, most political states have any number of organized religions practiced within their jurisdiction. Due to their structured, standardized, and so easily proliferated form, organized religions comprise many of the world's major religious groups. The Abrahamic religions are all largely considered organized (including Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Bahá'í Faith), as well as some schools of thought within Indian religions (for example, some schools of Hinduism and Buddhism). Religions that are not considered organized, or only loosely so, include many indigenous and folk religions, such as traditional African religions, Native American religions, and prehistoric religions, as well as personal religions including some strands of Hinduism.

Usage examples of "organized religion".

A still further evidence of the civilization of this ancient race is found in the fact that, before the dispersion from their original home, the Aryans had reached such a degree of development that they possessed a regularly organized religion: they worshipped God, they believed in an evil spirit, they believed in a heaven for the just.

Where physical affection is encouraged, theft, organized religion and invidious displays of wealth are inconspicuous.

Miss Dalgliesh wants one very small cut, about organized religion.

It is a characteristic of all organized religion, not of a particular sect.

Most of them, these days, are agnostics or atheists and won't support any organized religion.

I'm grateful that I learned from them that organized religion is anti-Christian and that racial prejudices are stupid and cruel.

According to these radical philosophers with far too much free time on their hands, organized religion was a Bad Thing.

Since organized religion is politically powerful, it usually takes the side of repression.