Religious Definition by Steve Bruce:
In his book “God is Dead: Secularization in the West”, 2002, Steve Bruce defines religion as “ beliefs, actions and institutions predicated on the existence of entities with power of agency (that is gods) or impersonal powers or processes possessed of moral purpose (the Hindu notion of Karma), which can set the conditions of, or intervene in human affairs”.
Comparison of the Definitions:
My definition starts with the element of sharing, whereas in the definition of Steve Bruce there is no element of sharing. From the perspective of individuality and extreme secularization the element of sharing in my definition is a weakness. It makes it necessary that religion is not individualistic, but a shared activity of a group. From my perspective I do not find this a weakness. Social living is an essential part of human existence. Social interaction and society developed from sharing of common factors that bound a group of humans together, which included religion. With time, in more advanced societies tolerance of members with belief in other religions became a norm and so no longer was it necessary that all members of a society or community shared the same religion. Still religion is shared and is not an individualistic belief and action, as even Steve Bruce makes institutions a necessary part of religion.
In my definition religion needs to answer the purpose of existence and having served this purpose to the satisfaction of the almighty, what happens after death.