Religion, like a few other terms (love,tribe,ethnicity,intelligence....and oh....pagan)
have no good defenition that everybody agrees on.
When western culture encounters a new culture they divide up what they see
as "religion, magic,witchdoctor, Gods,spirits" despite the fact that what they see
has developed within a culture other than their own.
Everything has meanings to that culture that they dont necessarily comprehend.
Catholic Priests claim to transform wine into blood but would never agree to having it called magic,
alchemy or anything similar.
If a wiccan or ju ju man sticks a needle in a doll in order to heal who it represents,
it is called magic, why not prayer?
Is Voudoun religion or magic. Many would say (and thats the easiest to a westerner)
religion that incorporates magic.
The truth is that it is neither since both "magic" and "religion" are words used by another culture
Than the one meeting in the Hounfour. Voudoun is Voudoun.
"Prayer", yet another word without defenition.
By the most narrow enterpretations, only Protestants and a few others really pray.
By a lighter one, lithanies, sacrifices, meditations and chantings could be counted as versions of prayer.
Take it one step further, and watching the sun rise with awe would be prayer
(perhaps the most original one).
And what is the point with "prayer"? That too would differ.
"Forn Sed" one of many names for a nameless custom, the indiginous religion of Scandinavia.
Religion in my (as in many others ) case has nothing to do with "faith",
is totally ingrained with culture as such and the actions we take.
It is not seen a a separate "thing", and neither are the Gods we worship.
Behaving the right way and doing my job is just as much part of the cult as sacrifices and mythology.
Acts, not belief.
When i raise the cup saying "Til ars ok frithar" (roughly "To a good year and peace)
in the presence of the mights i do so as an act of kinship.
"Frith", in modern Swedish transformed into two words, "Fred" and "Frid"
(peace as in "not war" and peace as in "calm,balance, peace of mind)
once incorporated both meanings and more.
In a sense "frith" could be seen as harmony with an extention.
Somebody started this place. It is his, so i must behave with a certain amount of respect towards him
as his guest or i will breake the "frith" (create turmoil, unbalance, conflict).
Since the Gods and the Ancestors are counted as my kin (and even more so by drinking together),
thus part of my "tribe" or society if you will, i will have to keep "frith" with existance as a whole.
A bit like the Roman "Pax Deorum" i guess.
Now.....exactly how the hell do you break that, to me simple, concept down to Christendom?
A person who predominatly eats porridge would call Sushi "a Japanese form of porridge"
God, peace,ale, society, tribe....it all means something else to them (not "worse", just "else").