Under the assumption that everyone believes in God and an afterlife, religion is a question of which god one follows.
I like to think of religion in anthropological terms, as a part of cultures that stretches back to prehistory, that affects the way a culture sees things like birth and death. In western culture, especially since the various Protestant movements of the 16th and 17th centuries, Christianity has developed a wide range of options, and not participating is an option where it once was not. When Jews were rearranged after WWII and New York City and Israel filled up with people from different traditions and beliefs, there came to be more pick-and-choose among Jews, too, with more Reform congregations, and options for secular Jews to take up traditional practices that had been lost in their own families.
In the 1960's, Hinduism was all the rage for a while, and Buddhism became one of the menu items when people chose their own religions. Many American Buddhist leaders were born Jewish.
The news is filled these days (2008 as I'm writing) with details of differences between Islamic sects.
We're way past the point of simple answers about religion.
How can unschoolers deal with strongly held religious beliefs? How can unschoolers help children learn about others' beliefs?
Kathryn Baptista, an unschooling mom, gave a sermon at her church called The Lighting of a Fire: Lifelong Learning as a Spiritual Practice, and you can click there for her notes.
"Holly and the Bible" (published a few places, once as "A Fascination with Religion") is about Holly Dodd's lifelong interest in religion.
emiLy, mom to Delia (5) & Henry (1.5) wrote:
Last night, we were playing Guitar Hero II for Wii and there are a bunch of short intro movies at the very beginning before the game even starts. I always skip past them, but my daughter likes watching them. There's one of a guy on top of a bunch of rubble and a giant mountain rocking out on a guitar and she said "That's God" My husband and I were so stunned I think we just looked at each other and said "uuh" or something like that. And she said again "Yeah, that's God!" I love it - can't wait to see culture 40 years from now. :) No more Virgin Marys on the side of buildings or on sandwiches - He is showing himself in video games!
In a discussion in which a very religious mom wrote that she would someday help her daughter navigate her beliefs, I wrote
What she believes won't be something that needs to be navigated. It will evolve as people answer her questions, and she sees and thinks and asks more questions.and someone sent this note:
Sandra, if you have a religion or beliefs page, I think this is very worthy of being added. I can think of multiple folks I'd like to forward it to!and that is why this page was added. I'm sure there will be more to add as the months and years pass.