“Religiosity” is not “Religion”
Today, we live in a time where violence around the world, particularly in the Middle East, is portrayed as being a "religion". Indeed, that part of the world is the cradle of the sister monotheistic Abrahamic religions —including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Many people say, this or that "religion" is the root cause of all such violence. To those people, in this short article, I argue that there needs to be a distinction between "religion" and "religiosity". The former has to do with the "transcendent" nature of any religion and the latter is about the human perception of that nature (i.e., "immanence"). Those are also known as the "Realm of Divinity" and the "Realm of Humans", respectively. Transcendence “refers to the aspect of God's nature and power which is wholly independent of the material universe, beyond all physical laws”. Immanence is “the manifestation of God's presence in the physical world which is accessible to creatures in various ways”.
Subsequently, while a human being may claim to be a follower of a particular religion, this claim is, indeed, nothing but a reflection of one's "own image" of that religion. In other words, "religiosity" is an "image" reflected by the mirror of the human being. On the one hand, the more "polished" that mirror is, the more likely that "religiosity" will be representative of the core values of the "religion". On the other hand, the more "unpolished" that mirror is, the more likely "religiosity" will be representative of that person's own worldview, and not necessarily that of the "religion" per se.
From this perspective, any belief system (i.e., not necessarily a formal religion) adopted by a human being can be viewed as "religiosity". Hence, there is no single living human being without having own "religiosity". ISIS members (and their supporters) share a common "religiosity"! Crusaders (and their supporters) once shared a common "religiosity"! Those who preach hatred, intolerance and bigotry (and their supporters) share a common “religiosity”! Those who believe that "ends justify means" share a common "religiosity"! Those who replace God (i.e., peace, justice, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, love, etc.) with their own god (e.g., lust for power and greed) share a common "religiosity"! And so on!
The following quotes represent the worldview for one school of “religiosity” in Islam. This worldview is shared with similar schools of “religiosity” from all the world "religions".
"O Marvel! a garden amidst the flames. My heart has become capable of every form: it is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks, and a temple for idols and the pilgrim's Kaaba, and the tables of the Torah and the book of the Quran. I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love's camels take, that is my religion and my faith."
Muhammed Ibn 'Ali Ibn 'Arabi (1165—1240) ,Source: 'Tarjuman al-Ashwaq', Theosophical Publishing House, 1911. Poem XI.
"Those who adore God in the sun behold the sun, and those who adore Him in living things see a -living thing, and those who adore Him in lifeless things see a lifeless thing, and those who adore Him as a Being unique and unparalleled see that which has no like. Do not attach yourself to a particular creed exclusively so that you disbelieve in all the rest; otherwise you will lose much good; nay, you will fail to recognize the real truth of the matter. God, the omnipresent and omnipotent, is not limited by any one creed. Wheresoever you turn, there is the face of Allah."
Muhammed Ibn 'Ali Ibn 'Arabi (1165—1240) ,Source : 'Essential Sufism', by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.229
The question is: what is your “religiosity”?