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The derivation of the word "religion" has been a matter of dispute from ancient times. Cicero, in his "De natura deorum", II, xxviii, derives religion from relegere (to treat carefully): "Those who carefully took in hand all things pertaining to the gods were called religiosi , from relegere ." Max Muller favoured this view.

But as religion is an elementary notion long antedating the time of complicated ritual presupposed in this explanation, we must seek elsewhere for its etymology.

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He employs the latter meaning in his treatise "On the True Religion", where he says: "Religion binds us [ religat ] to the one Almighty God ." St. The correct one seems to be that offered by Lactantius.

Religion in its simplest form implies the notion of being bound to God ; the same notion is uppermost in the word religion in its most specific sense, as applied to the life of poverty, chastity, and obedience to which individuals voluntarily bind themselves by vows more or less solemn.

Hence those who are thus bound are known as religious.

Religion, broadly speaking, means the voluntary subjection of oneself to God.

It exists in its highest perfection in heaven, where the angels and saints love, praise, and adore God, and live in absolute conformity to His holy will.

It does not exist at all in hell, where the subordination of rational creatures to their Creator is one not of free will, but of physical necessity.On earth it is practically coextensive with the human race, though, where it has not been elevated to the supernatural plane through Divine revelation, it labours under serious defects.It is with religion as affecting the life of man on earth that this article deals.The analysis of the idea of religion shows that it is very complex, and rests on several fundamental conceptions.It implies first of all the recognition of a Divine personality in and behind the forces of nature, the Lord and Ruler of the world, God.In the highest religions, this supernatural Being is conceived as a spirit, one and indivisible, everywhere present in nature, but distinct from it.

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