Dimensions of Religion



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Dimensions of Religion

There are many ways to analyse Religion. One way is to break it down into dimensions and identify the core parts of each dimension. This is particularly useful when comparing religions.
Below are nine dimensions of religion. With them is a brief explanation of what they are plus examples of these dimensions from the Catholic Christian Church.


  1. Sacred Texts - The holy books of the religion. Note that some traditional religions had no sacred texts because they were an oral tradition. However their carvings and other works of art could be regarded as their form of “sacred texts”

  1. Sacred Beliefs – The holy beliefs of a religious group

  • That Jesus is truly the Son of God

  • Heaven and Hell

  • Being created in God’s Image

  1. Sacred Symbols – The symbols held holy by a religion

  1. Sacred Rituals – The religious Ceremonies

  • Baptism

  • Eucharist

  • Marriage

  • Liturgy…

  1. Sacred Ethics – (Moral Laws) – The moral laws of a religion

  • Ten Commandments

  • Modern ethics

  • Bio-ethics

  1. Religious Social Structure – The social organisation of the religion
  • Headed by the Pope, with Cardinals, Bishops, Priests and Religious and the Laity


  1. Religious Experience – The personal experience of the believer

  1. Sacred Stories – The religious stories which explain meaning for a religion

  • The Story of Creation

  • Noah’s Arc

  • Parables

  • Not Jesus though… that’s fact not a story!

  1. Religious History – The history of this religion over the ages

  • Jewish Origins

  • Roman influence in Church’s Infancy

  • Middle Ages

  • Reformation and Counter-Reformation

  • Second Vatican Council

Dimensions of Religion
There are many ways to analyse Religion. One way is to break it down into dimensions and identify the core parts of each dimension. This is particularly useful when comparing religions.
Below are nine dimensions of religion. With them is a brief explanation of what they are plus examples of these dimensions from the Catholic Christian Church.


  1. Sacred Texts - The holy books of the religion. Note that some traditional religions had no sacred texts because they were an oral tradition. However their carvings and other works of art could be regarded as their form of “sacred texts”

  • The Bible

  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church
  1. Sacred Beliefs – The holy beliefs of a religious group


  • That Jesus is truly the Son of God

  • Heaven and Hell

  • Being created in God’s Image

  1. Sacred Symbols – The symbols held holy by a religion

  • The Cross

  • The Alpha and Omega

  • A Fish

  1. Sacred Rituals – The religious Ceremonies

  • Baptism

  • Eucharist

  • Marriage

  • Liturgy…

  1. Sacred Ethics – (Moral Laws) – The moral laws of a religion

  • Ten Commandments

  • Modern ethics

  • Bio-ethics

  1. Religious Social Structure – The social organisation of the religion

  • Headed by the Pope, with Cardinals, Bishops, Priests and Religious and the Laity

  1. Religious Experience – The personal experience of the believer

  • Personal Revelation

  • Mystical Experience

  • Pilgrimage Experiences (e.g. to Lourdes)

  1. Sacred Stories – The religious stories which explain meaning for a religion

  • The Story of Creation

  • Noah’s Arc

  • Parables

  • Not Jesus though… that’s fact not a story!

  1. Religious History – The history of this religion over the ages

  • Jewish Origins

  • Roman influence in Church’s Infancy

  • Middle Ages

  • Reformation and Counter-Reformation

  • Second Vatican Council

Ben Gorman – April 2006






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