Religion is not really a noun; it's an adjective. It describes a noun. In other words, it's about personality because that's what adjectives are. It's not about Jesus, or Ganesha (The 10-armed Elephant guy), it's about worshiping those guys. When you do something religiously you do it with discipline. You do it everyday, every week, every month, every year. That's how important it is to you.
I'll make it really simple. It's about passion, and the cosmos and aethereal entities happen to be widley held passions so that is why those things are associated with religion and not pancakes, football, or Super Mario. Those things are too specific and don't reside within the imagination of the masses even though they may be just as, or more, important to some people. But the mystery of the cosmos and life does reach everyone's imagination.
Cutting to the chase, here's the article that made want to post about all this. It shows the conceptual similarities between sports and religion without using science, and then talks about identifying the actual psychological connections between the two (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/200911/is-sport-religion). Here are some useful chunks:
Consider the vocabulary associated with both: faith, devotion, worship, ritual, dedication, sacrifice, commitment, spirit, prayer, suffering, festival, and celebration...prior to mass communications, religious ceremonies were a source of entertainment for ordinary people who rarely attended a theater or traveled to a sporting event....Sports stadia and arenas resemble “cathedrals where followers gather to worship their heroes and pray for their successes…fans are highly committed...in a way that gives focus and meaning to their daily lives. In addition, sports spectatorship is a transformative experience through which fans escape their humdrum lives, just as religious experiences help the faithful to transcend their everyday existence…Face painting, hair tinting, and distinctive costumes are thought to satisfy specific religious goals including identification with the team, escape from everyday limitations and disappointments, and establishing a community of fans.
Again, simple stuff, right? Aren't we just describing what it means to be passionate about something? Furthermore, the words "passion" and "love" are interchangeable. We can all relate to the kind of love for something or someone that creates a religious/spiritual attitude within us. One that may even drive us towards irrationality or blindness.
I'm posting this in the gaming discussion section because I think sports and video games are interchangeable, and we can all relate to the die-hardness of video games especially with the cult-like series like Smash (Melee forsure), Halo, Call of Duty, WoW, etc. These are all franchises where the love/passion for them has driven us towards irrational religious behavior that seems so odd to outsiders like we are wasting our time staring at some Holy "imaginary" screen.
So, does this "gaming" perspective give you a more empathetic view of religion? Does it accurately apply to videogames? I'm honestly more interested in everyone else's opinions and seeing where the discussion will go, but if you want a more singular/deeper take on it I tried to go much further here (my own blog, don't click if you don't want to).
Deconstruction of Play