The key difference between religion and theology is that religion is a specific system of belief and/or worship, often involving a code of ethics and philosophy whereas theology is the rational analysis of religious belief.
Religion is based on faith and beliefs, especially in the acceptance of superhuman powers in the form of God or Gods. Theology, on the other hand, is the study of religion. Religious facts and thoughts should have been established in the first place for the subject of theology to develop. Thus, it is possible to say that theology works on religion.
What is Religion?
The word religion is somewhat difficult to define. The Oxford dictionary defines it as “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods”. Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as “ the service and worship of God or the supernatural” or “commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance”. Although most definitions define religion as a belief and worship in god(s), it is also important to note that all religions don’t believe in god. Moreover, some religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam believe in only one God; thus, they are monotheistic religions. However, religions that belive in more than one god are called polytheistic religions; these include Hinduism, Confucianism, and Taoism.
Religion consists of several components such as morality, theology, ritual, and mythology. Furthermore, religion is also an established organization since all religions have a hierarchy of priests who act as the guardians of the religion. Another main feature of religion is that followers of one religion believe that particular religion to be true, i.e., they believe in all religious teachings, stories, practices, prayers, etc. However, followers another religion may see these beliefs and practices as a myth.
What is Theology?
Theology is the critical study of religion. The word theology comes from two Greek words, theos which is Greek for “God,” and logos, which means “word” in Greek. Thus, theology literally means the word of god or the study of god. In fact, theology studies religious faith and practice, especially the study of God and of God’s relation to the world. It is also important to note that we often associate the theology with theist religions.
Theology is an academic discipline in universities, seminaries as well as schools of divinity. Theologians use various types of arguments and analysis to understand, explain, critique, promote or defend religious topics. Moreover, theology helps them understand religious concepts and practices better, giving them an opportunity to compare and contrast different religions. It is also possible to use theology to defend and promote one’s religion and challenge other religions.
What is the Difference Between Religion and Theology?
Religion is the service and worship of God or the supernatural or commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance. Theology, on the other hand, is the critical study or the rational analysis of religion. So, this is the key difference between religion and theology. A further difference between religion and theology is that religion does not deal with any sort of rational analysis while theology deals with the rational analysis of religious faith.
Moreover, religious leaders work with the idea of establishing certain concepts and truths about the existence of God and superhuman powers. In contrast, theologians work with the idea of establishing proofs rationally and analyzing the so-called religious truths already established by religious leaders. Therefore, we can consider this as another difference between religion and theology.
Summary – Religion vs Theology
Religion is the service and worship of God or the supernatural or commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance whereas theology is the critical study of religion. The religious leaders establish religious truths whereas theological leaders establish analytical truths. Thus, this is the basic difference between religion and theology.
1. “Bible Bibliology Magnifying Glass Theology” (CC0) via Max Pixel
2. “Religious symbols” By Jossifresco, revisions by AnonMoos – uploaded by author ≈ jossi fresco ≈. (Vector conversion of Image:Religious symbols.png .) (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia