Thank you to Sakshi for setting me off on this train of thought.
A word is a tool
We use it to express
It’s also something
Heard or read
A trigger for our thoughts
We do not always
Hear or read
What someone else has said.
So what is the difference between superstition and religion? Some would say none; both are beliefs in what they regard as irrationalities. Yet some of the most religious people are the most anti superstition!
The words superstition, religion and belief clearly mean different things to different people. One person uses them to express their thought, someone else reads them and interprets them in the light of their own understanding. Expression has not led to communication.
Expression is like broadcasting a radio signal. You have something. You put it out there. End of story.
Communication requires a receiver. And it requires an interpretation that accurately mirrors the original encryption of thought into words.
Believing can mean giving mental assent to an hypothesis or it can mean totally relying on something or someone. After all, if someone says they don’t believe in vitamin pills, does anyone interpret that as saying they don’t believe the pills exist? No, we understand that they don’t trust the pills to keep them healthy. The existence of the pills is not in question.
A lot of the superstitions that Sakshi mentions I had never heard of; probably they are culture related? But they sound as though they might well share with with ones I grew up with a certain likeness to an empty dried up husk or seed pod. Perhaps they once held a kernel of religious truth that has now gone.
I’m reminded of a story about a community of monks whose leader decided to teach them to pray. Whenever they gathered together to pray the community’s cat would cause a great distraction so before starting prayers he would tie it up. After a while the leader died but his followers carried on tying up the cat and praying. Then the cat died. They bought another; it was inconceivable to start a prayer meeting without the ritual of tying up the cat!