Joseph P. Laycock tackles the question of whether we should think of Bitcoin as a religion in his article “Why are people calling Bitcoin a religion?” Semi-spoiler: Laycock reminds some of us and informs others that:
The dirty secret of religious studies is that there is no universal definition of what religion is. Traditions such as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism certainly exist and have similarities, but the idea that these are all examples of religion is relatively new.
The word “religion” as it’s used today – a vague category that includes certain cultural ideas and practices related to God, the afterlife or morality – arose in Europe around the 16th century. Before this, many Europeans understood that there were only three types of people in the world: Christians, Jews and heathens.
So, quoting Russell McCutcheon, the real interesting question “is not what religion is or is not, but ‘the making of it’ process itself – whether that manufacturing activity takes place in a courtroom or is a claim made by a group about their own behaviors and institutions.” In other words, why would someone suggest Bitcoin is or isn’t a religion? What’s the point/objective?