What is religion? What systems should we use to classify something as a religion? Most theological scholars would define religion as any system of belief or worship. While others may say that believing in a supernatural power or powers is what fundamentally makes something a religion. Should religion be defined by its practices? Should fundamentalist or fringe groups, such as Westboro Baptist Church and ISIS, still be considered religious and extended the same rights and protections as religions? What does our definition of religion mean for atheism or agnosticism, and can they counted as a religion at all?
Does classifying certain beliefs as religion give them legitimacy in the public eye or protect them from scrutiny? Such arguments have been made about Scientology, where some would argue it is a religion, while others say it is a cult. Should we be more harsh or more inclusive in our definition of religion, and what impacts may that have on how much power they control?
Furthermore, why do we care? For legal purposes, what does and does not count as a religion can have big consequences. From tax exemption, to getting days off work, to being allowed to not have your children vaccinated, beliefs with the special status of religion can have far reaching impacts on our society and day to day life.