Read my concise definition more carefully: I did NOT claim that all religions recognize a “transcendent God”. I said that a religion requires “the transcendent”. That transcendence doesn’t have to be a deity, “personal or impersonal” as you say. It can be any sort of transcendent “whatever”.
Buddhism is a religion because its various versions focus on various transcendent goals and foci, whether that transcendence be described as enlightenment, overcoming samsara, Nirvana, or attainment of Buddhahood.
(1) Do you think that the average popular-level layperson dictionary for a language is the best authority on such a term? [My question is sincere. I’m not trying to sound dismissive. I’m just trying to better understand where you are coming from.]
(2) Depending upon the general public’s notions about a word’s meaning is fraught with ambiguities and contradictions—and appalling errors. For example, does the fact that many English-speakers think that a dolphin is a kind of fish provide sufficient reason to doubt an ichthyologist definitions of those words? Does the fact that the average English-speaker thinks that a koala bear is a kind of bear overrule the taxonomist who tells you that the word koala does not refer to a species of bear?
I am also wondering if you think that religious studies scholars and evolutionary biology scholars are commonly mistaken in their terminology. (Again, I’m not being dismissive. I just want to understand more of your opinion of the academy in general and the years of training we had to go through to do our jobs as researchers and as teachers at universities.)
[As a linguist, lexicography is very important to me, so that is why I have responded so carefully on this issue.]