Clouser's definition is neither too broad nor too narrow, is applicable to every known religious tradition, and is logically forceful. Still, I don't suspect materialists to bend to its logic and admit that they too have a religious belief. When pressed on this point many materialists tend to resort to special pleading or wrangling over the semantics of using the term “religious.” But as Clouser says, “If you insist that whatever you believe to be divine isn't religious for you, you'll have to admit that for those of us who hold such a belief and admit its religious character, your belief is going to appear to be religious for reasons that are far from arbitrary.” In other words, call the belief what you want—it certainly looks and functions like a religious belief.
He divides up transcendental beliefs into "supernatural entities" and "impersonal powers", both of which have "moral purpose". This is an excellent and succinct scheme. In his discussion he points out that you cannot refer only to supernatural entities as this doesn't suit some non-Western religions. And it is a wise move to add that transcendental order(s) have a moral purpose: it is very hard indeed to find exception to this in the world of religion. However, exceptions there are: deism has as its head a theistic figure that is uninvolved with our lives, and which does not make moral judgements of us. The intentions of the deist 's god are unknown. Therefore, their religion does not include a " moral purpose " in its transcendental belief. A complication is that many deists are not a member of any religion, although, the term has become well-known enough that some do consider deism in general to be its own religion (albeit one with just one defined belief). If you want to include deism in a general description of religion, you can't stipulate that religion should have a moral order. In my long definition , the second paragraph does mention (for reasons of common-sense) that religions "often include... codes of morality... given a mandate from a supernaturally great being; a supernatural force or from the will of the Universe itself", which does manage to cover both theistic and non-theistic religions , but also admits that not all religions necessarily conform to the requirement of a moral order. Defining religion is not an easy task!
Linking past to present, I see this everyday as a grad student working in the field of medieval literature. There are certain poets, for example, who were wildly popular (by the standards of the time anyway) in their own day, but whose work now meets a more-or-less universal “meh.” Part of this has to do with changing conceptions of poetry, but part of it is merely that the implied audience was different for the earlier writer. John Lydgate serves as a good example. He was a Benedictine monk who likely knew Chaucer. In the 15 th century, he became fairly famous, working for some of the most important patrons of the day and producing a massive output of some 145,000+ lines of poetry. His popularity endured for some time, with many seeing him as second only to Chaucer in the canon of early English literature. Eventually his fame tapered off; he never got it back. Why? Because, unlike Chaucer, who characteristically developed a deeply ironic sense, worked in a variety of forms, obsessively thought in terms of narrative, and who (in some important ways) broke with medieval poetic sense, Lydgate is the archetypal medieval writer who loves amplificatio , occupatio , and the like. His poems are long, sometimes with dozens of lines making the same point over and over again in different words as a means of celebrating or amplifying that idea’s importance. A brief example :