What Is Religion?


Religion is the belief in a supernatural power, usually a God, or that life has meaning and purpose. It is the way in which people understand their place in the universe and seek guidance for how to live their lives. Religion is also the framework for moral behavior. It is a source of personal strength and meaning, provides a community with structure, helps people deal with problems, and offers hope for the future.

Historically, the concept of Religion has been defined in different ways. Emile Durkheim argued that the definition of religion should focus on its social function of creating solidarity. Other social theorists have taken a functional approach, such as Paul Tillich who defines religion as whatever dominant concern serves to organize a person’s values (whether or not those concerns involve belief in unusual realities).

Religious concepts and practices may include: rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration of deities or saints, sacrifices, feasts, dances, music and art, matrimonial and funerary services, and meditation. The study of Religion is often linked to anthropology and history, as it examines the role that spiritual beliefs and practices play in culture.

It is important to note that while Religion teaches us about the invisible world, it can also reinforce and promote social inequality and lead to hostility and violence motivated by religious differences. Therefore, it is important to learn about other religions, as well. A great way to do this is by attending a religious service, or having a conversation with someone from a different faith.