Religion is a system of thoughts, feelings, and actions that answers a human need for meaning and purpose. It binds us to rules and norms and gives us a sense of direction in life. While religions are widely different, they all have some similar characteristics. They all emerged from fears and curiousity about life and death and transformed those fears into hopes and desires for immortality, life after death, and meaning in life.
Religion is a system of thoughts, feelings, and actions
Religion is a set of beliefs, practices, and rituals that a group of people adheres to. They may also include cultural beliefs, worldviews, texts, revelations, morals, rituals, prayers, and holy places. Many religions involve a god, or other controlling force that is held sacred.
It answers emotional and psychological needs in humans
Religion is thought to satisfy many of our primary emotional and psychological needs. In addition to physical needs, human beings have other basic emotional and psychological needs, referred to as existential needs by scholars of religion. While physical needs are shared among all forms of life, existential needs are uniquely human. And so, religion can be thought of as an attempt to satisfy these needs.
It binds people to social rules and norms
Religion is the belief in the existence of a divine being, which can be a known god or mythical figure from the past. It can also be a universal force that exists outside of the physical realm. Regardless of the form, religion is central to human experience.
It gives them direction in life
There are many ways that religion gives people direction in life. One common way is by providing social support and a sense of belonging. Many people develop close personal relationships through religious community, including those found in Bible study groups. Another popular use of religion is to provide meaning to life.
It is a complex of memes
Religion is a complex of memes, and it needs mechanisms for its spread. For example, “kill the infidel” is a common meme that requires people to kill their opponents to propagate it. And “go forth and multiply,” which means to produce more children, also ensures the spread of the meme. Other mechanisms include forbidding certain behaviors like masturbation and inter-faith marriage. Some even offer prizes in heaven for missionaries who convert unbelievers.
It is not a belief in Spiritual Beings
Religion is a system of belief that focuses on a supreme being or universal principle. It usually includes agreed-upon beliefs and practices, and it can exist outside the individual. Spirituality, by contrast, begins within and moves outward, through self-transcendence, connectedness to others, and relationship with that which lies beyond the world.
It is based on fear of uncontrollable forces
Religion is a natural reaction to the threat of uncontrollable forces in our world. It has its origins in pre-civilised societies. The fear of these forces is the logical outcome of our ignorance and struggle with nature. Religions based on fear are often weak and socially ineffective.