Religion is a social institution, based on pre-defined principles of belief and behavior. It is a system of beliefs that a person follows to gain spiritual fulfillment. Unlike spirituality, which encourages individuality, religion requires obedience to its rules and practices. Generally, members of a religion have to live according to certain moral and dress codes, which are prescribed by the recognized authority of the religion.
A religious institution is often based on the life and teachings of an archetypal figure. The stories of such figures have been passed down from generation to generation through written scriptures and oral tradition. People worship these historical figures and follow their religious practices. Some may even consider themselves to be religious or spiritual but have not chosen a specific religion.
A person’s religious beliefs can affect their lives in many ways. Some people find religious institutions to be oppressive. The United States has a relatively high percentage of religious believers. The religious population is concentrated in the South and West and is dominated by Boomers and Gen-Xers. However, religious belief is no guarantee that a person will have a good life.
Religion and spirituality are often confused. While both concepts have a lot in common, they differ in their definitions. Spirituality is a connection to nature, others, or God. Both spirituality and religion are important backgrounds to most people’s lives.