What Is Religion?


Religion is the set of beliefs, practices, and experiences that people believe are divine. It is a complex concept that can be interpreted many different ways. Some scholars define it as “the ascription of supernatural endowments to a personality conceived of as morally good and requiring confidence,” while others see it as a system of rules for moral conduct, a philosophy, or a set of ideas about the universe. Nevertheless, there are commonalities between religions. For example, all religions share some form of hope. This is the idea that a higher power can save humans from sin and pain or even death.

In lower grades of culture, the helplessness of man in the face of natural forces stimulates a sense of dependence on the Deity and a deeply felt need for Divine aid. The conception of God as the highest being provokes awe and the apprehension that He is the only one to direct them for men’s weal or woe, while the recognition that all human duties are Divine commands inspires reverence and obedience.

Many different theories try to explain why people need religion. A common view is that it evolved out of curiosity about life and death and a fear of uncontrollable forces. Then it grew into a hope for immortality or life after death, for a good creator who would care about humanity, or even for a meaningful purpose to our existence. Others describe it as a social phenomenon that helps people feel connected to each other and to the universe.