Religion consists of a complex of cultural systems, beliefs and worldviews, which relate human life and humanity to their spiritual being and moral values. Most of the existing religions have specific symbols, narratives or sacred stories, which try to explain the meaning of life and its origins. Religions derive human morality, ethics and lifestyle from the perspectives that people have towards life.
There exist different religions, and this diversity appears from the human beliefs and practices. None of the religious aspects is God-given. All of them accrued traditionally and were passed from one generation to another. Though all these practices are different, they have many signs of similarity. The common beliefs are the main belief in a higher power and respect towards the other human beings.
All over the Earth, people practice religions based on their beliefs. Some traditional religions occur at community level, while others are global. Some religious practices originate from the past, while others owe their origin to the missionaries. Sometimes people may even practice more than one religion. In such cases, they decide to get involved into a new religion, while still maintaining the practices in the previous religion.
Religious usually unites its members that become bound by the common believes and practices. The mutual care provides a spiritual support to the religious people. All religions have particular ways of solving problems affecting their members individually or in general. The excellent examples are prayer and sacrifice. Some religions practice counseling and guidance concerning their members who experience family challenges.
Religion involves a belief in a supernatural being or a higher power. The spiritual being may have various powers in different religions. Believers of a particular religion carry out specific rituals to appease the higher power with the belief that the exceptional things will happen. Religious affiliation is associated with a belief that some behavior may bring calamities to the community or an individual. Such a behavior usually involves acts that cause harm to other human beings or to a particular individual.
All religions entail ceremonies that occur during the fixed periods of the year. The ceremonies may occur during the days of worship, particular prayers,or when the believers offer a specific sacrifice (Platvoet, 1999). On these days, people visit the places of worship or carry out the rituals.
The places of worship or carrying out the rituals are associated with all religions. These are the places, where people meet to carry out the rituals and listen to the religious teachings. Members of a religion usually go through the teachings with the books like the Holy Bible for Christians and the Koran for Muslims. In any religion, there is a fear associated with the poor deeds. People believe that calamities will occur, if they deviate from teachings of their religions.
People of the same religion usually share a feeling of belonging. Religion acts serve as a fabric that joins people together into a community. It brings people together physically through the practices and ceremonies. They share many common believes, which make people of the same religion face similar challenges. They come up with the common ways to solve these problems. Some people join religious movements to be a part of a particular community.
Prayer is the most common and general religious action. It is a form of the deliberate communication to God, which can be performed in different forms including personal or group one that is usually accompanied by songs.
Another widely recognized action in many religions is sacrifice. It is a form of worship that entails offering food, live animals or cereals. Prayer and sacrifice usually form the basis of other religious actions and usually accompany most practices of a religion.
One more aspect of religion is avoidance. Religious avoidance occurs when an individual deviates from a certain action for religious reasons. A good example is fasting, when one fails to touch, eat or drink food for religious purposes. Celibacy is another form of abstinence, when one fails to have sex. Some people may avoid contact with blood or dead animals. Religious avoidance may also include abandoning of certain foods. For example, Muslims and Jews do not eat pork.
Marital satisfaction increases with religious affiliation. Religion offers tremendous support for families and protection against divorce. People who go to church are more likely to enjoy their marriage. Religion has many functions such as influencing health and peaceful coexistence. For instance, people who are not religiously affiliated are much more likely to abuse alcohol. Non-religious people are more likely to go to jail compared to their religious counterparts (Powell, 2003).
Another reason to appreciate the function of religion is that social ills are less likely to involve religiously committed people. Crimes, drug abuse and sexually transmitted infections have fewer chances to take place, when religion comes into place. A lot of money and efforts are usually put in place to heal the effects of these ills. Therefore, religion affects the financial status of a community and country as a whole.
Each religion provides a mental support to its followers. Some people may become religious due to the fear and belief that they will enjoy protection. On the other hand, religious people do not suffer from depression as compared to those with no religious affiliation.
Religion is a vital part of the life of an individual, which cannot be left behind. It brings people together during special practices and events. Through religion people maintain traditional values and pass them to the future generation.