Religion is the belief in a supernatural power that encompasses a variety of beliefs, practices, and rituals. It often involves cultural beliefs, worldviews, texts, prophets, revelations, morals, and a wide range of spiritual practices such as sermons, prayer, meditation, holy places, symbols, trances, feasts, and more.
In some cases, people practice a religion because it offers them a sense of belonging and community, while others may feel compelled to do so by an intense desire to find meaning in life. A study by the Pew Research Center finds that people who are religious tend to be more connected to their families and communities, more likely to volunteer, and happier with their lives overall than those who are not.
Whether you’re an established religious studies student or a new learner, there are plenty of resources available to help you explore and expand your knowledge about Religion. Look for materials that provide detailed, fact-based analysis of current events; descriptions of the complexities and nuances of modern-day beliefs and practices; and first-person accounts of what it’s like to belong to a particular faith.
It’s important to remember that, unlike many other social institutions, Religion tends to evolve more slowly than other aspects of culture. As a result, it frequently combines features of older religions with those of more recent ones. Some scholars even argue that there’s a case for rejecting the idea of “thing-hood” for the term Religion, so that we stop treating all instances of it as sharing a set of necessary and sufficient properties.