Religion is a social and cultural system that shapes attitudes, behaviors and worldviews. Its main tenet is to unite people into one community and build character. In return, it promises rewards for following its rules.
Religions include Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism and Judaism. Each religion is built on a belief system that centers around a deity. The belief system is usually pre-defined, and members are required to live according to its rules.
Religious organizations are typically characterized by strict moral codes, rituals and outward expressions of reverence. They can be either formal or informal, and can be used for good or evil. Some professional and lay preachers go about their business behind closed doors.
Although spirituality and religion are not mutually exclusive, they are often lumped together as “new age fluff.” However, there are many differences between the two.
While spirituality is generally a more personal affair, religion has many benefits, from increased mental health to reduced rates of alcoholism. Additionally, it has been found to improve HIV/AIDS patients’ quality of life.
Religious participants can learn a lot from the leaders of their respective faiths. However, many religious people are afraid of the consequences of their actions after death.
One example is the Sermon on the Mount, which amplifies the message of the Ten Commandments. Another is the A Course in Miracles, a written revelation from God.
Many religions also have impressive spiritual texts. These may be worth studying for their own sake.