What Is Religion?

Religion is a broad category that encompasses diverse practices, beliefs and behaviors. Often it refers to a person’s relationship with that which is holy, sacred, absolute, spiritual or divine. It can also refer to a person’s attitude toward the broader human community or the natural world. Moreover, it can involve devotional observances such as prayer, worship and meditation. It can also encompass a code of moral conduct and the adherence to religious scriptures and traditions.

The word religion derives from the Latin religio, which means a “relation” or “devotedness” to something. Throughout history, scholars have discussed how the concept of religion is used in different ways and how it applies to various cultures. While most attempts to define religion have been monothetic, in that they use the classical view of concepts that each instance accurately describes will have a single defining property that defines it, a few recent approaches have been polythetic and treat the concept of religion as a family-resemblance concept.

These polythetic approaches are based on the belief that the concept of religion is too important to leave to a single definition or description, especially when it comes to distinguishing it from other social concepts such as culture, democracy, or even science. In fact, it is quite natural to apply a family-resemblance approach to religion because the vast majority of people in the world subscribe to one or more religions.

To get a better understanding of Religion, read the Holy Books for each religion you are interested in and speak with someone from another faith to see how they live out their beliefs. This is a great way to gain a more intimate knowledge of each belief system and how it affects their daily life.