Religion can help us deal with stress, find meaning in life, and form communities that support us. It can also offer us wisdom that guides how we should treat others. It can even increase the longevity of our lives, according to scientific research. That doesn’t mean that everyone who’s religious should join a church, synagogue or temple. Indeed, some religions are insular, antiquated, and damaging. But neither does it mean that there isn’t a great need for more spiritual but not religious people to be involved in communities that nurture belonging, offer new perspectives, celebrate diversity and the meaningfulness of rituals, facilitate engaging worship, and promote social action.
What is Religion?
Religion is a system of beliefs and practices that gives its adherents someone or something sacred to believe in, a code of conduct or morality to follow, and a set of institutions to manage these activities. Typically, a religion deals with the supernatural or spiritual – about forces or powers that are beyond human control.
Most studies of Religion focus on its positive effects on wellbeing. For example, kids who say they are religious are less likely to be involved in risky health behaviors like drinking and smoking. In addition, they’re more likely to be socially engaged, have a better sense of purpose, and be healthier physically.