Religion is a human endeavor, which has significance to many people. It is a way to create meaning in one’s life and to discover connections between events and experiences. The major religions share a common core of beliefs and practices. They believe that these beliefs and practices are important for the well-being of humanity.
Although religion and spirituality are often conflated, they are different in several ways. Spirituality seeks out a sacred destination, while religion focuses on the search for important goals. While spirituality focuses on a personal journey, religion aims to achieve larger, more universal destinations. It also focuses on a social context.
A religion can begin with an external cause such as a Supreme Being or an eternal principle and develops from there. While this external cause can exist independently of its adherent, true spirituality is found within the self. It involves loving and accepting people and the world. The journey to this inner spirituality does not begin in a church, but in a relationship with something beyond the known world.
Religion has profound effects on society and culture. It is often a source of social support and provides incentives for living a healthy lifestyle. However, when religion becomes too rigid, it can weaken its social value. It can also lead to self-serving institutions and oppressive ideologies.