Religion is a group of beliefs and practices that are directed toward significant goals. It includes sanctified places, texts, worldviews, rituals, ethics and designated behaviors.
Religion has been a focus of research in both traditional and modern societies. Most of the studies have focused on Judeo-Christian traditions. However, there are religions and spirituality that are also found in other contexts.
When used interchangeably, the terms religion and spirituality may be confusing. Both have their merits and are used to describe similar activities. Religious communities may offer a variety of resources. For example, religious leaders can assist people on their journey.
Traditionally, religion was understood as an institutional practice. It involved adherence to a doctrine, rituals and practices that aimed to strengthen the soul and unite members of the community.
Today, religion is more thought-based. People tend to participate in religious activities such as prayer and worship. The activities are also associated with moral conduct and ethics.
While many people have ambivalent views about religion, there are many who find a sense of peace and self-worth by pursuing spirituality. They may see Jesus as loving and accepting.
Religion has often been criticised for its hypocrisy and violence. Large-scale acts of terrorism, such as bombings and racist rallies, often contribute to this reputation. Similarly, there have been reports of small-scale secret terrorism, such as spousal abuse.
Many religious institutions are distinctive for their spiritual character. Some examples of spirituality are meditation, yoga, and mindfulness.