Religion is a complex of beliefs, rituals, practices, symbols, and institutions that people believe connect them to a higher power. It also deals with the moral behavior of humans and often has a strong influence on their lives. It is a common topic of debate in the world, and the way it is analyzed can have a profound impact on the lives of people. It is very important that people understand the role of religion in their life and that it be recognized by all. Totally secular approaches to issues of public policy, psychotherapy, and education can not succeed without a recognition of the role that religion plays in the lives of two-thirds of the world’s population.
It is common to think of religion as a set of belief systems associated with a church, temple, or mosque. However, anthropologists and sociologists have long noted that the concept of “religion” is not so much about a specific belief system as it is about a pattern of human social organization.
A religious organization is a social kind, like a family or a school, that has certain distinctive characteristics. The basic function of a religion is to organize society and provide a basis for the moral behavior of its members. This is particularly true of religions that claim that they convey the message of a higher power, whether it is Jesus Christ for Christianity, Muhammad (c. 570-632) for Islam, or Buddha (Siddartha Gautama) for Buddhism.