Religion is people’s relation to what they regard as holy, sacred, absolute, spiritual, divine, or worthy of especial reverence. It is most commonly conceived as people’s concerns about life after death and their destiny in the next world. It also includes their devotion to particular religious texts or persons and their cultic practices, such as rituals, prayer, and worship. Emile Durkheim’s definition turns on the social function of a sense of community; Paul Tillich’s is based on the axiological function of providing meaning and value to life.
There is no consensus on the best definition of Religion. Some scholars use it as a synonym for mythology, or for beliefs about the origin of mankind that are not scientifically verifiable. Others think of it as a system of beliefs and values that organizes human lives, or as a set of attitudes that people have toward the natural world and other humans. Still others argue that a belief in God or a creator is a core component of all religions.
The most popular religions are Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism, with 1.6 billion followers and 25 countries that have an official state religion. Religion is not for everyone, but many believers find it provides peace and comfort by fostering a relationship with a higher power and giving them hope for the future. It also gives them structure, moral guidance and support. And it can even improve their health, with studies showing that being a member of a church or synagogue extends life.