Religion (from Latin religio, "reverence for the
gods", "piety", possibly related to religare, "to
bind") is the belief in and worship of a god or gods, or more in general a
set of beliefs explaining the existence of and giving meaning to the universe,
usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a
moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
Aspects of religion include narrative, symbolism, beliefs,
and practices that are supposed to give meaning to the practitioner's
experiences of life. Whether the meaning centers on a deity or deities, or an
ultimate truth, religion is commonly identified by the practitioner's prayer,
ritual, meditation, music and art, among other things, and is often interwoven
with society and politics. It may focus on specific supernatural, metaphysical,
and moral claims about reality (the cosmos and human nature) which may yield a
set of religious laws and ethics and a particular lifestyle. Religion also
encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology,
as well as personal faith and religious experience. The development of religion
has taken many forms in various cultures, with continental differences.
The term "religion" refers both to the personal
practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication
stemming from shared conviction. "Religion" is sometimes used
interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but it is
more socially defined than personal convictions, and it entails specific
Religion is often described as a communal system for the
coherence of belief focusing on a system of thought, unseen being, person, or
object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the
highest truth. Moral codes, practices, values, institutions, tradition,
rituals, and scriptures are often traditionally associated with the core
belief, and these may have some overlap with concepts in secular philosophy.
Religion is also often described as a "way of life" or a life stance.