Generally, religion is a social-cultural system of beliefs, morals, and behaviors. Religions provide spirituality, meaning, and a sense of purpose. Religions can be found throughout the world.
Religions can be based on doctrine, texts, and rituals. Some religions are based on the lives and teachings of historical figures. Details about these figures are transmitted through the oral tradition and written scriptures.
Traditional religious beliefs can be exclusive and give people a rigid view of their world. The beliefs can justify exclusion of others who are deemed unworthy of God’s favor. Moreover, concepts of divine retribution and eternal punishment can create a mental environment of worry.
Traditional religions are also community-based. Religions have centuries-old histories. They were the foundation of society before colonization. They provide a basis for action and give people certainty in uncertain times.
Traditional religions also provide social support and help individuals overcome social challenges. The best of humanity can be organized through a religion. It can also provide a clear moral code.
A religious community’s ability to provide social support, meaning, and purpose is dependent on the way religious beliefs are explained and practiced. Culture can also influence the way spirituality is expressed. For example, individualistic cultures weaken the core social function of religion.
People who have an intrinsic religious orientation have less physiological reactivity toward stress. Individuals who have an extrinsic religious orientation use religion for external ends. They may use religion to overcome illness or to provide social support.