What are some interpretations of the concept of "Religion"?

The term "religion" can be interpreted in a variety of ways, each with its own basis. For example, religion can be defined as

  • A worldview and mode of behavior of people who believe in the existence of supernatural forces;

  • A system of symbols, moral rules, rituals, and cultural behaviors based on the idea of a general order of existence; and

  • Belief in a supernatural power (God);

  • A set of views, perceptions, belief systems, and rituals that unite people as a community;

  • One of the ways humans adapt to the world around them and fulfill their spiritual needs.

Religious rituals are closely related to beliefs, and the two concepts are often used synonymously.

Functions of Religion

Basic Functions of Religion

  • Worldview: religions form believers into a particular worldview. Through the prism of faith, one can see and understand the world, society, and oneself.

  • Values and Meaning. Religion answers questions about the meaning and purpose of life and participates in the creation of values.

  • Psychological (Compensation). Through prayer, meditation, or turning to God, believers find relief in difficult times or relieve stress.

  • Communication. Shared beliefs unite people and provide opportunities for people to relate and feel less alone. In addition, religious rituals allow believers to interact with saints, gods, and angels.

  • Cultural Transcendence. Religion is a factor in the development of the arts, and cultural heritage is transmitted through religious artifacts.

  • Education. Religion helps socialize people and instills certain behavioral norms in society.

  • Norms. Faith limits human aspirations and activities.

  • Unity and dissociation. Religion unites groups of believers, but at the same time puts social groups practicing different religions in conflict with each other.

Modern Religion

Religious beliefs today can be divided into three types

  1. Tribal beliefs - i.e., totem worship, shamanism, materialism, and animism. These religions are very old, but still exist in some societies, such as African tribes and Canadian aborigines.

  2. Ethnic religions are closely associated with specific racial and ethnic communities. Examples include Hinduism and Jainism in India, Judaism in Israel, Shintoism in Japan, and Taoism Confucianism in China.

  3. World religion transcend the boundaries of any one country or ethnic group and have many adherents throughout the world. Three such religions : Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam.


Christianity originated in the eastern part of the Roman Empire in the 1st century A.D. and spread rapidly to other provinces; as early as the 5th century it spread beyond the borders of the Roman Empire to other European countries, and from the 16th to 20th centuries missionaries sought to convert inhabitants of other continents to Christianity. Today, the religion has some 2.4 billion adherents.

Christianity believes in the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of all men. For the followers of this religion, the spiritual world is more important than the material world. The goal of human life is spiritual growth, which can be achieved through humility, fasting, and prayer.

The main book of the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, symbolized the cross.


Islam, the youngest world religion; originated in Western Arabia in the 7th century and was founded by the Prophet Muhammad. The first Islamic state, the Caliphate, aggressively waged wars of conquest against its neighbors, converting them to Islam. As a result, within 100 years of its birth, Islam had followers in West Asia, Central Asia, India, the Transcaucasia, North Africa, and the Balkans. Today, Islam is followed by approximately 1.9 billion people.

Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, is a monotheistic religion. Muslims honor Allah, God Almighty. The symbols of Islam are the star the crescent moon, and its main scripture is the Koran. The hallmarks of the Muslim faith ritualized prayer, fasting, and pilgrimage to Mecca (the birthplace of Islam).


Buddhism is the oldest of the world's three major religions, dating back to the 6th century. During the first 2,000 years, Buddhism spread throughout Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, and Tibet. Today, Buddhism practiced about 500 million people worldwide. In Russia, it is widely practiced in Buryatia, Kalmykia, and Tuva.

Unlike Christianity Islam, Buddhism has no creator God, no immortal soul, no concept of sin or atonement.


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