Religion is a complex phenomenon, one that has shaped human lives in all times and places. It is a fundamental factor in the creation of knowledge, the arts, and technology, and remains a powerful force today.
In a broad sense, religion is defined as the belief in an objective factor or power that transcends the many conflicting forces of nature. This principle is sometimes called a god or the universe, and it is believed to exist throughout human history. It is a force that has persisted despite the scientific and philosophical criticisms of the past, and it is also a force that will continue to shape the future.
Religious people value what they believe and they orient themselves to life in the world by means of a set of beliefs that they have come to recognize as important to their lives. Those who are religious are willing to live and die for those beliefs and they are willing to transmit them to the next generation.
There are other sources of value in the human experience, including science and family, but religion is the most intensive and comprehensive form of valuation that humans experience. It is a phenomena that arises out of a fundamental need of humans to have some source of value.
Historically, religion is an attempt to find answers to some of the most difficult questions of our time and in past times. These questions include:
What is the meaning of life?
In answer to these questions, religious people have formulated a variety of beliefs and practices. These beliefs and practices have adapted to changing circumstances and cultural, social, and political changes over the centuries. They have become a part of the cultural fabric of societies and they are the basis of a moral order in society.
They have served as an identifying factor for the identity of people within communities. They have been a tool of social control and coercion, and they have helped to define the boundaries of social and political identities in different cultures across the world.
It is therefore essential that we have a proper definition of religion in order to understand it better. A definition of religion must be able to distinguish between the phenomena that we normally consider to be religions and others such as magic, art, and science.
A good definition of religion must also be able to discriminate among the different types of beliefs that are found in society and to distinguish these from each other. This can be achieved by a polythetic approach to the study of religion.
The polythetic approach to the study of religion involves the creation of a class, or group, of entities with particular characteristics that are shared by all members of the class. The class can then be sorted according to the number of those characteristics that must be present in a member of the class in order for it to be considered a religion.