Religion is a broad term that includes many different forms of practice. While religions differ in their origins and practices, they all share a number of common features that make them unique.
One of the key challenges that a person faces when trying to understand religion is defining it. There are many definitions out there, and it can be difficult to determine which one is the best.
A few of the more common definitions include:
a group of beliefs and practices that have social value; b. a set of beliefs and practices that generate a sense of belonging; c. a system of rituals and ceremonies to a god, or the divine.
Another way to define religion is by looking at the broader range of ways it has been used over time and how those uses have changed. For example, religions can be seen as systems for exploring the inner realm of human experience in terms of enlightenment and peace, as well as those that focus on the external world such as Jainism and Buddhism.
The third way to define religion is by looking at the structures that exist within it. There are religions that have large scale and coherently organized and hierarchical structures, such as Roman Catholicism, but there are also those that are more loosely structured, such as Hinduism.
There is a fourth dimension to the concept of religion, and it is one that is often missing in definitions of religion. This dimension is based on the idea that religions protect much that is indispensable for human life and flourishing of a kind.