Religion is a complex topic to teach children because it can have many different interpretations. The best approach is to introduce your kids to as many different perspectives as possible so that they can learn from each other and form their own opinion.
One common definition of religion is that it’s a set of beliefs and practices that help people feel connected to a higher power. Another definition of religion is that it’s the moral code humans use to guide them through life.
A third way to think about religion is that it’s something that people experience through symbolic interaction with a community. Religious rituals and ceremonies are often very intense experiences for the people who participate in them. They can involve crying, laughing, screaming, being in trancelike states, feeling connected to others, and even a sense of transcendence.
For anthropologists, a living religion approach changes how we understand the term. Instead of defining religion as formalized belief systems and institutionally sanctioned practices, it’s what people do with those beliefs, practices, and symbols to express their identities, cope with life’s ups and downs, connect with their communities, and contribute to the world around them.
Some critics of this definition of religion argue that it treats religion as something inevitable. It’s a view that’s based on the functionalist theory of religion. The problem is that when scholars treat religion functionally as the beliefs and practices that generate social cohesion, they’re treating it like an inevitable feature of human culture, which is false.