The concept of Religion has evolved to a social taxon, a sort of category-concept whose paradigmatic examples are the various so-called world religions but which can also include such practices as animism, preanimism, animatism, manism and, more anciently, fetishism. It has also been used to describe such social practices as worship, moral conduct, right belief and so on. Attempts to provide a definition of Religion that applies to all these different practices have not always been successful and the article here discusses two philosophical issues arising for this contested concept that is likely to have similar problems as other concepts used in classifications of human life (such as literature, democracy or culture itself).
What is Religion?
Generally speaking Religion refers to the concept of spiritual or supernatural power and the belief in a god, a creator of the universe. Religions often encourage people to behave morally and to try to understand how the universe works through divine dictates and other tenets and rules. Religions can be helpful in the formation of a basic social contract that allows people to live and work together in harmony and with a sense of mutual well-being. Almost all religions offer some form of reward for the faithful in the next life and this provides motivation for people to try to be good citizens of their societies.
Finally, most religions provide an explanation of why the universe and our existence exist which fills a need in humans for answers that science does not fully supply. Religions can also give a sense of a higher purpose to our lives and allow us to feel more important and expand ourselves into infinite proportions which make the individual feel ennobled and united with the divine.