Religion is a social genus that encompasses beliefs, experiences, moods, motivations, and disciplined practices. It has several important functions that are beneficial to the human condition, including:
a. The effective desire to be in right relation with power manifesting itself throughout the universe
b. The belief that there is a supreme divine power.
A number of scholars have proposed alternative definitions of religion, which differ in their approach to its essence. The most important of these is Talal Asad’s “genealogical” approach in Genealogies of Religion (1993).
c. The effective desire to be in right relations with a group of like-minded people who share a common set of values and rituals
Another popular alternative definition is “monothetic-set” definitions. These approaches to the meaning of religion, which use the classical view that every accurately described instance will share a defining property, are sometimes preferred by scholars who want to avoid ethnocentrism and the resulting bias toward specific groups.
d. The effective desire to be in right relations to the social control of a group of like-minded people who are bound together by shared beliefs and a common sense of morality.
A second important function of religion is that it provides social connection, which has many psychological benefits, including greater self-control and anxiety about death, and a reduced need for alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. In addition, studies show that religion has positive effects on the health of individuals and societies. Researchers have discovered that religious communities tend to have higher levels of vigor, happiness, and life expectancy than non-religious ones.