Religion is a term that is used to describe a variety of different beliefs, morals, organizations, practices, texts, prophecies and worldviews. It is a social-cultural system, usually structured and rule-based.
Generally, religion is based on the belief in a deity. A religion enables you to connect with a community and to find meaning in your life. This can be beneficial for people who face stressful or serious physical illness, as well as for those who are looking for a sense of purpose.
Religion is an important tool in coping with stress. Having strong faith in God and spirituality can help HIV/AIDS patients cope with their disease. These feelings can make them more likely to stay on medications, and can improve their overall health.
A growing body of research suggests that spiritual struggles are linked to distress and declines in health. In addition, studies suggest that spiritual forms of coping predict health better than secular forms.
Practicing Christians, for example, are more likely to be polytheistic than monotheistic. Polytheistic people are not as likely to believe that God is everywhere. But they are equally likely to believe in a “perfect creator of the universe.”
Religion and spirituality are not mutually exclusive. One third of Americans identify as spiritual but not religious. People who do not belong to a particular faith are also considered to be “spiritual but not religious.”
Some religions, such as Islam, do not allow members to engage in sexual relations. Other religions, such as Catholicism, require adherence to a set of rituals. If you have questions about the specifics of a particular religion, ask your clergy.