Religion is a set of beliefs and practices that center on questions about the meaning of life, often involving the worship of a supreme being. These belief systems are organized into communities of believers called religions, which include Buddhist, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The Latin word religio means “to bind.” In a sense, religion binds people together by binding them to a specific faith that holds sacred certain things and principles. This ties people to a community and helps them cope with the stresses of daily life.
Generally speaking, humans have a need for value, meaning, and faith in order to make sense of their lives. This is why many people will put their trust in religion when they feel that no other source of value exists.
These needs for value, meaning, and faith are rooted in our deepest emotional states and archetypes that lie within the unconscious mind. These mental states can be very intense, and can involve crying, laughing, screaming, trancelike conditions, feeling oneness with others, or other emotions and psychological states.
This is the case with most religions: they are deeply moving experiences. They help people in their times of crisis and need, and provide comfort.
The social functions of religion are also reflected in the rituals and ceremonies that occur at various times and places. They serve as a form of social control, reinforce social unity and stability, promote psychological and physical well-being, and may motivate people to work for positive social change.