Religion is a complex issue and people are often at odds on what it means. However, most can agree that it involves a belief in something sacred (something or someone higher than man), an attempt to please or propitiate those powers, and a set of rules for behavior. Religion also provides many social services from health care and education to community organizing and advocacy for the poor, and seeks to promote human flourishing in a variety of ways (although this is not always successful).
The line between religion and culture or philosophy or morality is not always clearly drawn, and some definitions include multiple elements. For example, a famous definition by James G. Frazer states that religion is ‘a system of beliefs and practices connecting people to spiritual and supernatural forces beyond themselves, with a code of conduct for ordering their lives and a way of life based on these teachings’.
Some people go further and argue that there is no such thing as religion at all. They point to the fact that the concept was invented by European colonists and that it is a term that describes a type of cultural experience, rather than something that exists independently of culture. Others take a more pragmatic approach and simply say that it refers to a broad range of experiences, some of which are similar and some of which are quite different. Then they argue that, irrespective of whether there is such a thing as religion, we should not treat it as if there was.