Studying Religion can help you understand your own beliefs and spiritual practices, while opening you to new ideas that could benefit your life. You may also learn new ways to help yourself or others in difficult situations, or discover a spiritual path that could provide you with a greater sense of peace and contentment.
Throughout history, people have used religion to make their lives better and create a sense of community. They have built up religious traditions around things like holy days, feasts, marriage ceremonies, burial practices, pilgrimages and the wearing of certain symbols.
Religions have had a strong impact on culture, as well. They have influenced literature, music, art and fashion. They have also shaped the way we organise our lives together.
A major part of studying religion is to understand the context in which it emerged and how it has changed over time. Using a wide range of disciplinary approaches, historians, philosophers and sociologists study religion in order to understand how it developed, changed, adapted and changed again.
Sociological perspectives on religion aim to explain how it is able to promote social unity, harmony and stability (Emerson, Monahan, & Mirola 2011). They also look at the functions it serves, the inequality that it can encourage and other problems it can reinforce or perpetuate.
It can be a complex and confusing concept, but it is important to know that there is more than one way to think about religion. It can be a source of social cohesion, but it can also lead to violence and persecution.