Religion is a social-cultural system characterized by prescribed practices and behaviors. The system typically includes morals, beliefs, texts, sanctified places, and organizations. For example, Christianity includes a belief in the existence of God. In addition, Christianity contains a set of social and political values that make it appealing to many people.
Traditionally, religion was a shared tradition that united people. However, in modern America, religion is becoming increasingly private and individual. Instead of following strict rules and instituting rigid rituals, Americans are focusing on more introspective experiences of the divine. A separate category for spirituality was created in the 1960s, a time when rebellious young people were disillusioned by organized religion.
Spirituality differs from religion in that it focuses on the quality of the message rather than on the message itself. The message of a religion is important to spiritual people, but it is also important to consider the differences between religions. For instance, a Christian may focus on the story of Moses, while a spiritual person will focus on the broader messages of that story.
The core purpose of a religion is to foster community and social relationships, not to control the lives of its followers. As a result, religion is a social structure that creates practical implications for everyday life. For example, members of a religion will often adhere to a dress code or moral code. In addition, they will take part in rituals that are commanded by a supernatural entity.