The modern word religion comes from the Latin word religio. To the ancient Romans "Religio was not based on "faith", but on knowledge, including and especially correct practice (Ando). Social harmony came from the gods were owed correct practice (i.e. ritual and sacrifice) from people and in return they recieved social harmony.
Anthropologists sometimes refer to religion simply as a "cultural system" because they can affect so many ways of how people think and act communities. Religion can act as a strong social glue, holding a community together, explaining the world and governing behavior without the requirement of additional justification. “Worldwide, more than eight-in-ten people identify with a religious group,” while others (roughly 1.1 billion) don't (Pew). Religions play a strong role in communities. This positive effect can be evidenced by the words of the Dalai Lama, "My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."
Religions help people learn all sorts of insights, the dominant of these being moral teachings. However, religions also serve as:
A code of culture for the community. In Japan, people follow religious rituals during ceremonies for births, weddings and funerals and many will also visit a shrine or temple at the New Year and participates in local festivals (matsuri), most of which have a religious significance (Japan-guide.com).
A source of insight into the sacred and divine.
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