Religion is the collective name given to all the different systems of beliefs and practices which have a connection to spiritual and supernatural elements.
Most religions have a specific God who the followers believe has created the Universe and is the source of all life. The followers of these religions worship this God and show their devotion through prayer and holy books.
Generally speaking all religions seek to give meaning and purpose to life as well as helping people deal with death and grief. They also aim to bring people together and help them to live in peace and harmony with each other.
Many scholars now believe that the best way to understand Religion is through a scientific approach and the use of cognitive science. This is a view which is not new but has recently been gaining popularity among scientists and researchers.
A large body of research has shown that religious people tend to be more healthy and happier than non-religious people, and that they also enjoy a longer lifespan. It is suggested that this is because of the behavioural benefits of having religious beliefs, such as self-control and positive social behavior.
This idea is based on the classical theory that if an instance of a concept is accurately described by the theory, it will share a common property that makes it a natural kind (Lawrence and Margolis 1999). However, a number of philosophers have begun to argue that this is not necessarily true, since some phenomena which are closely associated with the concept of religion can be adequately defined in terms of a prototype structure rather than a defining property.