and others do not? What is it in human nature that makes it almost compulsory to have a belief in something higher than ones own self? Religion, when strictly defined, is what people see as an expression of faith. It is an organized way for people who have the same principles to gather and share in their common beliefs.
There are many different activities that are done to practice religion. The main one is going to a common place where believers of the same persuasion can gather – usually to pray or worship – and have the intricacies and nuances of their beliefs practiced and expounded upon. Religion can be considered as the social aspect of one’s faith. As a social group, its members can be many millions, a few hundreds, or even just small groups.
Man (and Woman), being a social creature, has a strong need to belong and perhaps this is one answer to the question “why do people believe in religion?” The practice of religion certainly has quite a number of opportunities to encourage this, because there are periodic meetings at designated places of worship.
For some religions, there are more opportunities to meet with small groups aside from the regular meetings, for example at churches, mosques or synagogues, and this brings more opportunity for group interactions. Participating in religious activities enables the believer to feel closer to others like him, making religious participation more attractive. For some people, being part of a religion means that they are never really alone. They and other like minded individuals who are connected with their religions make them feel part of something bigger, and connected with others.
To a certain extent, this is true. If you couple this perception with a strong belief in a higher power that governs matters over and above the human self, you will have something that satisfies another basic human need. Human beings need to know that there is an explanation for the mysterious things that go on in the world that they live in, and on some level there is a basic need to know that someone is in charge.
This individual needs to be mighty and powerful of course, in order to be able to help man when he cannot help himself. This is where faith comes in. Religion can be seen as something as plain as a social club, but to a person with faith it is a tool to help him grow deeper in his beliefs. People need to be able to look up to someone or something outside of themselves, when life’s challenges grow bigger than what they are comfortable with. When a man is inundated with concerns that are burdensome, he needs to have something to strengthen and push him through. This is perhaps one of the strongest reasons for people to ask “why do people believe in religion?”