Societal religions vary throughout the world, with some worshiping one god and others worshiping many. One thing all these religions have in common is the ability to bring people together.
Religion Addresses Social Issues The core framework of religions is to create moral benchmarks for believers that guide their footsteps. Religion also encourages believers to put words into action and go into the community to shower others with compassion, love and charity. Many religions address problems that can become negative epidemics in a society including drug use, divorce, alcoholism, adultery, murder and greed. The teachings on these topics encourage believers to avoid negative acts, such as murder and lying, with a framework of consequences in the spiritual world that many believers strive to avoid by maintaining good morals and values. Believers of religion will be charitable with time and money, hoping to relieve some of the burdens a society faces, such as hunger, clothing needs, housing needs and overall spiritual counseling. Without the religious frameworks that guide these actions, many people may not feel morally obligated to address societal problems, making religion important to society and its people.
Religion Creates a Sense of Community Some people join a religion in order to feel included in a smaller subsection of a larger society. It's not uncommon for Buddhists, Muslims or Christians to create their own fellowships for believers. This sense of community helps society because it helps its people to have a sense of belonging and to make sense of things when worldly events become dramatic. Some of the rituals associated with a certain religion appeal to people and help them feel closer to their god while others avoid the dictated rituals and choose to identify as a member of a religion without observing much or any of the traditions.
Religion Strengthens the Family Unit Religion provides moral guidelines for marriage and family that religious believers credit to being able to sustain marriage and maintain the family. Most religions lay out ideals for marriage, including beliefs against divorce and adultery and responsibilities for the man and woman. Families are an integral part of a society, with families being an important part of reproduction, which helps to sustain specific cultures and races within a society. When families break down society as a whole feels the ramifications of broken families including the need for more social welfare programs to help single mothers and educational alternatives for children from lower-income households, often run by a single parent. Families who use their religion as a framework for how the family should function often contribute their religious beliefs to a solid marriage and family structure.
Protects Freedoms Religion and religious-based institutions help to shape the framework of society and helps to protect the right to religious freedom. Not all society's offer religious freedom, with some countries demanding the practice of one religion and others going to war to create a religious dominance. However, for American society and other societies that allow religious freedom, the ability to practice a religion when and where someone likes helps to protect other freedoms, such as speech and expression. If a society tries to limit freedom of religion, it will also likely try to limit other freedoms. That's why freedom of religion is so important to a society's governmental framework.