There are several functions of religion, and many aspects of human society are influenced by variation in religion. For example, variation in religion can explain differences in social structure, craft specialization, political hierarchy, and kin-based communities. In addition, religious beliefs are often associated with material objects, such as buildings, which archaeologists use to learn about past societies.
Animism is a belief that objects possess a spiritual essence. It views all objects and living things as having life. This form of religious belief is popular among many people today, and is gaining popularity around the world.
The early Christians were a diverse group of people, united in their devotion to their faith tradition. They rejected other gods and ways of salvation, and were concerned about the possibility of others deviating from their essential faith.
The word Islam is derived from the Arabic word “islam,” meaning “submission.” While other religions are named after a person or event, like Jesus Christ or Judaism, Islam’s name is derived from the action of submission to God. Although Muhammad is the most famous Prophet, Islam was practiced before him. The Prophets before him all preached a similar message: submission to God. This message, which started with Adam and lasted until today, has shaped the way Muslims live their lives.
Judaism is a religious tradition with a long and varied history. It originated in Palestine and the land of Israel and has a large and diverse population that stretches throughout the world. The religion has been shaped by the voluntary migrations of Jews and by forced exiles and expulsions. As of the early 1990s, there were about twelve million Jews worldwide. Of these, 5.5 million were Jews living in the United States. Nearly a million lived in the Soviet Union and the rest of Europe, but most were located in France and Great Britain.
Many aspects of Hinduism are based on their belief in caste. This system defines class and nature within a society. Hindus believe that there are four distinct castes, based on occupation and caste.
Buddhism is a religion that emphasizes the interconnectedness of the universe and individual existence. It believes that life is infinite and that each individual will reincarnate numerous times. It also believes that we are all destined to suffer.