Religious life provides the resource and inspiration for many of humanity’s most enduring and timelessly moving creations, including art and architecture, music, dance, drama, poetry, agriculture, and even explorations of the cosmos that issued eventually as natural science. Religions also play a critical role in human societies and are often the source of the most intense, comprehensive, and powerful forms of valuation that humanity has experienced, whether in the form of belief in eternal punishment or salvation, or in the search for truth that is believed to be revealed by a god, such as in Buddhism developed by Siddartha Gautama (c. 563-483 bce).
One theory of the origins of religion is that it was a response to an evolutionary need. For example, anthropologists who believe that humans are social animals have suggested that religion evolved as a way to help people cope with the reality that death is inevitable. It may also have been a way to help humans control their behavior and deal with the inescapable problems of living in a society.
It is difficult to agree on a definition of Religion, partly because of the broad range of activities and beliefs that can be described in this term. There is, however, agreement that the word has its roots in religio, and that it refers to a system of values or principles that guide one’s behavior. The term is also commonly used to describe a faith or belief system that binds its followers to certain moral or ethical standards, such as the Baha’i Faith.