Among your social circle, community, or organization there may be only one religion represented or there may be many. Sometimes people choose their home according to the cultural landscape of the neighbourhood while others like to explore different belief systems and cultures. Whether you are a member of a religion or not, have you ever stopped to think about what religion is? It may help you to relate to others whose beliefs differ from yours.

At its most basic level, a religion is a set of beliefs. These beliefs tie the religion's members to certain ideas about how people should behave, what spiritual influences are acting on the world, and how humanity relates to this spiritual side of the universe. Religion is often used to give meaning to life and differs from simple belief in that many people in the world agree to share and live by the same system of beliefs and to affirm and promote it publicly.

There are many different religions on Earth. Some of the most popular include Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Shinto, Buddhism, and Hinduism, and each one has many different sects or denominations that mark the fault lines between different groups of followers on a particular subsidiary issue. For instance the Catholic Christians and the Mormon Christians may believe in the same deity, but have vastly different views on the concepts of the afterlife and marriage.

In many religions, children are born into their system of beliefs and indoctrinated with it from their infancy while other religions will only accept adults as full members, believing that each person must make his or her own choice. Some religions are very difficult to extricate yourself from once you have become involved, while others will let you come and go much more easily than you came.

In order to relate to a person of a different religion, you must first understand not only what they believe but also why they believe in it. It is perfectly acceptable to ask people questions about their religion like you would if a neighbor brought home a particularly complex problem, you should remain respectful. Religions are founded on faith, which means believing in something without evidence it is true or real, so it behooves you to remember that there is no way to tell whether your religion or theirs or one one's is correct in its view of the universe.

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