Religion is a social system in which believers follow a specific set of beliefs. The members of a religion follow a strict code of conduct and dress, and the leaders of the organization conduct rituals related to the core beliefs. These rituals set the foundation for how one should live. In addition, religions provide members with practical implications for everyday behavior.
While some people associate religion with negative qualities, many of these characteristics are not characteristic of all religions. There are many different forms of religion, including Buddhism, Taoism, and Judaism. Many traditional religions have attached a spiritual component, which attempts to soften the edges of their practices. However, there is little similarity between Jewish and Christian spirituality, for example.
While many similarities exist between religion and spirituality, they differ in function and context. The former is directed toward significant goals, whereas the latter emphasizes an individual’s soul and individuality. The latter focuses on a search for a sacred destination and is therefore more personal and private. By contrast, spirituality aims to find a personal connection with God.
While the general population does not define itself as religious, people do believe in a supernatural power. People may also engage in spiritual practices, such as prayer, but may reject the term because of its association with tradition and structure. Despite this, nearly half of the population considers themselves both religious and non-religious. The latter group is primarily made up of Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers.