Religion is a social construct in which members of a group agree on a core set of beliefs and perform rituals to affirm those beliefs. These rituals establish the foundation for how a person should live his or her life. In addition, religion acts as a supportive social network and creates practical implications for everyday behaviors. For example, members of a religion often have distinctive dress codes and moral codes, and often adhere to rules dictated by a supernatural being.
In addition to rituals, religions involve certain books that provide moral authority, which differ from one religion to another. For example, Christians follow the Bible, while Muslims follow the Koran. According to the Bible, God is the ultimate moral authority. Religious participation includes collective prayer and individual meditation, moral conduct, and right belief. Participants in religion also observe rules governing their dress and health care.
Religions can be categorized according to their level of complexity. Some have a strict adherence to a specific belief system, while others are more tolerant of others. For some, religion is a source of inner peace, while others experience spirituality and find inner peace apart from religious despotism.
Despite its many benefits, however, religious participation can also have harmful effects. For example, it can create a mental environment characterized by fear. Concepts such as original sin, divine judgement, and eternal punishment can create a feeling of anxiety.