Religion consists of people’s relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, absolute, spiritual, divine, or worthy of especial reverence. In more supernaturalist forms of religion, these concerns are often expressed in terms of relationships to gods or spirits; in less supernaturalist and more humanistic forms, they are more likely to be expressed in terms of relations to the natural world and the broader human community. Religious traditions typically include beliefs, practices, texts, and ceremonies that believers deem to have scriptural status, and people are deemed to be invested with spiritual or moral authority.
A variety of social sciences and humanities fields address the study of Religion. Psychological approaches tend to focus on the analysis of the psychological processes that underlie religious thoughts and beliefs. These approaches include work by Sigmund Freud (Oedipus Complex, Illusion), Carl Jung (Universal Archetypes), Erich Fromm (Need for Stability Frame), William James (Personal religious experiences, Pragmatism), and Gordon Allport (Mature religion, Immature Religion).
Sociological approaches to Religion examine how the development of religions has been affected by various cultural forces. These approaches have been successful at analyzing the reasons why certain religions survive and grow while others collapse or disappear.
Some scholars have criticized the continued influence of Religion in the modern world, arguing that religious faiths are irrational and harmful to society. These critics draw on the work of Sigmund Freud and other psychologists to characterize religious beliefs as pathological, encouraging irrational thoughts and ritualistic behavior.