It involves caring about things that are essential in our lives. As this may include respect for life and all that enables it, and concern with values, purpose, and meaning, being religious can include:
Appreciation of the wonders of our lives and our world
A sense of humility
A sense of responsibility (to try to act in ways that will contribute to what is seen as good)
Being religious can also include practices – as ways of re-orienting the mind and putting values into action. A focus in this can be transformation, as religious orientation may highlight ideals and offer a path that can be followed to improve well-being of ourselves, our social groups, and the world.
People vary in the extent to which they see themselves as “religious”. (They may also vary in their attitudes toward non-traditional use of this term, as some see it bound to established religions.) But, whether they consider themselves to be religious or not, each person, at times, considers religious questions. Each forms a view of how things are and what may be possible or not, and a sense of what is important, right, and good. If they consider the order and beauty and unanswered questions about the world, they may encounter a sense of mystery and form ways of dealing with the unknown. And, as they stand with others to mark life events (the birth of a child, a wedding, or a funeral), they may acknowledge some things as deeply important, or “sacred”. With these types of responses or feelings, and as they act in accordance with their beliefs, each person can be seen as having their own spiritual sense, or their own personal approach to religion.
Some terms related to religiosity
Loyal Rue’s model of religion
Neuroscience and religous faith (ISSR)
Were Neanderthals religious?
Do primates sense the spiritual? – interview with Jane Goodall
Additional reading – perspectives on religion