Religion is a broad term that covers many types of beliefs and practices. It usually deals with a belief in a supernatural power and may have a message that teaches about morality, the nature of life, death and the afterlife, and the relationship between humans and a divine being or powers. Religions typically have specific rites and rituals, sacred books, a clergy or priesthood that manages the religion, and places, symbols, and days that are important to them. Most religions have some sort of salvation message, whether in a literal sense like going to heaven after death as with Christianity or more symbolically as reaching an end to suffering such as with Buddhism.
A number of different theories attempt to explain the origin and development of religions. Some, such as evolutionists, see religion as an outgrowth of the normal subconscious intuitive mental faculties that are part of the human brain. They help us recognize patterns in the world around us, link events without explanation (e.g., a rustling sound in tall grass as being the possible presence of a predator), and form social relationships.
Regardless of the theories used to explain religion, there are two philosophical issues that arise for this broad class of cultural phenomena. One is that the vast range of practice that now is said to belong to this category raises doubts about the ability to treat it as a social taxon with necessary and sufficient properties.