Critics of religion often point to the abuse, hypocrisy, and extremism that afflict some religions. Large-scale acts of terrorism, such as bombings and racist rallies, have given religion a bad name. However, small-scale acts of secret terrorism are also a source of criticism, including spousal abuse, threats against children, and improper interpretations of sacred texts. In addition, many lay and professional preachers live sordid lives behind closed doors.
Spirituality can be a valuable part of people’s lives, and it can also help them cope with serious medical conditions. In fact, a growing number of studies have explored the relationship between spirituality and physical illness. In particular, spirituality can help HIV/AIDS patients cope with their disease. Having a high level of spirituality is also associated with fewer mental health problems.
There are many differences between religion and spirituality, but in general, these two concepts are closely related. While spirituality is a personal pursuit of meaning, religion is an organized set of beliefs and rituals centered on a higher power. Some people associate religion with organized religion, while others are atheists or yoga practitioners.
Historically, religions have been based on the lives or teachings of archetypal figures. The details of these figures have been preserved in written scriptures and oral tradition. People often worship these historical figures or follow their own spiritual practices.