My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Why do people convert to religion?

Whatever the faith you follow, there is no denying that it can be the very foundation of your life. It influences the rhythms of the year, gives you a moral code, places you in a ready made community, and gives you hope for the future.

There are in fact more than 4300 religions in the world, and growing. Many religions consist of a number of different sects or denominations. Beyond this, about 16 per cent of the world is deemed as ‘non-religious’ – not believing in a higher being, or affiliated with any organised religion.

Religion is a matter of belief, and if you have grown up in a community which lives its life according to the beliefs of a certain belief system, then questioning that can create conflict and discord.

But generally, religion can be the glue that holds communities together and looks after the more vulnerable.

Here are other roles that religion can play in an individual’s life.

A Source of Comfort and Strength

Growing up with a structured framework can help an individual navigate the more troublesome periods of life. There can be no denying that life itself throws up many challenges – both expected and unexpected. Often these can derail even the strongest of people, and leave them questioning and vulnerable.

Whether it is the death of someone close, or a tragedy that has personally affected them, or simply a compounding of different things which have come together to weight heavily on their shoulders, we all need to turn somewhere to find help and support.

Many people turn to religion during these darkest days. It may be the routine and ritual that gives comfort and structure. It may be the words of wisdom and the answers that it gives. It might just be that opportunity for quiet contemplation. Whatever the reason, it is usually deeply personal.

Looking for the meaning in life

Who doesn’t want to know why we are here on this earth? There are questions that plague our intellect from an early age, and continue to plague us throughout life. Often, the more we think we know, the less we realise we know. Religious doctrines can give some sense of moving towards an answer – even if we never actually quite get to that answer!

Caring for our emotional and physical wellbeing

There are many studies that highlight how adhering to a religion can actually be beneficial to your physical and emotional wellbeing. Whether it is giving you a framework for forgiveness, or demonstrating how you can dig down into deeper depths of strength and resilience, then your religion certainly plays its part in helping you navigate life’s path.

Being part of a community

For millions of people around the world, their very family and community is based on often centuries long traditions steeped in their faith.

It influences the food they eat, the languages they speak, the books they read, the conversations they hold, the clothes they wear, the opinions they hold. It influences the way they get married, bring up their children, look after their elderly and bury their dead.

Religion shapes their very world with its celebrations and festivals, giving families and communities a framework and sense of purpose year after year.

And most importantly, it is that very community that is there to carry those who succumb to the challenges of life and find themselves struggling.

Belief in the afterlife

And finally, it is religion that gives us the answer regarding to what happens to us after death, which in itself helps to make life that much sweeter.