To attempt one's own definition of religion, I feel one must first explore its origins, characteristics, function and practices, including the etymology of the word.
The etymology of the word "religion" has been under scrutiny for many years. The word is believed, by some, to have come from the Latin religio, meaning "reverence (for the gods)" or "conscientiousness" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion). Others believe that it comes from Latin word religare, which means "to tie, to bind." (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Religion) Both meanings show the power that the word religion could have on individuals and communities.
Since the beginning of recordable time the human race has sought some form of solace from a belief in something or someone, their feelings and thoughts were shown by their actions. These actions could be categorised as a form of 'worship' meaning to 'pay reverent honour and homage to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred'.
Even before the written record, it appears that people worshiped natural elements such as the sun, wind, moon and sea regarding them as sacred. Evidence of this is in the form of the stone monoliths, such as Stonehenge. This form of 'religion' could be defined as both substantive and functional, as its followers have common beliefs where they follow rituals, these beliefs and rituals allow the community to bond, and to have feelings of peace and comfort.
As the human race evolved people began to worship images of God's rather than the natural elements of the earth. The ancient Greeks worshiped many God's, these were functional God's who would assist the Greeks with their wants and desires, a God for war, love, and various others to aid them with everyday life. Many communities today still worship more than one deity/image of God, for example Hinduism, although this particular...