17 Things Every Religion Surprisingly Shares

People tend to focus on how their religion or spiritual belief is different from other people’s. However, at their core, all religions have these 17 basic things in common. Maybe it shows we aren’t all that different, after all.


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Britannica describes prayer as “an act of communication by humans with the sacred or holy—God, the gods, the transcendent realm, or supernatural powers. Found in all religions…” prayer is a universal aspect of religion, providing a way for believers to communicate with the divine, seek guidance, confess sins, or express devotion.

Belief in the Supernatural

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Most religions involve a belief in the supernatural realm, which may include gods, spirits, or other divine entities that influence the human world. This belief forms the foundation of religious practices and worldviews.

Sacred Texts

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Without something in writing, it can be challenging for followers to be on the same page about their beliefs. For this reason, religions typically have sacred texts that contain teachings, commandments, and narratives foundational to their beliefs. These texts guide followers in their faith and daily lives.


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The New York Times – Travel finds many rituals and symbols of all the world’s major religions on display in Southeast Asia, such as “images of Buddha, of Jesus, of Rama, and of the pantheon of Hindu and Chinese gods.” Rituals are a common feature in all religions, serving as a means of worship and a way to enact or reinforce the faith’s beliefs. These can include prayer, meditation, or specific rites of passage.

Moral Code

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Every religion provides a moral framework for its adherents, often derived from sacred texts or teachings of religious leaders. “Many Christians believe that the Ten Commandments were created to serve as a guide for how to live a good, Christian life. The Code of Hammurabi… is an ancient code that dates back to ancient Babylonia,” according to Study.com. This ethical code helps guide behavior and decision-making.

Places of Worship

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Religions often designate sacred spaces for communal worship and religious activities. These places, such as churches, mosques, temples, or synagogues, serve as focal points for the community. “As Pagans have no public buildings specifically set aside for worship, and most believe that religious ceremonies are best conducted out of doors, rituals often take place in woods or caves, on hilltops, or along the seashore,” according to the BBC.


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Crosses, crescents, or other iconography serve as tangible representations of a faith’s core beliefs and history, helping to unify and identify members of the religion. Each symbol has its own story, connecting mankind with the spiritual realm they believe in.

Festivals and Celebrations

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Religious calendars are marked by festivals and celebrations that honor sacred times, divine figures, or critical events in the religion’s history, fostering a sense of community and continuity.

Community and Fellowship

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Religions create communities of believers who gather to worship, celebrate, and support one another in faith. These communities often extend social and charitable outreach.

Dietary Laws

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Many religions have dietary laws that dictate what foods are permissible to eat. These laws are often rooted in scripture and can signify obedience to divine command.


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Religious leaders, such as priests, rabbis, imams, or monks, guide their communities in spiritual matters, lead worship services, and provide moral and religious education.

Creation Myths

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“Although almost every culture has a creation myth, most all are basically variations of the core theme of the creation story found in Genesis,” writes Cedarville University. These creation myths provide context for the religion’s worldview and human existence. The exceptions are Hindu and Buddhist philosophies, which teach that the universe was not created.


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Beliefs about the end of the world or the fate of souls after death are common in many religions, providing followers with an understanding of life’s ultimate purpose and the afterlife.


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Pilgrimage to sacred sites is a practice in many faiths. These journeys offer believers a path to greater spiritual fulfillment and connection to their faith.


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The concept of prophecy, where divine messages are communicated to prophets, is prevalent in many religions. These prophecies can guide or warn the community.

Chants and Music

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Religious practices often include chants, hymns, or other forms of music that enhance worship and reflect the cultural heritage of the faith.

Incense and Offerings

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“The use of incense in religious worship is found in Hinduism, Buddhism, ancient Judaism and some parts of Christianity,” states Redlands Daily Facts. Incense, candles, or offerings are common in religious rituals, symbolizing reverence, purification, or the presence of the divine. Though people may look down on animal sacrifice today, the holy will always require some kind of offering to satisfy or purify them before they can approach the state of purity that the divinity is in.

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