In many Western countries across the world, traditional religion have become a lot less prevalent than they were in the past. This is especially true among younger generations, with many young people scornful of what they perceive to be old-fashioned beliefs which are no longer relevant to their lives. Amid the general disdain for religion, however, it is easy to overlook the positive teachings that form the basis of many of the world’s religions. Read on for some of the most important positive teaching of religion that are good to practice even if we do not believe in a god or gods.

1. Live in the Present

Much of what we now know as “mindfulness” has its roots in the teachings of Buddha. Buddhism places heavy emphasis on achieving inner peace through meditative techniques and sharpening our awareness of our inner thought processes. These teachings are the perfect antidote to the hyper-fast society we live in today.

2. Do Unto Others…

Common across all the major religions is the assertion that you should treat others in the way that you would want to be treated in return. While it might sound like a simple rule for a society to get along peacefully, many people today could still benefit from making sure that they are living their life in a way that abides by such a noble principle.

3. Honesty

The importance of being honest and trues is a central tenet of many religions. The Bible states one of God’s commandments as such: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour,” while the virtue is also lauded in the Koran as well as in many other religious texts. In the age of fake news and lying politicians, nothing could be more relevant.

4. Forgiveness

Most religions include teachings on the importance of forgiving those who have done us wrong. Forgiveness is an art, and religion teaches that it is not something that only benefits those on the receiving end but also the forgiver themselves.

5. Know Yourself

The value of reflection and self-knowledge in making decisions is proclaimed widely across all religions. Many religious scholars down the years, such as John Calvin, have stated that it is first necessary to know oneself before you are able to know God. This seems to be good advice for those of us that feel overwhelmed by societal pressures that aim to dictate the way we think and feel.

6. Helping Those in Need

Teachings declaring the importance of caring for those who are needier than you can be found in the religious scriptures of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and Hinduism. If you look across today’s world of internet trolls and online abuse, it is quite clear a little more compassion for our fellow man is sorely needed in today’s society.

Religion has played a massive part in the development of modern culture and society. Although we might not be aware of it, it has left an indelible mark on how we think, act and even speak. And even if you do not believe in a god per se, there is still a lot that we can take from religious doctrine when it comes to moral and ethical reasoning.