Different religions practice distinct religious behaviors. For instance, individuals can be required toconform to painful rituals, such as being forced to lie emotionless while being bitten, or having their heads shaved or subjected to other forms of surgical alterations. These behaviors tend to appear peculiar to other people who do not belong to same societies. In this aspect, understanding human behavior is not easy, as they are rational beings, and thus, do not have to spend much of their time in such painful and uncomfortable occasions.
Behavioral ecologists have begun to explore these religious practices in order to understand them better. New anthropology generation has started to provide explanations concerning the origin of rituals. Anthropologists have discovered that, those who are involved in ritual requirements imposed by particular religious groups are believed to trust doctrines of their relevant religious communities.
Members of any ritual group are believed to benefit from their commitment to those groups. For instance, committed members are given priorities to lead ritual prayers in public gatherings, and they are also expected to achieve their social goals easily.
Some religious rituals are perceived as successful, as they restrain economic productivity. For instance, Jewish laws do not allow milking of cows on Sabbath among Jews.Although theserestrictions are detrimental to economic productivity, ritual signaling theory states that, they are key to economic success of some religions such as kibbutzim.
As much as religion has served as a unifying factor among its practitioners, there is a dark side of this union. This implies that, if religion has served as intra-group solidarity, it has also led to intergroup conflicts.