Religion and Spirituality
Religion is a social organization with a set of beliefs and practices. The leaders of a religion carry out rituals relating to their core beliefs, which form the foundation of how the religious community should live their lives. Religion also serves as a support system for people, creating practical implications for everyday behavior. For example, the members of a religious community often follow a distinctive dress code and moral code, and they may even undertake pilgrimages.
A majority of people who identify as “spiritual, but not religious” hold ambivalent views about religion. However, this group of people differs from other religious groups in some ways. For instance, 98% of practicing Christians disagree with 98% of evangelicals, while 85% of non-Christians disagree with 85% of evangelicals. However, this level of ambivalence is not the same as claiming harm from institutions, as is common with the broader cultural resistance to religion.
People who practice spirituality, on the other hand, learn about their beliefs from their own experiences. Their own experiences and personal trials have taught them the truths of their religion. Their understanding is not stifled by the rules or beliefs of other people. While religious people learn about their beliefs from the founders of their faith, they also learn from parables and other material.
While people in Western Europe hold varying opinions about religion, the majority of Europeans hold a positive attitude toward it. In fact, the positive views of religion are expressed by women and people who are under 35. Meanwhile, those with negative views of religion tend to be older people who have higher education.