A religion is an organized belief system that offers individuals moral guidance and a sense of purpose. It usually incorporates an organized doctrine and a variety of public rituals and ceremonies. Many religious traditions also rely on the insights of mystics to guide its members.
Religion is often deeply rooted in history and the lives of historical figures. The details of the lives of these figures are passed on through written scriptures. These documents provide the foundation for the practices and beliefs of a community.
Research shows that people have both positive and negative views of religion. Most respondents who identify as religious express positive attitudes about religion. They feel that it provides them with a sense of purpose, gives them moral guidance, and helps them to discern right from wrong. Those who aren’t religious have negative views of religion.
Western Europeans have mixed views on religion. Denmark and Sweden have negative attitudes, while Norway and Italy have positive views. Similarly, Ireland has more positive views than negative views.
Generally, religion and spirituality are seen as two points on the same spectrum of belief systems. However, the terms are not always clearly defined. Often, a person can be neither religious nor spiritual. Rather, he or she may be bothered by an internal struggle over belief or faith.
Many people do not believe in a spiritual force in the universe. But the majority of those who do consider themselves neither religious nor spiritual agree that there is no such thing as a soul.