Across the world, people have diverse views on religion. There are those who claim that religion does not have a positive influence on society, and those who see it as a force that is more damaging than good. Despite this polarization, religion can still be a source of social support and a source of incentives for a healthy lifestyle.
Most respondents in Western Europe are divided on the impact of religion. One third say it has a positive effect on society, while another third claim that it does not have a positive influence on society. The difference is more pronounced in the Scandinavian countries. In Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, more than half of adults believe that religion has a negative impact on society. In Italy, more than half of adults say religion has a positive effect on society. In Portugal, more than half of adults agree that religion helps them to discern right from wrong.
Europeans who describe themselves as neither religious nor spiritual are less likely to say that they have a soul. They are also more likely to say that there are no spiritual forces in the universe. These views are similar to the view held by those who identify as Christians.
Those who are religious overwhelmingly agree that religion gives them a sense of purpose. Some believe that the Bible is the word of God, and many others believe that religion is a way to connect with a higher power.