Religion and Spirituality in Europe


In the broadest sense, religion is an organized system of beliefs relating to a divine principle, or a supreme being. These beliefs are often transmitted through oral tradition, and the practices of a religion are based on the teachings of these figures. Many people may regard themselves as religious or spiritual, and they may follow a particular religion.

However, the exact reasons behind why people follow religions aren’t understood completely. Many researchers suggest that parenting and cultural influences have a large role in a person’s religious beliefs. In general, people tend to adhere to the religion in which they were brought up. However, research shows that this doesn’t explain all of what drives people to follow religion.

In Europe, a substantial minority of adults consider themselves neither religious nor spiritual. In the European Union, a median of 53% of respondents place themselves in this category. In contrast, fewer than half of Europeans consider themselves both religious and spiritual. But those who do consider themselves spiritual are much more likely to follow a religion.

Attitudes towards religion vary greatly across Western Europe. In Portugal, over half of adults believe religion helps them distinguish right from wrong. In Italy, more than half of adults have positive attitudes toward religion. In Denmark and Norway, on the other hand, negative attitudes towards religion are a common phenomenon.

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