Religion is a set of organized beliefs. These beliefs are directed toward significant goals. The goal may be to achieve a sacred destination or to live a spiritually healthy life. However, many people have a hard time understanding God or how to deal with life’s inner conflicts.
Those who are religious overwhelmingly agree that religion gives them meaning. They also say that religion gives them moral guidance.
A growing body of research links spirituality to decreased health and distress. It has also been shown to give people a sense of purpose. People who attend religious services every week have longer lives than non-religious people.
Many Europeans have ambivalent views of religion. Some believe in the existence of a soul and other higher powers, but others do not. Others say that religion does not have a positive effect on their lives. This divide is also evident in other countries.
While the general trend in Western Europe is towards a more positive view of religion, attitudes are not uniform. In Germany, Norway, Spain and Italy, for example, more than half of adults think religion does harm to society. Conversely, in Portugal and Ireland, a majority of adults have a positive view of religion.
In Sweden, more than one-third of adults have negative attitudes towards religion. On the other hand, in Italy and Portugal, more than half of adults think that religion provides meaning.
The survey was conducted with a sample of U.S. adults, including 1281 web-based surveys. The sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.