The Most Important Statements About Religion and Spirituality in Europe
Whether you are religious or not, your beliefs are a reflection of your culture. Religions provide a sense of purpose, a moral code and a coherent belief system, and they can also serve as a source of social support. In many cases, members of a religion follow strict rules and rituals that are mandated by a supernatural being. Religions also offer rewards for following the rules.
According to survey results, a large percentage of adults have positive views of religion, while others have ambivalent or negative views. In fact, religious groups are disproportionately represented in society. In contrast, religiously unaffiliated Europeans have a more positive view of religion, and are less likely to believe that religion does more harm than good. Similarly, people with less education are more likely to hold positive views of religion than college graduates. The survey was conducted with a representative sample of adults over 18.
The survey included 1281 web-based surveys of adults across the U.S., Canada and Europe. These surveys were administered in April and November 2016. Survey respondents were asked to rate statements about religion and spirituality. In addition, they were asked to provide a scale of positive to negative statements about religion. The survey was conducted at 95% confidence level, and the sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
When asked to rate the most important statement about religion, a majority of adults agreed that religion provides them with a clear moral code. They also agreed that religion provides them with a sense of purpose. But fewer adults agreed that religion gives them a reason to do good, or that religion helps them to choose between right and wrong.
In terms of the survey’s most important statement, more adults in Portugal agree that religion provides them with a sense of meaning than adults in Italy, Norway and Sweden. Likewise, adults in Ireland and Portugal are more likely to believe that religion gives them a reason to do right than adults in Belgium. In Austria, fewer adults agree that religion provides them with a reason to do right than adults in Denmark.
The survey also found that Europeans who consider themselves neither religious nor spiritual tend to agree that there are no spiritual forces in the universe. Similarly, Europeans who are religious tend to agree that religion does more good than harm. However, a substantial minority of Europeans consider themselves neither religious nor spiritual. The survey also found that Europeans who identify as Christians tend to embrace spiritual beliefs.
The survey also found that adults under 35 have positive views of religion, while adults with more education tend to have negative views. Among adults over 35, college graduates are more likely to hold negative views of religion than adults in the 18 to 35 age group. The survey also found that Europeans who consider their religions as being important to their lives tend to believe that religion gives them a sense of meaning.