Religion and Spirituality
Historically, religion was a major social institution that provided a foundation for action. Before colonization, traditional religion was the most powerful element in society. Its purpose was to help people find meaning and purpose in their lives. Its purpose has continued to exist in some African countries.
Today, religion can include beliefs, morals, and organizations. It can also include texts, sanctified places, prophecies, and worldviews. It can be defined as a “social-cultural system” that includes the ways a person thinks about and behaves.
Some people may consider themselves spiritual but not religious. Some of these people are more likely to agree with negative statements about religion. Others are ambivalent about their religion.
In Europe, most adults express positive views of religion. However, some people believe that religion is damaging to the world. In Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, more than half of adults say that religion causes harm.
In Western Europe, however, views are mixed. In Italy and Austria, more than half of adults disagree with negative statements about religion. In Ireland, however, opinions are more positive. In Portugal, more than one in three adults disagree with negative statements about religion.
While religion provides social support, it also provides incentives to lead a healthy lifestyle. Most hospitalized patients use religion to deal with illness. It also helps them choose between right and wrong.
Although religion has been viewed negatively by many psychologists, it remains an important part of society. Its primary function is to facilitate communication with a Higher Power.