Throughout the last century, studies have attempted to define and distinguish religion and spirituality. This has led to a variety of perspectives on these topics. Typically, researchers have taken one or the other as a focal point for their research. Until now, convincing cross-religion studies have not been conducted.
Religion and spirituality are similar in several ways. For example, religion and spirituality are both directed toward a sacred destination. However, they differ in terms of function. In religion, the goal is to unite people and to enhance spirituality. In spirituality, the goal is to achieve psychological, physical, and social goals.
Historically, religion has been defined as a set of belief systems, linked to tradition and institutions. Religion informs many aspects of life, including health, marriage, and death. Those who follow the same religion will base their values on a common set of beliefs. It is important to note that religion and spirituality can have different effects on people with different mental health challenges.
In Europe, a small minority of people believe in a soul or have a higher power. Europeans who consider themselves neither religious nor spiritual disagree with this view. They are more likely to say they do not believe in a higher power, and they are less likely to believe that God is everywhere. They also disagree with the idea that religion does more harm than good.
In Europe, people who consider themselves neither religious nor spiritual disagree with a wide variety of religion’s influence on society. For example, they are less likely to say that religion helps them choose the right and wrong. In countries like Ireland, Austria, and Italy, half of the public embraces spiritual beliefs. However, people in countries like Sweden and Belgium are less likely to affirm these views.