Religion is generally based on the belief that there is a deity. It can also be based on the beliefs and practices of an institution or group. However, religion differs from spirituality in that it is often thought-based, whereas spirituality is more experiential.
Spirituality is often seen as a positive force. A large percentage of people are drawn to religion, as religion gives them meaning. But a smaller proportion of people believe that religion is a good thing. Those who practice religion say that religion helps them choose right from wrong.
People in Western Europe have mixed views on the effects of religion. The majority of adults in Italy, Portugal, and Spain hold positive views of religion. Yet, in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, more than half of the adult population says that religion causes harm. In Ireland, more than eight out of ten adults have positive views of religion.
Religion is a social-cultural system that has evolved over thousands of years. It is a group of beliefs, morals, texts, and organizations that are devoted to a belief system. Religious participation includes rituals, meditation, and collective prayer.
Many people who are ambivalent about religion do not participate in the rituals or ceremonies that are part of their religious tradition. Instead, they engage in the activity, such as reading the Bible, only on special occasions.
For instance, a church member might be afraid to tell other people about a bad relationship or abusive husband. Often, this fear of judgment is what makes suffering in a religious community worse.