Across the globe, people are divided on whether religion has a positive or negative impact on their lives. Among those who identify as spiritual or religious, the majority is more likely to believe that religion is the best way to find meaning in life.
However, religion is more complex than just belief. It involves faith and ethics, as well as organizations, texts, and designated behaviors. It also includes worldviews and sanctified places. Some of these features are found in organized religions, as well as in spiritual systems.
While some Europeans may hold that religion is the best way to find meaning, others argue that it is a waste of time. Those who consider themselves neither religious nor spiritual are more likely to say that religion is useless.
A survey of adults in Western Europe measured their attitudes toward religion. The results showed that, on average, people in eight countries have positive views of religion. Those in Ireland and Portugal were the most likely to have positive views. In Italy, Belgium, Sweden, and Norway, the majority of respondents have positive attitudes. The surveys also showed that women are more likely than men to have positive views of religion.
The survey also revealed that people with less education are more likely to have positive views of religion. These are notably higher than those with more education. Similarly, people under 35 have better attitudes toward religion than those over 35.
The survey also discovered that Europeans who do not affiliate with a religion tend to have more positive views. More than six in ten of these non-religious adults believe that religion has a positive effect on the world.