Historically, religions have served a variety of purposes. They helped unite people and give them a sense of certainty in uncertain times. They also facilitated spirituality and served as a tool to facilitate communication with a Higher Power.
Today, religions are based on the lives of historical figures, as well as on written scriptures. They also often incorporate rituals, doctrines, and creeds. These elements help to give religion its unique character.
Religious features are also reflected in politics and culture. Some religions contain an undercurrent of fear and condemnation. Others are dedicated to preserving the essence of their teachings.
In some countries, such as Norway and Sweden, more than half of the adults are unhappy with religion. In Denmark, nearly one-third of the adults believe that religion causes harm.
In countries like Italy, Austria, and Portugal, more than half of the adults are positive about religion. More than a quarter of respondents in Italy, Austria, and Portugal say that religion gives them meaning and purpose in life.
Religiously unaffiliated Europeans, on the other hand, tend to have negative views of religion. They are more likely to say that they do not believe in a higher power. They also tend to be less likely to claim that they have a soul or to agree that religion does more harm than good.
There are also differences in the attitudes of adults between college-educated respondents and those with less education. Adults with less education tend to have more positive attitudes towards religion.