Religion and Spirituality in the European Union
Across the European Union, attitudes towards religion and spirituality are on the whole more positive than negative. In eight countries, a majority of adults say that religion has a positive influence on their life. In four countries, attitudes are more mixed. In three countries, however, a majority of respondents say that religion does not influence their life.
In general, religion has strong connotations of tradition and structure. It is estimated that nearly half of the population is religious, and an even greater number describes themselves as both religious and spiritual. The remaining population identifies as non-religious but spiritual. However, the term “spiritual but not religious” is used to describe a broad range of opinions.
Religions have strong cultural impact and have influenced art, culture, politics, and literature. Religions have shaped the way people dress, eat, and worship. These customs are often visible in marriage ceremonies, holy days, and rituals, such as pilgrimages and funeral rites. People often adhere to religion because they feel it gives them faith.
While religion and spirituality are often mutually inseparable, spirituality is based on a connection with yourself and with life. Spiritual people believe in the existence of a soul separate from their body, while religious people believe in a higher power. For them, ‘God’ is not an outside force.