Religion is a belief system that focuses on a god or a higher power. It lays down the principles of what a person should do and how they should live. It serves as a social structure for people to interact with each other and has practical implications in everyday life. For example, members of a religion follow certain dress codes, morals, and actions that are mandated by a supernatural being.
People in Western Europe have mixed views about religion and spirituality. In a survey, respondents were asked to rate various statements related to religion and spirituality. Their answers were combined to form a scale. The results show that people in Western Europe are divided about whether religion has positive or negative effects on society. While public opinion in Scandinavia is predominantly negative toward religion, respondents in Portugal, Italy, and Austria express positive attitudes toward religion.
It is important to differentiate between spirituality and religion. One should understand the differences between these two forms of belief systems and strive to provide spiritual care. For example, nurses should be able to identify the differences between religion and spirituality. Ultimately, nurses should be able to identify with their client’s beliefs and give them the spiritual care that they need.
While religious beliefs have contributed to the advancement of human rights, they are not the only cause of conflict. Religious differences have influenced political systems and cultural practices throughout history. As a result, there are many examples of religious intolerance in Western societies.