Often rooted in rituals, creeds, and doctrines, religions have been a strong imprint on the culture. They help individuals connect with others and provide a structure and sense of identity for the community.
Religions also give members moral authority to guide their behavior. They often rely on rigid interpretations of key teachings. This can justify exclusion of minorities from the community. It can also create an exclusive worldview.
Attitudes towards religion vary significantly among Europeans. While a majority of Europeans have positive views of religion, there is considerable disagreement over whether religion does more harm than good. In Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, nearly half of adults say religion causes harm.
In Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, a solid majority of adults hold positive views of religion. In Portugal, more than half of adults say religion helps them decide right from wrong. In Italy, roughly half of adults think that religion provides them with a purpose.
Across Europe, religiously unaffiliated Europeans generally have more negative views of religion. While a majority of Europeans who consider themselves neither religious nor spiritual agree that there are no spiritual forces in the universe, they are less likely to say that they have a soul.
Religions are often based on the lives of historical figures. These figures are worshiped and their teachings are recorded in scriptures. They have also been transmitted through oral tradition.
Religions are usually associated with rituals, feasts, and pilgrimages. They are also used to celebrate holy days and marriage ceremonies. They are also seen in burial practices.