The results of a recent survey of Western Europeans’ views on religion show that these citizens’ opinions of religion and spirituality are mixed. The survey used multiple questions relating to the impact of religion, and the results showed that people disagreed on whether religion has a positive or negative impact on society. While public opinion in Scandinavia and the Netherlands is negative toward religion, respondents in Austria, Portugal, and Italy have positive attitudes toward religion.
Spirituality, in contrast, tends to be more personal, incorporating fewer public rituals and doctrines. While the distinction between spirituality and religion is not always clear, they are points on a continuum of belief systems. Spirituality is often associated with the human spirit. Its main characteristics include personal and communal worship, and the practice of meditation.
While many shamans reject the concept of religion, others find it useful to define boundaries between different spiritual practices. Shamans often combine practices and beliefs from many different religions. This allows them to have different experiences and gain more understanding of their world and themselves. The benefits of this approach are numerous. They can help people find the spiritual practices that best suit them.
However, religions can also be a source of fear. The concepts of original sin, divine judgement, and divine wrath, and eternal punishment can foster a feeling of uncertainty and worry.