Cultural Imprints of Religion and Spirituality


Throughout history, religions have made strong imprints on culture. They provide the basis for many pieces of art, literature, and rituals. However, attitudes toward religion vary widely from society to society.

In general, people who identify as religious believe in a higher power. These beliefs are often based on traditional religious teachings or the lives of archetypal figures. They include the concepts of divine retribution, original sin, and divine judgement. These concepts create a mental environment of fear and worry.

In contrast, spirituality is a way of living that emphasizes gratitude and a deep connection to others. These beliefs are often attached to traditional religions, but they are not exclusive to them. It also leans on direct experience of the soul.

Organized religions are rule-based, structured, and include specific codes. These religious institutions conservatively guard their practices, which they claim are founded on the founder’s teachings. The institutions have sought to restrict mystics’ influence.

A large majority of adults in eight countries express positive views of religion. In Portugal, Italy, Ireland, and Austria, nearly half of adults say that religion gives them a sense of purpose and provides meaning to their lives. But, in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, a substantial share of adults say that religion causes harm.

Religions often have centuries-old histories and deep roots in doctrine and tradition. They also teach the concepts of surrender and faith. Unlike spirituality, religion is more rooted in the cultural and social ties of a community.

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