Religious belief has long had a place in human culture. Many people practice religion as a way to achieve certain life goals, such as the attainment of spirituality. Religion is a complex phenomenon that occurs within a context of established traditions and institutions. The spiritual character of these institutions is one of their most distinctive features. Few other social institutions focus on spirituality as a central goal.
Religious beliefs are based on the teachings or lives of archetypal figures, and they form the foundation of religious practices within a society. People who consider themselves religious or spiritual may be in no way affiliated with any particular faith, but they do share some aspects of common beliefs and practices. There are many different types of religions.
While both religion and spirituality are forms of worship, spirituality is more personal. Many spiritual practices do not include organized doctrines, rituals, or clergy. As such, the boundaries between religion and spirituality are blurred. The two are, however, points on a continuum of belief systems. Therefore, it is possible to practice both.
Overall, Europeans hold mixed attitudes toward religion. While the majority of people in Portugal and Scandinavia have positive attitudes toward religion, a significant minority of people in Italy, Austria, and Ireland have negative attitudes.