Religion and Spirituality
Religion is a social-cultural system of beliefs, ethics, and organizations that governs people’s actions. It also has specific practices, morals, texts, and sanctified places.
Religious institutions often have strict rules regarding dress and conduct. Some religious practices include rituals and collective prayer. The leaders of these institutions carry out rituals based on the core beliefs of the religious group.
These rituals are rooted in centuries-old traditions, teachings, and lives of archetypal figures. These are often transmitted through oral tradition.
Many of these institutions are conservative in their attitudes, guarding their practices and original interpretations of their founders’ teachings. But these institutions are not the only sources of harm. Some professional and lay preachers live sordid lives behind closed doors.
Large-scale acts of terrorism give religion a bad name. In addition to racist rallies and bombings, secret terrorism includes spousal abuse and threats to non-compliant children.
Most Americans consider themselves either religious or spiritual. However, many hold ambivalent views about religion. Some see it as helpful, while others say it does more harm than good.
The survey asked subjects to rate statements about religion on a scale of negative to positive. The average number of adults who agree with the statement “religion is beneficial” is 46 percent. The average number of adults who disagree with the statement “religion is harmful” is 17%.
Religions usually provide a sense of purpose and meaning. Respondents are likely to say that religion gives them moral guidance, and that it helps them choose right over wrong.