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Thread: New survey compares percentages of Christians and unaffiliated in Western Europe

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    Post New survey compares percentages of Christians and unaffiliated in Western Europe



    A new survey by the Pew Research Center analyses the percentages of practising and non-practising Christians and unaffiliated people across West European countries. Here are a few infographics to illustrate the findings.



    The Benelux and Nordic countries have the least practising Christians. But the Netherlands is the only country where the unaffiliated are more numerous than the Christians. I am surprised at the figures for the UK as a national survey in 2015 found that 49% of the population was unaffiliated. Northern Ireland being so staunchly Christian, the percentage of unaffiliated should be well over 50% for Britain alone. The Scots were found to be the least religious, with probably over 60% of unaffiliated.





    The map fails to show regional differences, which are huge in Germany. East Germans are the most atheistic population in Europe. This means that West Germans are probably closer to Austrians and Italians around 80% Christians, in sharp contrast to Scandinavia and the Benelux.

    Normally the Netherlands, Britain and East Germany all have less than 50% of Christians, while Belgium, Sweden and Norway come close to 50%.






    Church-going Christians are less socially liberal and more nationalistic, just like in the USA. It's just that the US has a much higher proportion of them. What is odd is that Christians and unaffiliated people alike in Western Europe are more likely to accept a Muslim than a Jew in their family. This is completely unexpected and disconcerting for me. Maybe the question was phrased to mean only devout Orthodox Jews. But even then, the counterpart would be radical Muslim, which isn't better in any way.





    Here we see that Scandinavians, Dutch and Belgians are the most likely to say that science makes religion unnecessary.





    Here we see that the Portuguese, Spaniards, French and Swedes are the most tolerant of Islam, while the Finns are by far the least.




    Interesting how church-going Christians in Finland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium (but not Denmark) are much more open to immigration than non-practising Christians. It's the opposite trend of other countries!

    Overall it is Italians, Belgians and Danes that most strongly wish for immigration to their country to be reduced.




    Christianity has been stable in most countries for the 12 years between the two surveys (2002-2014), but has decreased substantially in places like Finland (-28%), Ireland (-11%), Belgium (-13%) and Portugal (-12%). That's -1% per year in average for the last three countries, the same rate as observed in the USA. I am not sure why it is not decreasing in other countries as well. Especially when considering that most West Europeans were found to be gradually drifting away from religion.




    Some countries may just have experienced a delay in the decline of Christianity. For example, the Wikipedia page on Religion in Italy shows that according to a 2012 survey 83.3% of Italians considered themselves Christian. But the Italian version as a more recent survey (2017) revealing that this had dropped to only 60.1% 5 years later! That's a massive decrease! (23%, so nearly 5% less each year). Here we see that 73% of Italians called themselves Christians in 2012, so obviously the data varies between survey, probably depending on how the questions were asked.


    Here we eee the enormous religious gap between Europeans and Americans.








    Belgium has the highest percentage of Atheists, followed by Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Sweden. Once again, I am sure that it is higher in Britain than this survey suggests.




    I don't understand why unaffiliated people raised as Christians are more tolerant of Muslims. I was raised a Christian (Catholic) in a rather devout environment (my grandfather almost became a priest) but that has only had for effect to make me intolerant of all religious people (in proportion to their religiosity). If you have experienced the trauma of religious brainwashing and proselytism it is hard to hold positive views of religion. That's why I feel that it is far more logical and expected that anybody who has been raised Christian (or Muslim or Jewish) and got out of it because they rejected their irrational beliefs and inflexible mindset should become more intolerant of religion than people raised in a tolerant unaffiliated environment from the start.

    I am surprised that the survey did not include questions about accepting Christian neighbours, Christian immigrants and a practising Christian as a family member. For me there is no difference between a practising Christian or a practising Muslim. I won't accept either as a family member (this means I had to sever relations with some of my blood relatives). I would be welcoming of unaffiliated Arabs but not of practising Christians from my own ethnic group. I am ok with non-practising Christians though, because they usually share the same values as unaffiliated people (as shown by this survey).


    The survey runs for 7 pages. This is just the data from the first page. I won't analyse the other pages as I don't have time.
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    @Maciamo,

    "What is odd is that Christians and unaffiliated people alike in Western Europe are more likely to accept a Muslim than a Jew in their family. This is completely unexpected and disconcerting for me. Maybe the question was phrased to mean only devout Orthodox Jews. But even then, the counterpart would be radical Muslim, which isn't better in any way."
    Isn't it the opposite if 24% are not willing to accept Muslims in the family but only 17% are not willing to accept Jews?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Isn't it the opposite if 24% are not willing to accept Muslims in the family but only 17% are not willing to accept Jews?
    You are right. I misread in my haste (didn't see the 'not'). That makes more sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    You are right. I misread in my haste (didn't see the 'not'). That makes more sense.
    I still find the 17% pretty high, don't you think? I wonder if it varies by age and country? Of course, it's a non-issue in most cases, right? I mean, with how many Jews do most Europeans come in contact nowadays?

    As you also pointed out, it may have to do with whether the Jews with whom they come into contact are strictly observant.

    I would have had absolutely no problem marrying a Jewish man, seriously considered it once on one of my "breaks", but I don't know if I could ever love a man enough to convert to Orthodox Judaism. My parents would have objected to that, but not to my marrying a non-observant man. They objected to other groups far more strenuously.

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    no-religion or nothing in particular is the new norm in western society
    .
    in Australia this trend is now running second to christians
    It’s the first time in Australia’s history the number of people who claim “no religion” has overtaken Catholics.
    The latest Census ( 2016 ) drop showed those ticking “no religion” rose from 22.6 per cent to 29.6 per cent — nearly double the 16 per cent in 2001.
    Meanwhile, those identifying as Catholic dropped from 25.3 per cent to 22.6 per cent.
    The number of Christians in total still made up 51 per cent of the population, but this is much less than the 88 per cent in 1966 and 74 per cent in 1991.
    Islam (2.6 per cent) and Buddhism (2.4 per cent) were the next most common religions reported.

    no religion also has the indigenous "religion" of Dream-Time in which some non-indigenous ( aboriginals ) are leaning to.
    .
    Note.....Australia has no religion in their constituation
    có che un pòpoło no 'l defende pi ła só łéngua el xe prónto par èser s'ciavo

    when a people no longer dares to defend its language it is ripe for slavery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I still find the 17% pretty high, don't you think? I wonder if it varies by age and country? Of course, it's a non-issue in most cases, right? I mean, with how many Jews do most Europeans come in contact nowadays?

    As you also pointed out, it may have to do with whether the Jews with whom they come into contact are strictly observant
    I think that most Europeans have very little first-hand experience of meeting Jewish people. In Belgium the city with the highest Jewish population is Antwerp, but these are mostly Orthodox Jews, who are completely different from most American Jews. Since the majority of American Jews are unaffiliated or liberal Jews, I suppose that most respondents didn't think of them for the purpose of this survey as it is a survey about religious beliefs, not ethnicity.

    Here is a comparison of how Europeans view Jewish people.


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    Spain and Finland shocked me.

    I wouldn't think that Spain is that much less religious.

    and

    Finland this much low atheist

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    This is also interesting. Lots of Swedes and Finns see yoga as a spiritual practice. Nearly half of Spaniards and Portuguese meditate and over one third of them believe in astrology.




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    Nearly 1 in 5 people believe reincarnation. Woow

    And I felt close to Iberians about evil eye issue. How do they call it?

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Boreas View Post
    Nearly 1 in 5 people believe reincarnation. Woow

    And I felt close to Iberians about evil eye issue. How do they call it?
    In Spain they call it 'Mal de Ojo'

    This is what I noticed too, by the way. Here we call it 'kako mati' (lit. 'bad eye'), though sometimes just 'mati' ('eye')

    The word 'kakos' had multiple meanings already in Ancient Greek like:

    1. As a measure of quality: bad, worthless, useless
    2. As a measure of appearance: ugly, hideous
    3. Of circumstances: injurious, wretched, unhappy
    4. As a measure of character: low, mean, vile, evil



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    Is someone who goes to a church once a month really 'practicing'? Why the don't go every week? Do they follow the teachings of their religious group? Do they read their scriptures etc?

    Actually, practicing Christians are significantly less than what that study shows.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by A. Papadimitriou View Post
    Is someone who goes to a church once a month really 'practicing'? Why the don't go every week? Do they follow the teachings of their religious group? Do they read their scriptures etc?
    Actually, practicing Christians are significantly less than what that study shows.
    why does one need to go to a place of prayer to be noted as "practicing" .?
    .
    It would be logical that a practicing religious person would be able to pray anywhere ................so the term numbers of "practicing" people would always be 100% in error

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sile View Post
    why does one need to go to a place of prayer to be noted as "practicing" .?
    .
    It would be logical that a practicing religious person would be able to pray anywhere ................so the term numbers of "practicing" people would always be 100% in error
    Maybe, though that depends on the denomination. If a denomination X requires weekly church attendance, you can't be 'practicing X' without weekly church attendance.

    Either way, even some of those who do go to church regularly see it as a social event.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I think that most Europeans have very little first-hand experience of meeting Jewish people. In Belgium the city with the highest Jewish population is Antwerp, but these are mostly Orthodox Jews, who are completely different from most American Jews. Since the majority of American Jews are unaffiliated or liberal Jews, I suppose that most respondents didn't think of them for the purpose of this survey as it is a survey about religious beliefs, not ethnicity.

    Here is a comparison of how Europeans view Jewish people.

    It's just so different here. I bring my friends to visit my home town in the summer, or rather they come to see me there, and my family is always bemused that only a minority are of Italian descent. Of my closest friends: one Irish/English, two Jewish, two Italian, one German, one Greek.

    I think this is why I often have issues with the way certain Europeans see other groups, especially Jews.

    Perhaps the numbers for Spain are because they were under Franco for too long. (I mean in terms of belief and observance, not the Jews.)

    The funny thing is that people of Italian descent here are far more observant than Italians in Italy. They learned it from the Irish and the Protestants, I think. After going to Mass, my mother would constantly tell my father about all the lovely Irish families that went to church together. It never did any good. :)

    A lot of social life is based around religion even if they're "cafeteria" Christians, between Catholic Youth Organization sports, Catholic instruction classes, communions and confirmations, and the fact that a lot of people send their children to Catholic schools for the more rigorous, no nonsense instruction in the basics and for the discipline, so there's all the fund raising, fairs, carnivals, etc., while devout evangelicals build a huge percent of their social life around their church.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A. Papadimitriou View Post
    Is someone who goes to a church once a month really 'practicing'? Why the don't go every week? Do they follow the teachings of their religious group? Do they read their scriptures etc?

    Actually, practicing Christians are significantly less than what that study shows.

    I think once in a month is a good rate. Even think that Christians who attend church ceremonies just for Noel, baptism or death.

    Also, Thanks for the info about "evil eye"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    It's just so different here. I bring my friends to visit my home town in the summer, or rather they come to see me there, and my family is always bemused that only a minority are of Italian descent. Of my closest friends: one Irish/English, two Jewish, two Italian, one German, one Greek.
    What do you mean is so different? That Americans socialise more with people of different origins? If so, it may be true for ethnic origins, but most Americans meet mostly English-speaking people born and raised in the USA, so people from the same culture as themselves. For Europeans it depends a lot whether they come from the countryside or from big cities and whether they travel a lot. In small countries like Belgium we meet people from other countries all the time. Take the motorway (AmE: expressway or freeway) any time any where in Belgium and you will see as many foreign car plates as Belgian ones. In Brussels over one third of the population is non-Belgian, either expats (EU workers, NATO staff, diplomats, other expats) or recent immigrants. It's the same in London, Amsterdam, Swiss cities... For these multicultural city dwellers, I think there is no comparison with the US in the level of contact they have with people from different cultures, speaking different languages from theirs. That's probably why Europeans are more socially liberal and less religious, and those from multicultural cities in particular. I mean New York is a true melting pot too, but most New Yorkers today were born and raised in the USA, unlike a few generations ago, so it's ethnically mixed, but the actual linguistic and culturally diversity is not what it used to be. In places like London, Brussels or Amsterdam it still is.

    Then Europeans travel abroad all the time. Except for some particularly "homebody" elderly people I don't know anybody who hasn't travelled abroad at least once in the last few years. It just doesn't exist among young people. Likewise there is hardly anyone is the Benelux of Scandinavia who hasn't learned at least one or two foreign languages, and in average people have studied three to five (even if they aren't always fluent in all of them). Even other Europeans can speak at least one or two other languages besides their mother tongue, which is not the case for the majority of Americans (recent immigrants excluded, obviously).

    What I meant about the Jews is that contrarily to America there are very few ethnically Jewish people in most European countries, and except maybe in France and the Netherlands, which have sizeable Sephardic communities, the image that Europeans have of Jewish people is either the stereotyped Orthodox chap dressed in black with a hat, a beard and a long hair, or the completely different-looking Jewish actors and scientists that they have never met.

    Most French people don't even know that many of their politicians (Pierre Bérégovoy, Jacques Attali, Bernard Kouchner, Jack Lang, Laurent Fabius, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Nicolas Sarkozy, Pierre Moscovici), business people (André Citroën, Serge Dassault, Alain Afflelou) and celebrities (François Truffaut, René Goscinny, Serge Gainsbourg, Josiane Balasko, Joe Dassin, Michel Berger, Isabelle Adjani, Jean Reno, Michel Drucker, Richard Berry, Philippe Bouvard, Jean-Jacques Goldman, Patrick Bruel, Roman Polanski, Sonia Rykiel) are Jewish because they don't advertise it as freely as in the States. There is almost the same stigma as being gay. Some people (like Philippe Bouvard) only publicly announced that they were of (partial) Jewish descent late in their career.

    The funny thing is that people of Italian descent here are far more observant than Italians in Italy. They learned it from the Irish and the Protestants, I think. After going to Mass, my mother would constantly tell my father about all the lovely Irish families that went to church together. It never did any good. :)

    A lot of social life is based around religion even if they're "cafeteria" Christians, between Catholic Youth Organization sports, Catholic instruction classes, communions and confirmations, and the fact that a lot of people send their children to Catholic schools for the more rigorous, no nonsense instruction in the basics and for the discipline, so there's all the fund raising, fairs, carnivals, etc., while devout evangelicals build a huge percent of their social life around their church.
    Yes, it's undeniable that the USA is far more religious than Europe and that religious organisations and churches play a much greater role in the social life of Americans. The situation is pretty much reversed in Europe. Telling someone that an organisation, group or school is Catholic or Christian is more likely to bring about a sense of disapproval and rejection. Ask someone here if they want to accompany you to church on Sunday and they will think you are a lunatic! All religions now have the same cloud of suspicion as sects and cults for a majority of people. That is the reason why so many Europeans, even if they still believe in God, are reluctant to call themselves Christian or to be officially associated with a religious organisation. Younger generations see religion as evil on a par with Nazism and Communism (which are almost religions on their own, as they are intolerant organisations proselytising a dogma held by believers to be superior to all others).

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    Maciamo;545335]What do you mean is so different? That Americans socialise more with people of different origins? If so, it may be true for ethnic origins, but most Americans meet mostly English-speaking people born and raised in the USA, so people from the same culture as themselves. For Europeans it depends a lot whether they come from the countryside or from big cities and whether they travel a lot. In small countries like Belgium we meet people from other countries all the time. Take the motorway (AmE: expressway or freeway) any time any where in Belgium and you will see as many foreign car plates as Belgian ones. In Brussels over one third of the population is non-Belgian, either expats (EU workers, NATO staff, diplomats, other expats) or recent immigrants. It's the same in London, Amsterdam, Swiss cities... For these multicultural city dwellers, I think there is no comparison with the US in the level of contact they have with people from different cultures, speaking different languages from theirs. That's probably why Europeans are more socially liberal and less religious, and those from multicultural cities in particular. I mean New York is a true melting pot too, but most New Yorkers today were born and raised in the USA, unlike a few generations ago, so it's ethnically mixed, but the actual linguistic and culturally diversity is not what it used to be. In places like London, Brussels or Amsterdam it still is.

    Then Europeans travel abroad all the time. Except for some particularly "homebody" elderly people I don't know anybody who hasn't travelled abroad at least once in the last few years. It just doesn't exist among young people. Likewise there is hardly anyone is the Benelux of Scandinavia who hasn't learned at least one or two foreign languages, and in average people have studied three to five (even if they aren't always fluent in all of them). Even other Europeans can speak at least one or two other languages besides their mother tongue, which is not the case for the majority of Americans (recent immigrants excluded, obviously).
    That's just not the way it is here, Maciamo. We're no longer just a "European" country. (In some ways, certain European countries are not, either. I just think there's far more integration in the U.S. for most groups.) In 2015, forty-one million people in the U.S., 13% of the entire population, were native Spanish speakers. In certain states it’s much, much higher than that. In my own area, anywhere from 20-45% of people are native Spanish speakers. (If you take a look at the percentages in Texas, you'll know why George Bush spoke Spanish.:))



    In California and New Mexico, and other states with high percentages of native Spanish speakers, all official documents are published in both English and Spanish. Here in New York, on every official call I make, and even for commercial calls, before you even get to the menu there is an announcement, in Spanish, to press a certain number if you wish to continue in Spanish.

    Even if I want my house cleaned the way I like it, or want to give detailed instructions to the gardener, speaking some Spanish is extremely useful, because their English is very rudimentary, if they have any at all.

    Whole neighborhoods, some with tens of thousands of residents, are entirely “Spanish” in terms of the working language: signs on the stores, the language spoken in them, and on the streets, etc. Spanish language press and radio and television are ubiquitous, with numerous channels. I often listen to Spanish language radio because I really like a lot of the music, and I’ve even been known to stop and watch a telenovela for a few minutes when I’m surfing. :)

    We also have a lot of Asians, and more each year, and they often start out living in “ethnic” neighborhoods. I could take you to eat in Flushing, and in certain sections you’d think you were in Hong Kong or Korea. New York isn’t really unique in this way. To some extent it’s the same way in all the urban centers. With Spanish, it’s even true in very small towns.

    This presents a problem in the schools, of course. In New York City, 41% of the students come from homes where English is not spoken. Therefore, the New York City school system has to deal with a good number of “English learners”, or children who don’t speak English when they present at school.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Staten Island is a very heavily Italian-American community.


    Of those students, these are the languages of the students who present speaking no English. Obviously, those who speak other languages at home constitute a much larger percentage of the total: Spanish is the home language shared by 63.4% of our ELLs, Chinese (13.6%), Bengali (3.9%), Arabic (3.6%), Haitian Creole (2.5%), and Russian (2.1%) round out the remainder of the top languages spoken by ELLs."


    http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/...13_revised.pdf

    (“English learners” receive instruction in their own languages to the extent possible, and English is introduced gradually.)

    This is the "ethnic" break down in Flushing, where I go not infrequently. If you scroll down, you can see a chart of race and ethnicity by neighborhood for NYC.
    https://statisticalatlas.com/neighbo...-and-Ethnicity

    Some churches present a very similar picture. Yes, the Polish and Italian churches have closed, but many Catholic churches offer the liturgies in other languages, but particularly Spanish. One church not far from me offers services in Spanish, Haitian Creole French, Filipino, and also the original Italian of many of the older parishioners. It's like the U.N. in there. Koreans have opened a Korean Christian church, protestant, on the main drag a couple of blocks from me. A lot of Chinese parents send their children to Catholic schools for the discipline.


    I don’t need to travel to another country to hear another language spoken. I just go to another part of town. :) I can find every language spoken on earth here. Plus, language learning is primarily an intellectual exercise, and meeting waiters and hotel staff in a foreign country is not the same as growing up next door to these very different people, for eventually they do move out, as they become more successful.

    Integration does take place eventually, even if it doesn't happen for the first generation. A few Koreans, Chinese, and Indians have recently moved into my own community, most recently an Indian family right across the street. They speak their own language at home, cook their own cuisine, their home inside has quite a few “Indian” touches, but they are also integrating. She went all out for Halloween for her children this year, and even had a Santa on the lawn, which rather surprised me.:) (Unlike the East Asian parents, they also make a real effort to join community organizations like the School Association, and various popular charities.) Her children play happily with all the other children on the block. Although not that many Jews are living in our specific community, mostly ones in Christian-Jewish marriages, who all seem to go to the Unitarian Church, everyone has Jewish business associates and friends as well, and the children all socialize.

    It’s very difficult to continue to believe in all these stereotypes when you’ve lived with so many different people from such varied backgrounds. You learn that people are individuals and not all the members of a particular group are the same.


    What I meant about the Jews is that contrarily to America there are very few ethnically Jewish people in most European countries, and except maybe in France and the Netherlands, which have sizeable Sephardic communities, the image that Europeans have of Jewish people is either the stereotyped Orthodox chap dressed in black with a hat, a beard and a long hair, or the completely different-looking Jewish actors and scientists that they have never met.

    Most French people don't even know that many of their politicians (Pierre Bérégovoy, Jacques Attali, Bernard Kouchner, Jack Lang, Laurent Fabius, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Nicolas Sarkozy, Pierre Moscovici), business people (André Citroën, Serge Dassault, Alain Afflelou) and celebrities (François Truffaut, René Goscinny, Serge Gainsbourg, Josiane Balasko, Joe Dassin, Michel Berger, Isabelle Adjani, Jean Reno, Michel Drucker, Richard Berry, Philippe Bouvard, Jean-Jacques Goldman, Patrick Bruel, Roman Polanski, Sonia Rykiel) are Jewish because they don't advertise it as freely as in the States. There is almost the same stigma as being gay. Some people (like Philippe Bouvard) only publicly announced that they were of (partial) Jewish descent late in their career.
    That’s very surprising to hear, and very sad, that Jews in certain countries in Europe continue to have to hide their identity. If I were they I’d emigrate and take my skills and wealth with me. Who would want to live surrounded by such prejudice and provincialism? That’s especially true now that the Muslims, who hate them like poison, are such a large and growing presence in so many European countries.




    Yes, it's undeniable that the USA is far more religious than Europe and that religious organisations and churches play a much greater role in the social life of Americans. The situation is pretty much reversed in Europe. Telling someone that an organisation, group or school is Catholic or Christian is more likely to bring about a sense of disapproval and rejection. Ask someone here if they want to accompany you to church on Sunday and they will think you are a lunatic! All religions now have the same cloud of suspicion as sects and cults for a majority of people. That is the reason why so many Europeans, even if they still believe in God, are reluctant to call themselves Christian or to be officially associated with a religious organisation. Younger generations see religion as evil on a par with Nazism and Communism (which are almost religions on their own, as they are intolerant organisations proselytising a dogma held by believers to be superior to all others).
    As to this, odd then that majorities, and substantial majorities, in all European countries identify as Christian, and respectable percentages consider themselves practicing Christians. That’s major cognitive dissonance, in my book. The Benelux countries do seem to be different.

    I'd bet also that there's a major difference between people who have children and those who don't in terms of practice and observance, at least. That's certainly the case here. When they're growing up, and I'm not talking about evangelicals here, a lot of people want to give them a grounding in values, in "European" traditions, in the rites of passage most children go through, no matter their own private doubts. That's not to mention that most people are "cafeteria" Christians. If your children reject it all when they become adults, that's fine.

    I often think there's much more angst about religion in Europe. Here, you don't believe in God or religion? Great. Nobody cares, and equally I've never heard atheists make a big deal about it in real life, or stick their oar in when they see other people participate in their religion. People would think they were mad. You believe in a different god and religion than your neighbors? Equally great. People will actually be quite interested. Inter-faith services are all the rage. It's live and let live. Think what you want. Practice what you want, or not. The only group which actively proselytizes are the Mormons, in the sense of actually coming to your door. They're very polite, well groomed, and well behaved young people. I feel sorry for them, truth be told: nobody asks them in. :) I once did, because it was raining, but I know more theology than they do, and so I soon tied them up in rhetorical knots, and then felt bad about that, so I gave them some hot tea and sent them on their way.

    In certain parts of the Bible belt, I've been asked if I'd like to accompany someone to church, but it's well meant and, again, polite. All you have to do is say you're not interested. When I'm in trouble, in a hospital or something, I'm actually touched when someone says they'll pray for me. How could you object to that? Even if it's all bunk, they're sympathizing and wishing you well. What's the harm? I'd say tolerance all around is definitely the way to go.
    Last edited by Angela; 01-06-18 at 21:45.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A. Papadimitriou View Post
    Maybe, though that depends on the denomination. If a denomination X requires weekly church attendance, you can't be 'practicing X' without weekly church attendance.
    Either way, even some of those who do go to church regularly see it as a social event.
    There are people in prison, also the bed-ridden , some military elements and many other variables ...who cannot attend a house of pray.
    .
    We also have in some small country towns a place, sometimes an old church where there is no priest/minister etc but have a video link to a service from elsewhere....... these people attend this place and watch the service.
    .
    conclusion is that one does not even need to attend any house of pray to qualify for being a religious person.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sile View Post
    There are people in prison, also the bed-ridden , some military elements and many other variables ...who cannot attend a house of pray.
    .
    We also have in some small country towns a place, sometimes an old church where there is no priest/minister etc but have a video link to a service from elsewhere....... these people attend this place and watch the service.
    .
    conclusion is that one does not even need to attend any house of pray to qualify for being a religious person.
    And there are many who can and don't. (most of them)

    By the way, I said 'If a denomination X requires weekly church attendance, you can't be 'practicing X' without weekly church attendance.'
    Maybe some people work on Sunday mornings. Ok. What is the problem of the others? They can't wake up because they were clubbing?

    Either way, I don't care that much.

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    To be honest, the numbers about Denmark surprise me. We've actually seen high numbers of people leaving our lutheran state church the last years. And it's not reflected in that study at all. The numbers for non-practicing christians in Denmark just can't be right, as I see it. But I think it comes down to how you define "christian".

    I wonder how the study was made? How they framed the questions.

    If asked, most danes will say "yes, I'm christian", but what they mean is, that they are cultural christians. The amount of people in Denmark, who truely believe in the second coming of Jesus christ our saviour, and all that jazz, is really quite small - maybe 10%. So while 60% of the population are baptized in the lutheran state church, they absolutely don't believe in Jesus. It's just a tradition, a ritual.

    I actually held PEW to higher standards than this.

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    In my opinion, the christian god of the bible is a personal god. This study from www.europeanvaluesstudy.eu is giving a bit of a different picture than PEW, I think . I'd love to get the exact numbers, put to me it looks like 20% believing in a personal god in Denmark, for instance. And that must be counting both jews, christians and muslims.

    image is here
    http://www.europeanvaluesstudy.eu/fi...tanceofgod.jpg

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    Does their methodology match that of Pew?

    http://www.pewforum.org/2018/05/29/a...b-methodology/

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    They describe theirs better, but yes, I believe so. Here’s European value study’s methodology. www.europeanvaluesstudy.eu/page/methodology

    They ask people questions and then make statistics from that. But it’s beside the point imo. When it comes to how they formulate the questions, all it says is:
    "The questionnaire administered by survey interviewers was designed by Pew Research Center staff in consultation with subject matter experts and advisers to the project."

    I have a feeling it's not about methodology, but rather how you define "christian" (I guess that’s strictly speaking part of the methodology too, though). Notice that in Eauopeanvaluestudy they are asking the same thing, but with a different angle, which gives a different result.

    Since 1990 the number of members of the Lutheran state-church of Denmark has declined steadily from 90% to 76%. Number of baptisms are down from 80% in 1990 to 62% in 2017 (obviously muslim immigration also is a factor here, but not the sole one) Hows that for christianity growing in Denmark? Yes, culturally some people are maybe reclaiming a cultural christian identity as a defence against muslim immigration, but it's just superficial.

    Add to that, that you have to understand that just because people are members of the state-church because they were baptized by their parents, it doesn’t mean they believe in Jesus Christ or even god. It’s just a tradition. You can read about the danes relationship to their state-church here, if interested: https://international.kk.dk/artikel/are-danes-religious

    We actually even had a priest of the state-church in 2003, who openly declared he didn’t believe in god. It did cause some debate of cause. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorkild_Grosbøll

    Also......

    “According to a 2009 poll, 25% of Danes believe Jesus is the Son of God, and 18% believe he is the saviour of the world.”

    Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church...rch_attendance (the original source of the quote is from a yougov study. I’ll see if I can dig it up somewere in english if I have time)

    If you don’t believe Jesus Christ is the savior of the world, then you’re not a real Christian - because you don’t believe in the god of the new testament. Otherwise I'd label you: "a spiritual person from a christian culture". What could be called a “cultural Christian”. Many danes selfidentify as christians, while in reality - they're strictly speaking not.

    But can you believe in a pantheistic and un-personal God, and still call yourself christian? Of cause you can - because religions are ideas, and like all other man-made ideas, they can be put into all kinds of constellations with other ideas that shouldn’t fit together. And you don’t have to be consequent. I mean, can you be a neonazi skinhead and a jew at the same time? Of cause you can. Humans are full of contradictions and absurdities like that.

    The question, “are you a christian?” doesn’t neccesarily mean the same in the ears of a Scandinavian “cultural Christian” protestant and a southern European catholic.

    All that said, the more I think about it, maybe it’s just me misreading the infographics. But I do think that these kind of studies are hard to make, because you are trying to fit something very complex - what people think - into some small bars representing one simple sentence. Or maybe it’s just me splitting hairs and being to anal about semantics. Could be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rizla View Post
    All that said, the more I think about it, maybe it’s just me misreading the infographics. But I do think that these kind of studies are hard to make, because you are trying to fit something very complex - what people think - into some small bars representing one simple sentence. Or maybe it’s just me splitting hairs and being to anal about semantics. Could be.
    It's not you. The studies are bad.

    Concerning the EVS study, I have to say that someone 1) can believe in a personal god and 2) be culturally Christian but act as a de facto religiously indifferent person. That is very common here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I am not sure why it is not decreasing in other countries as well.
    Because religiosity is to some extent genetically determined (just like any other behavioural trait).

    In the past everyone was religious, even people with no genetic propensity to religiosity, due to circumstances (there was no religious freedom). When societies became secular, people were free to choose what they wanted or didn't want to believe in, so the share of religious people started declining. But only these individuals who are not genetically inclined to be religious are becoming unaffiliated.

    I think that there are hard-coded genetic limits to atheism, different depending on population.

    Unless you abolish religious freedom and force everyone to be atheist. I think that Germans became so atheistic under Communism because they tend to be conformists and obedient to authority (unlike Poles who tend to be nonconformists and rebellious, so Communist pressure to make the society more atheistic had effects opposite to expected - even more people started attending churches).

    Another issue is that religious people are having more children on average than atheists.

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