Archive for the ‘Secularization’ Category

Gallup: Are you a religious person?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

7 charts that reveal the most – and the least – religious people across the world… and how it is the young who are the biggest believers:


The question “Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not would you say you are: a. a religious Person, b. not a religious person, c. a convinced atheist, d. do not know/no response.” Was asked as part of the WIN/Gallup International End of Year Survey.

The End of Year Survey is an annual tradition initiated by and designed under the chairmanship of Dr. George Gallup in 1977. It is conducted every year since then. This year it was carried out by the WIN/Gallup International Association in 65 countries around the world.

Sample Size and Mode of Field Work:

A total of 63,898 persons were interviewed globally. In each country a representative sample of around 1000 men and women was interviewed either face to face (31 countries; n=33862), via telephone (12 countries; n=9784) or online (22 countries; n=20356). The field work was conducted during September 2014 – December 2014. The margin of error for the survey is between 2.14 and 4.45 +3-5% at 95% confidence level.

The global average has been computed according to the share of the covered adult population of the surveyed countries.

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Religion may not survive the Internet

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

As we head into a new year, the guardians of traditional religion are ramping up efforts to keep their flocks—or, in crass economic terms, to retain market share.  Some Christians have turned to soul searching while others have turned to marketing:

Swiss keep religion at a distance

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Religion is becoming less important in people’s private lives in Switzerland, even among tax-paying members of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, two-thirds of whom are described by researchers as “distanced”.

End of NRP 58: results and recommendations

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Religions: dwindling private relevance, growing public controversy
There is a growing discrepancy with regard to religious matters in Switzerland: in politics and the media, religion plays a prominent role, but its influence is waning in state institutions and it is becoming increasingly less important for most individuals. At the same time, there is a growing religious diversity. These are the key conclusions of the National Research Programme “Religions, the State and Society” (NRP 58). It recommends that the authorities actively promote equality among the various religions.

Considering the most striking result – the fact that over 64% of the population of Switzerland don’t care much about organized religion – the Freethinkers of Switzerland are insisting on the separation of state and churches and on an equality on the level of private law instead of public law.

Ireland: Bill proposes full legal status for humanist weddings

Friday, May 4th, 2012

The Irish government is expected to back new legislation giving humanists the same status as organised religions and civil registrars in conducting marriage ceremonies (…). The Bill proposes to amend the Civil Registration Act 2004, which regulates the registration of civil marriages. Today, apart from Health Service Executive registrars, only a member of a “religious body” may celebrate legal marriages (…). This includes organisations such as the Pagan Federation Ireland and the Spiritualist Union of Ireland, but not members of the Humanist Association of Ireland (HAI), who currently conduct humanist wedding ceremonies even though these are not legally recognised (…).The proportion of couples choosing a non-religious, civil wedding ceremony in Ireland has increased from 6 per cent in 1996 to more than 23 per cent in 2006, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The HAI has nine accredited celebrants who conducted 153 marriage ceremonies last year.


NL: As catholic churches close down, priests ship altars and crucifixes to the developing world

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

The steep drop in Dutch religious practice over the past half century has forced many Catholic churches to close, leaving a growing surplus of their religious artwork piling up in the cellars. With two Dutch churches closing on average every week, surplus statues, crucifixes, chalices and paintings are piling up in the cellars and storerooms of Roman Catholic parishes around the country. But outside Europe, there is a different situation. Poor parishes in Latin America, Africa and Asia are trying to get their hands on traditional Catholic artwork to equip their churches (….). The total of Dutch Catholic churches stood at 1,782 in 2003, (…) and is estimated to sink to 1,200 by 2018. From 1970 to 2008, 205 Catholic churches were demolished and 148 more were converted into bookshops, health centres, restaurants, apartments, among other things.

Original source: Reuters


Belief About God Across Time and Countries Report

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

A new study noted the following significant points:

1. Belief in god has decreased in most countries. see conclusion.
2. Belief in personal god increases with age, in the 57+ categories.
3. Religious belief highest in developing and Catholic countries.


Canada – religion not important to most, although majority believe in God

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

A nationwide survey conducted ahead of the Easter weekend has found that a majority of Canadians do not consider religion important to them, though two-thirds of the population say they believe in God. (…) The online survey of 1,522 people, commissioned by the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies, also showed relatively low levels of trust in religious leaders, with 48% of respondents attributing the trait of trustworthiness to clergy. (…) CS executive director Jack Jedwab, writing in an overview of the findings, highlighted a significant generational divide over religion in Canada: “Younger Canadians appear far less convinced about the existence of God than does the oldest cohort.”

More on the National Post

How Christian are UK Christians? And should Government “do God”?

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

A poll carried out by Ipsos MORI for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (UK) in the week after the 2011 Census focused on the beliefs, attitudes and practices of UK adults who say they were recorded as Christian in the 2011 Census (or would have recorded themselves as Christian had they answered the question).

When asked why they think of themselves as Christian, the research found that fewer than three in ten (28%) say one of the reasons is that they believe in the teachings of Christianity.

People are much more likely to consider themselves to be Christian because they were christened or baptised into the religion (72%) or because their parents were members of the religion (38%) than because of personal belief.

As many as half (50%) do not think of themselves as religious and less than a third (30%) claim to have strong religious beliefs.

At the same time, many who self-identify as Christian hold beliefs that some churches would consider to be incompatible with traditional Christian teaching, such as astrology and reincarnation (27% in each case), ghosts (36%) and fate (64%).

The low level of religious belief and practice among those calling themselves Christian is reflected in church attendance. Apart from special occasions such as weddings, funerals and baptisms, half (49%) had not attended a church service in the previous 12 months. One in six (16%) have not attended for more than ten years, and a further one in eight (12%) have never attended at all.

Read the full press release at

UK Christians opposed to special influence for religion in public policy

If the section dealing with questions of religious belief and practice  revealed very low levels of both, the questions focusing on UK Christians’ attitudes to social issues, including the role of religion in public life, is even more dramatic.

It shows that most UK Christians have very little in common with the Christian lobbyists claiming to speak on their behalf. The constant calls from Christian lobby groups to deny full rights to gays, to grant Christians exemption from certain laws, to outlaw abortion, to maintain privileged access to political influence and generally to put Christianity at the heart of UK public life simply do not reflect the views and wishes of the majority of UK Christians.

On the contrary, the findings show that the majority of UK Christians share the secular, liberal, humane values that are the hallmark of a modern, decent society.

This won’t come as a surprise to most Christians reading these results,… nor to those who count liberal Christians among their friends, families and colleagues.

But it may come as a shock to certain politicians who seem to have bought into the idea that there are votes to be gained in ‘doing God’. These results show quite categorically that there are not.

From now on, whenever a clergyman, politician or religious lobbyist tries to claim that the UK is Christian and that religion should therefore have protected status in our public life, we will be able to point to these results and show that not even UK Christians support their view.

Read press release 2.


Relating data.