I noticed a couple of articles about a new study – by WIN-Gallup International – Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism.
The question is: Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship of not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person or a convinced atheist.
The study is flawed from the outset by it’s polarization between the concept of “religiosity” and atheism. It’s quite possible to be religious and be an atheist. Taoists, Buddhists, etc. are religious – yet generally atheists. Pantheists and others can be “religious” and be atheists. Many people who attend Unitarian Universalist churches are atheists (and many are not). That is probably the direction that people are going. People like to have a cultural, moral, even “religious”, group – whether they are atheists or not.
It is an interesting development, however, the degree to which people in Ireland are abandoning Catholicism.
From the Independent:
Republic of Ireland abandoning religion faster than almost every other country in the world
The Irish commitment to the Catholic religion is fast draining away, according to a new poll which points to a dramatic plunge in those who regard themselves as religious.
Worldwide, only Vietnam experienced a greater drop in those describing themselves as religious in a poll which extended to 57 countries, covering three-quarters of the world’s population.
The survey confirms that Ireland, once regarded as particularly devout, has been almost transformed from the days when the Catholic church exercised both political power and strong social influence.
The church’s standing has taken a series of severe blows over the last decade, in particular suffering damage from a series of devastating sex abuse scandals. The sense is widespread that it has reacted sluggishly to the revelations and has been more concerned with defending itself rather than with the interests of victims.
The survey showed that those Irish who considered themselves religious had fallen from 69 per cent in 2011 to less than half today. Ireland was ranked seventh in the 57 countries for those describing themselves as convinced atheists…
In addition to the sex abuse revelations Ireland has become a much more secular country as the church has lost the religious and political authority it once wielded.
This was most strikingly demonstrated last year when, in an unprecedented attack, Irish prime minister Enda Kenny shrugged off decades of political deference.
He declared: “The rape and torture of children were downplayed or `managed` to uphold instead the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and reputation.” He denounced “elitism, disconnection, dysfunction and narcissism in the Vatican.”
Previous polling has indicated that a majority of Irish Catholics are strikingly out of line with the Vatican’s attitude on issues such as priestly celibacy and the introduction of women priests. Almost 90 per cent believe that priests should be free to marry, with over 70 per cent saying they believe married men should be ordained.
Rome’s reaction to criticism from Irish priests has been authoritarian. One priest with liberal views was ordered to a monastery to “pray and reflect” while another was prohibited from writing on such issues.