Church attendance – Confidence in the church – Importance of God – Traditional beliefs
Many Europeans are proud of it. Some think it is too bad. However, both agree: Europe is a secularized continent. Europeans do not go to church anymore, they do not believe in God anymore, and they do not seem to be religious at all. Are these assumptions true? It depends. Unmistakable, some of them are not. One thing is for sure: the old continent is not as secularized at it seems.
About half of all the Europeans pray or meditate at least once a week. Three out of four Europeans say they are religious persons. Of course, there is a big gap between the more secularized north-western European countries and the more traditional south-eastern ones. However, even in a country like Holland, famous for its liberal tradition, one in four of all the inhabitants attend church. Nevertheless, one assumption is true: most European churches attract fewer believers every year. Especially in the western part of the continent, the old religious institutions are deteriorating, show analyses of the European Values Studies.
However, people who consider themselves as atheists are a small minority, except in France, where almost 15 percent say they are atheist. It is obvious that a vast majority of all the Europeans nominate themselves as religious persons. There are even more people who consider themselves as religious as there are people who attend church. It is a kind of ‘believing without belonging’. People pick and choose religious beliefs, doctrines, and practices and they are mixing and matching them, as they would select food in a cafeteria. Sociologists talk about this trend as a ‘cafeteria religion’, or as ‘church-free spirituality’. Europeans remain religious, their approach is eclectic, and they borrow ideas from several traditions. Meanwhile, many institutionalized churches, especially in the West, are running empty.
An article on Religion ORF.at gives evidence to some of the results discussed during the event presenting the book “Quo vadis, Österreich? Werwandel zwischen 1990 und 2018” on July 18, 2019. In particular, the fact that religious lines of conflict between the “strong Muslim block and the weakening Christian block” cannot be empirically proven in Austria in this way.
According to the value researcher Regina Polak EVS results in Austria would reveal cross-denominational differences between men and women, young and old, as well as urban and rural residents. When moderator Susanne Mauthner-Weber (“Kurier”) asked whether religion is a unifying or separating factor in society, Polak replied: “Both. Religions are inhomogeneous in themselves.”
The full article (in orginal language) is available here.
Results of the Dutch European Values Study were presented at the Annual Symposium of the Dutch journal ‘Religie en Samenleving‘ (Religion and Society) at Tilburg University, the Netherlands. Inge Sieben talked about trends between 1981 and 2017, and Tim Reeskens about value polarization between educational groups.
In addition, there were workshops on the educational projects of EVS www.atlasofeuropeanvalues.eu (Gijs van Gaans, Fontys) and juniorkennisbank.nl (Inge Sieben).
Professor David Voas is Head of Department of Social Science at University College London, and member of the Executive Committee of the European Values Study . He will give a speech entlitled “The power of nones: Why secularization matters”
In her Presidential Address at the 2018 conference of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Korie Edwards urged social scientists to study the way that religion affects the distribution and use of power. In doing so, she criticized the amount of attention given to secularization. She advises scholars to avoid “framing our work in ways that could be construed to suggest that religion is losing power. This is simply not true.”
Using data from various sources, I will make four points in response:
1) Whether, why and to what extent religion is losing power is an empirical question. The evidence strongly suggests that in nearly all highly developed societies, religion is less central in personal and social life now than in the past.
2) The common claim that “the presuppositions that informed secularization theory have been effectively refuted” is odd, in view of the evident association between modernization and religious decline.
3) Scholars who are interested in the power of religious ideas, institutions and leaders should be attentive to studies of secularization; “The decline in power, popularity, and prestige of religion across the modern world is not a short-term or localized trend nor is it an accident” (Bruce 2011).
4) The undoubted power of religion can be deployed for good or ill, and there is a widespread belief that religion has done more harm than good. People are increasingly choosing to live without religion partly because they reject the exercise of its power over their own affairs.
In collaboration with GORBI (Georgian Opinion Research Business International), the European Values Study organizes the first international workshop of EVS2017 “Comparing values in (post)crisis Europe“.
In the recent years, Europe was exposed to remarkable dynamics of simultaneously growing together and falling apart. The workshop aims at dealing with two main questions: How do all these changes affect the Europeans’ values? And how can researchers measure and compare human values in an adequate and meaningful way?
A Call for Abstract has been launched on May 8th welcoming contributions on European values and attitudes with a focus on multilevel and longitudinal research questions on topics such as (but not limited to) social solidarity, social cohesion, national and European identity, we are interested also in papers investigating validity and cross-cultural comparability of values and attitudes.
Alongside selected proposals, the program is enriched by keynote contributions and special panels:
In a special panel on Religion and pro-choice values, Professor David Voas (Head of Department of Social Science at University College London, and member of the Executive Committee of the European Values Study) gives a keynote speech entitled :”The power of nones: Why secularization matters“
The Local Organizing Committee at GORBI, Tbilisi, Georgia
Lucy Flynn, Rian Hulscher , Merab Pachulia
The Scientific Committee of the Workshop
Morten Frederiksen (Aalborg Universitet, Copenhagen, Denmark); Vera
Lomazzi (GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Cologne,
Germany); Gergely Rosta (Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest,
Hungary); Natalia Soboleva (Laboratory for Comparative Social Research,
NRU Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia)
Morten Frederiksen (National Program Director of EVS Denmark) edited the book “Usikker modernitet – Danskernes værdier fra 1981 til 2017” (Uncertainty Modernity) published by Hans Reitzels Vorlag. The book, based on the results of EVS in Denmark, examines the development of the Danes’ values over four decades and captures the historical changes that have taken place since 1981.
“Usikker Modernitet” examines everything from the Danes’ national pride, concern for immigration, political participation, political values, attitudes to surveillance and environmental protection, voluntary work, religion, citizenship, gender equality, upbringing and experience of unhappiness, and analyzes developments and setbacks in a sociological perspective.
Denmark is often referred to as a society characterized by happiness, trust and tolerance, where neither religion nor social class really divides the population and where equality, environmental awareness and non-authoritarian education are values that bring together most.
However, that image cannot be taken for granted, as many of these values are relatively new, and some of them even exist only in a smaller part of the population. In 2017, many Danes were less happy and less confident than they were just a decade earlier.
“The Danes have lost confidence in other people, trust in the political system and they have become less happy” – M. Frederiksen
(This text is a translated and adapted version of the original description provided by the editor)
Since 1981, Europe has been conducting an international survey of value
systems and reception and application of value orientations called
European Values Study (EVS) every ten years. Croatia participated in
this international project with the third wave of research conducted in
1999 through the Catholic Faculty of Theology at the University of
Zagreb, which as a donor project interdisciplinarily brought together
scientists from different faculties of the University and scientific
research institutes. The results of recent research, as well as the
comments of the same, have been published by Croatian researchers in the
last twenty years in books and magazines in Croatian and in foreign
languages. This book presents some results of the fifth wave of research
in Croatia (2017/2018), in comparison with the third (1999) and the
fourth wave (2008), so that the movement of some values in the last
two decades in Croatia. The values that have been explored include
family, business, religion, politics and
leisure, then solidarity, fairness, social sensitivity as well as trust
in people and different institutions, morals and ethics, and others.