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Thread: Religiosity Plummets In Ireland And Declines Worldwide; Atheism On The Rise

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    Religiosity Plummets In Ireland And Declines Worldwide; Atheism On The Rise

    Rocked in recent years by sex-abuse scandals and crises in leadership, the Catholic Church in the Republic of Ireland has been struggling to keep its members close.

    But this week, a new global survey on faith and atheism has revealed that the crisis of faith in Ireland may be much worse than previously thought.

    According to the poll released by WIN-Gallup International, the traditionally Catholic country has seen one of the steepest drops worldwide in religiosity.

    The poll -- which was based on interviews with more than 50,000 people selected from 57 countries -- asked participants, "irrespective of whether they attended a place of worship, if they considered themselves to be religious, not religious, or an atheist."

    In Ireland, only 47 percent of those polled said they considered themselves religious -- a 22-point drop from the 69 percent recorded in a similar poll conducted in 2005. In addition, 10 percent self-identified as atheist.

    The only country that registered a steeper decline in religiosity was Vietnam, which saw a 23-point drop from 53 percent to 30 percent.

    However, Ireland and Vietnam were not unique in this dip in faith, Reuters notes.

    According to the global index, there has been a notable decline in religiosity worldwide.

    Current data shows that the number of people worldwide who call themselves religious is now 59 percent, while 13 percent self-identify as atheist.

    However, according to trending data, religiosity has fallen by 9 points globally since 2005 and the number of people who identify as atheist rose from 4 percent to 7 percent. Note that only 40 countries were polled in both 2005 and 2012, so there are two different sets of data available.

    The U.S., France and Canada joined Ireland on the top-10 list of countries to have experienced a "notable decline in religiosity" since 2005.

    The number of people in the U.S. who self-identify as religious dropped 13 points to 60 percent. In addition, 5 percent of Americans declared themselves atheists, an increase of 4 points since 2005.

    Yet, despite this global decline in faith, the focus at the moment seems to be on Ireland, where Catholicism has had a long and rich tradition.

    Since the poll results were made available to the public, many have lamented the drop in Ireland's religious feeling, with one Guardian writer calling it "the end of Catholic Ireland."

    However, some Irish Catholic officials and organizations are insisting that the poll may not show the full picture and have cautioned against taking the index as a comprehensive indicator of Irish faith.

    For example, a spokesperson for the Catholic Communications Office told the Belfast Telegraph that the language used by the poll may have been misleading.

    "The word 'religious', if left unqualified, is too general to be used as the keyword in a survey questionnaire -- especially in the Irish context -- where people prefer words such as 'spiritual'. Being 'religious' is a very subjective measurement," he said.

    Indeed, the same Guardian writer who hinted at an impending collapse of Catholicism in Ireland also noted that though "the traditional structures of "religion" [may be] weaker, there remains a strong deposit of "faith" among the people."

    Nonetheless, the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said that the global index has undoubtedly highlighted the challenges facing the Catholic Church in Ireland.

    "The Catholic Church, on its part, cannot simply presume that the faith will automatically be passed from one generation to the next or be lived to the full by its own members," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

    Sinead Mooney, deputy managing director of RED C Research -- the company that conducted the Irish poll -- told Reuters that there were two factors that likely contributed to Ireland's sharp decline in religiosity.

    "Obviously, there were all the scandals in the Church over that period -- that was massive," she said. "Also, as countries get richer, they tend to lose some sense of religion. We did become richer -- at least at the beginning of that period."

    According to the poll, the most devout region of the world is Africa -- and the countries where most people self-identified as religious were Ghana (96 percent), Nigeria (93 percent) and Macedonia (90 percent), Reuters notes.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...f=christianity

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    Quote Originally Posted by A catholic spokesman
    "The word 'religious', if left unqualified, is too general to be used as the keyword in a survey questionnaire -- especially in the Irish context -- where people prefer words such as 'spiritual'. Being 'religious' is a very subjective measurement," he said.
    The word spiritual is also used by people when they scarcely believe a blessed word of what their religion teaches but yet they don't want to offend any religious sensibilities.

    What is undeniable about the Irish situation is that there has been a very steep drop off indeed in the numbers of people at the extreme end of the religiosity scale.

    It used to be that not so many years ago in Ireland you could walk into a church at almost any hour of the day from 6 or 7 in the morning to about midnight and see a half dozen to a dozen people there (almost all women) chanting the rosary.

    There was a large proportion of women among my grandmothers generation who would happily spend an hour or more praying in the church almost every day.These were mostly women aged 65+ who were retired and whose children had grown up and left the house. That generation is now pretty well extinct and it hasn't been replaced.

    My parents generation is still believing for the most part, but not the the same degree.

    In my own generation most educated people do not hold the catholic church in very high regard and rarely attend Mass except for Baptisms, Funerals, Marriages and perhaps on Christmas eve.

    The average person in Ireland nowadays seems to view religion as "generally a positive thing to have around even if I don't really believe it myself".
    Close observation may result in feelings of horror, wonder and awe at world you find yourself inhabiting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Horned God View Post
    The word spiritual is also used by people when they scarcely believe a blessed word of what their religion teaches but yet they don't want to offend any religious sensibilities.
    I think that's a misinterpretation. "Spiritual" means "I am not willing to give up the comfort of thinking that my Sky Father is looking out for me, but I don't want any rules, restrictions on my behaviour or beliefs I have to hold to thanks".
    Denn das Schöne ist nichts
 als des Schrecklichen Anfang, den wir noch grade ertragen,
 und wir bewundern es so, weil es gelassen verschmäht, uns zu zerstören.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Horned God View Post
    The word spiritual is also used by people when they scarcely believe a blessed word of what their religion teaches but yet they don't want to offend any religious sensibilities.
    How serious can people be about Catholicism if they are unwilling to self-designate as even "religious"? Would practising Catholics really accept someone who gets so semantic about their beliefs?
    To me "spiritual" implies unorthodox, New Age-esque sentiments that are incompatible with the devout beliefs of "majority" religions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sindig_og_stoisk View Post
    How serious can people be about Catholicism if they are unwilling to self-designate as even "religious"?
    Not very. I don't believe that very many Irish people are "serious" about religion any more (at least if you define religion as church teaching).

    Whatever about holding a general belief in Christian morality, it is next to impossible to take seriously a church hierarchy that intentionally covered up child abuse on a grand scale and did so for decades.

    Yet to be considered a catholic you would surely have to hold the catholic church in high esteem, would you not? Well most people in Ireland don't any longer. It is hard to overestimate the psychological impact on the Irish population of discovering that children in church run schools and orphanages were being abused sexually and physically with the full knowledge of the Bishops and of the Vatican (probably since time immemorial) and that nothing was done or would ever have been done except some of the victims got the courage to take their stories to the media.



    Would practising Catholics really accept someone who gets so semantic about their beliefs?
    I don't know and frankly I couldn't care less what practising Catholics do (it's over 20 years since I considered myself a believer).Given the extraordinarily immoral behaviour exhibited throughout most of the churches history by the Catholic hierarchy, I find it impossible to conceive how any sane person could believe that the catholic church has a meaningful connection with some all powerful, all loving creator. It simply mikes no sense.

    To me "spiritual" implies unorthodox, New Age-esque sentiments that are incompatible with the devout beliefs of "majority" religions.
    It can and probably should mean that. However in terms of how people respond to a questionnaire, I think "spiritual" is also a buzz word that is sometimes latched onto as a kind of place holder when they don't really feel too strongly about their religious affiliation or about religion in general.
    Close observation may result in feelings of horror, wonder and awe at world you find yourself inhabiting.

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    A specific American angle remarks that the same survey shows a clear rise in Atheism in America, coinciding with the release of a wave of "New Atheist" books:

    Religiosity is on the decline in the U.S. and atheism is on the rise, according to a new worldwide poll.

    The poll, called "The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism," found that the number of Americans who say they are "religious" dropped from 73 percent in 2005 (the last time the poll was conducted) to 60 percent.

    At the same time, the number of Americans who say they are atheists rose, from 1 percent to 5 percent.

    The poll was conducted by WIN-Gallup International and is based on interviews with 50,000 people from 57 countries and five continents. Participants were asked, "Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person, or a convinced atheist?"

    The seven years between the polls is notable because 2005 saw the publication of "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris, the first in a wave of best-selling books on atheism by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and other so-called "New Atheists."

    "The obvious implication is that this is a manifestation of the New Atheism movement," said Ryan Cragun, a University of Tampa sociologist of religion who studies American and global atheism.

    Still, Cragun does not believe the poll shows more people are becoming atheists, but rather that more people are willing to identify as atheists.

    "For a very long time, religiosity has been a central characteristic of the American identity," he said. "But what this suggests is that is changing and people are feeling less inclined to identify as religious to comply with what it means to be a good person in the U.S."

    Another possible factor may be the number of atheists within organized efforts by American atheist groups to encourage those who do not believe in God to say so publicly. The Out Campaign, a project of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, was launched in 2007 and has since been endorsed by several national atheist groups.

    The current poll confirms a declining religiosity -- both at home and abroad -- that's been detected in other polls. The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey found that 15 percent of Americans said they have no religion -- different from being a "confirmed atheist," but nonetheless up from 8 percent in 1990.

    Barry Kosmin, the principal investigator for the ARIS report, said he's skeptical of the new study.

    "The U.S. trends are what we have found and would expect, but the actual numbers are peculiar to say the least," he said. "The drops in religiosity seem too sharp for the time period -- people just don't change their beliefs that quickly. Most of the trend away from religion has demographic causes and demography moves 'glacially.'"

    Specifically, he points to the poll's finding that Vietnam, while showing a sharp 23 percent drop in religiosity since 2005, also shows no atheists. "Eight million Communist Party members but zero atheists?" he said. "That statistic makes me very doubtful of the accuracy of the survey overall and some of the international comparisons."

    Other findings from the poll include:

    Besides Vietnam, Ireland had the greatest change in religiosity, down from 69 percent to 47 percent.

    China has the most "convinced atheists," at 47 percent, followed by Japan (31 percent), Czech Republic (30 percent) and France (29 percent)

    The most religious countries are in Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya), South America (Brazil, Peru) and Eastern Europe (Macedonia, Romania, Armenia).

    Countries with the same percentage of atheists as the U.S. are Poland, Moldova and Saudi Arabia.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...hp_ref=science

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sindig_og_stoisk View Post
    How serious can people be about Catholicism if they are unwilling to self-designate as even "religious"? Would practising Catholics really accept someone who gets so semantic about their beliefs?
    To me "spiritual" implies unorthodox, New Age-esque sentiments that are incompatible with the devout beliefs of "majority" religions.
    All spiritual means is that a person isn't a staunch materialist atheist, but holds there is reality beyond the physically measurable. In the context of surveys that's usually limited to people that don't adhere to the orthodoxy of any organized religious groups, while they are often still members of them. In Ireland I'd think that's a person officially a catholic, he does believe in God, but won't tick many of the Catholic dogmas and practices anymore.

    The atheism label is often also applied to broadly. Because an atheist that actually beliefs in one dogma (they love to deny that) and that's that "there is no God(s) at all". and that's a positive truth statement. Most atheist would be better described as agnostics at the end where it borders atheism.
    "And God proclaims as a first principle to the rulers, and above all else, that there is nothing which they should so anxiously guard, or of which they are to be such good guardians, as of the purity of the race. They should observe what elements mingle in their offspring;..." Plato Politeia

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    Since Skadi went down Ireland became the first country to legalize gay marriage by popular vote with a landslide (62% vs 38%) and high turnout in 2015. The religious earthquake continues.

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