The majority of young Europeans are no longer religious, says survey

Greg Evans
Friday 23 March 2018 15:45
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A survey of young people around Europe shows that the majority of them no longer follow a specific religion.

The report comes from research conducted by St Mary's University Twickenham London, where they assessed religious practice among 16-29 year-olds in 21 different European countries.

The findings show that at least 70 per cent of British youngster do not associate themselves with any religion or religious practice, while 59 per cent said that the never attend a religious service beside special events like weddings.

Czech Republic was the country with the least religious percentage of young adults, with a huge 91 per cent identifying themselves as not having a faith. The research is based on data from the European Social Survey, in 2014 and 2016.

Other nations who scored 70 per cent or higher on the survey included The Netherlands, Sweden, Estonia and the United Kingdom. At the other end of the spectrum, Poland has the the most religious young people Poland, with 83 per cent identifying as having a faith.

Picture: Statista(Statista)

Stephen Bullivant, who is the professor of theology and the sociology of religion at St Mary's University was the leader on the report and believes that young people don't have a "serious connection" to religious these days.

Speaking to the BBC he said:

For a large proportion of people who have been baptised, they have little family religious engagement after that, even for those attending faith schools.

Their parents and grandparents might have received a sufficient enough 'dose' of religion during their upbringing to still affiliate as such later in life, very few of today's young adults have had any serious connection with religion at all.

He adds that in the next 10 to 20 years there will be even fewer young religious people in the UK as most religious people tend to be older.

However, speaking to The Guardian, the professor said he believes the figures, especially in the UK, might be down to immigration numbers, but people that remain religious in the future will be devoted followers of their faith.

One in five Catholics in the UK were not born in the UK.

And we know the Muslim birthrate is higher than the general population, and they have much higher [religious] retention rates

The new default setting is ‘no religion’, and the few who are religious see themselves as swimming against the tide.

In 20 or 30 years’ time, mainstream churches will be smaller, but the few people left will be highly committed.

Bullivant did warn that if these numbers were to continue along this trajectory, then Christianity will soon be extinct.

He adds:

Christianity as a default, as a norm, is gone, and probably gone for good – or at least for the next 100 years.

HT Guardian

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