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Unread 09-05-2011, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Minnesota, USA
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Default Most religious parts of European countries

We all know that in terms of faith in God and religious practice, Europe is a "dying" continent. Christianity is the traditional religion of the United States, and also most of Europe; however, regular church attendance rates are much higher in the United States (at about 40-50%, though some sources claim lower) than in Europe (between <5 and 15% for most countries) and more importantly, a MUCH higher percentage of Americans still believe in key tenets of the Christian faith (the existence of God, spirits, angels, heaven, hell, Jesus's divinity, etc.) then most European countries polled. The figures for church attendance and beliefs become even more bleak when the survey is limited to younger, native people. In fact, some countries in Europe - if not most in Western Europe - cannot even be called "Christian" any more, because most of their population does not even believe in the essential regiments of Christianity.

Yet there are still places in Europe, isolated as though they may be, where there is much greater devotion and faith than the rest of the country. Some may be associated with various sects and movements, some with the traditional religion of the country, just more preserved.

What are the most religious areas of individual countries in Europe? You can choose your own country, or other countries. I'm especially wondering about Spain and Italy.
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Unread 09-05-2011, 02:59 PM
 
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You might think that Europe is less religious than the U.S. and in therms of church attendance and the "key tenets of the Christian faith", like you said, that might be true. However, I think that core christian values of empathy and taking care/helping of the needy, disabled and poor (I'm talking about people who truly need help, not everyone who doesn't work is a lazy bum), Europe is miles ahead. This is because these christian values are so permeated in the culture of most European countries they don't even see this as Christian but as "normal".

The most Christian (as in going to church a lot etc.) areas are probably the countrysides of the more southern countries like Italy and Spain. No specific area is more religious or less, it mostly depends on whether you're in a city or a small town.
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Unread 09-05-2011, 03:42 PM
 
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In many Catholic countries those who still believe at all oftentimes have their very own religion that has little to do with Christianity. Here in Portugal for instance they believe more in saints, especially female ones, instead of Jesus. There is also a strong superstitious element.

Anyway, I am quite happy Christianity as such is fading away, I would not want Europe to have religious nuts and zealots of the kind the US has, like evangelists etc. We are doing fine without them... Ain't no bible belt over here
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Unread 09-05-2011, 04:44 PM
 
Location: Hong Kong
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I'd say all the Catholic countries - Ireland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, especially Poland, etc.

It's just a different kind of 'religious' than the tele-evangelists of the U.S.

I also think there are plenty of places in the U.S. with low church attendance, for example, the Pacific Northwest, etc.
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Unread 09-05-2011, 04:48 PM
 
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Going to church is often just an opportunity to socialize, especially in the US where people live so far from each other due to urban sprawl and thus don't have many chances to meet people in an efficient way.
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Unread 09-05-2011, 06:17 PM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
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Malta, Cyprus, Romania, Greece, Poland, and Croatia are some of the more religious countries in Europe. Ireland used to be high but a mix of rapid change and sexual-scandal has caused it to go through a relatively rapid decline.

As in the US rural areas are probably going to be more religious. So the above list means you might not find Athens or Bucharest particularly religious, but maybe the rural areas of Greece and Romania (or whatever) will be. I'm not sure Malta's big enough to have a rural/urban divide though.

Religiosity Highest in World's Poorest Nations
http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/a..._report_en.pdf

I don't think any of these are Protestant, but there are some highly Protestant regions in Europe. The Dutch have a kind of "Bible Belt" and the town of Urk is apparently pretty Christian. In Scandinavia I think there are parts of Lapland/Sami that are a bit more religious than Scandinavian norms. In Britain the Outer Hebrides is one of the most religious places as many places had rules on the Sabbath until quite recent. Northern Ireland, traditionally, also tended to be more religious than the rest of Britain.

(I didn't include countries like Kosovo in this as I take it you're meaning Christian-religious rather than Islam)
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Unread 09-05-2011, 06:40 PM
 
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Poland remains very catholic, especially on the countryside. Orthodox church attendance in Romania is high. In Russia and Ukraine the orthodox church is gaining in popularity every year. Many people are returning to the churches.
Yugoslav (Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia) people on the countryside are also religious, as are most Greek.


In Western Europe you have to go to the countryside to find a lot of religious people. You can find them in the rural areas of Spain, Italy and Portugal (especially southern Italy is still very catholic, even in the cities), in rural areas of southern and eastern Germany, in some rural protestant communities in the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

Some countries have a very low percentage of religious people, such as France, Czech republic, Bulgaria.

in general orthodox christianity is doing better than catholic or protestant christianity, with the exception of Southern Italy, poland and Croatia.
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Unread 09-06-2011, 01:49 AM
 
Location: Zawaia, Al-Gharb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zimops View Post
You might think that Europe is less religious than the U.S. and in therms of church attendance and the "key tenets of the Christian faith", like you said, that might be true. However, I think that core christian values of empathy and taking care/helping of the needy, disabled and poor (I'm talking about people who truly need help, not everyone who doesn't work is a lazy bum), Europe is miles ahead. This is because these christian values are so permeated in the culture of most European countries they don't even see this as Christian but as "normal".....
Agreed, I think the OP has something like "religious observance" in mind, or the kind of religious preening that takes place in the Philosophy & Religion forum, which is overwhelmingly American in its participants.

I have found that Europeans on the whole have ethical and moral values equal to what one would find in the U.S., but fortunately on the whole they have dropped the ostentatious religiousity that is all over the map in the U.S., and pollutes the whole political process there. For this we may be extremely grateful.
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Unread 09-06-2011, 05:29 AM
 
Location: New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zimops View Post
You might think that Europe is less religious than the U.S. and in therms of church attendance and the "key tenets of the Christian faith", like you said, that might be true. However, I think that core christian values of empathy and taking care/helping of the needy, disabled and poor (I'm talking about people who truly need help, not everyone who doesn't work is a lazy bum), Europe is miles ahead. This is because these christian values are so permeated in the culture of most European countries they don't even see this as Christian but as "normal".
Agreed too....... I have family and friends through out Europe who are very 'christian' in their behavior but don't go to church and are very private with their charitable acts. Giving money to causes without the big dramatics etc

With regard to quantity of people who attend church I would put Italy and Spain high on the list. The UK not so much anymore. The UK not so much anymore. Maybe the priest abuse stories splattered across the newspapers had an impact??

I had never been asked what church I go to until I moved to the US a year ago where the question has been asked at least 3 times with what appeared to be a desire to categorize me in the same way I'm asked which street I live on...
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Unread 09-06-2011, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Belgium
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In the inner cities of Western Europe, Islam is often the main religion. Often, young people with Turkish and Moroccon roots are a lot more religious than their young European counterparts.

Here in Belgium (and I guess in most of Western Europe), traditional church attendance is mostly practiced by elder people. There's really very few (if any) young people I know that still go to church on sunday morning...
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