Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Marketing of Religions around the world

Nov 1st 2007
From The Economist
print edition

God is definitely not dead, but He now comes in many more varieties A new book by Philip Jenkins on European religion says:-
  • Only 20% of Europeans say that God plays an important role in their lives, compared with 60% of Americans.
  • A survey in 2004 found that only 44% of Britons believed in God, whereas 35% (45% among 18-34-year-olds) denied His existence.
  • Only 15% of them go to church each week (i think the figure in the UK is closer to 7%), against 40% of Americans.
  • Even in the Catholic heartlands of Spain, Italy and Ireland attendance rates have dropped below 20%.
  • And priests are dying out: in Dublin, home to 1m Catholics, precisely one was ordained in 2004.
But there are a few signs of revival. Some of this is of a demographic kind: even in Europe, the religious breed more. Writing in Prospect magazine, Eric Kaufmann calculated that in the most secular bits—France and Protestant Europe—the “non-religious” majority (currently 53%) would peak at around 55% in 2040. If present trends continue, by the end of the century there will be more religious Europeans than there are today.

Over 2m Britons have now taken the Alpha course, “an opportunity to explore the meaning of life”

By some counts there are at least 500m declared non-believers in the world—enough to make atheism the fourth-biggest religion.

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