The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Survey: worldwide, most say religion is important

posted by jmcgee

A new survey reports that an overwhelming majority of people in the world believes in the importance of religion — but it breaks down largely along economic lines:

More than eight in ten adults in the world say religion is an important part of their daily lives, according to Gallup surveys conducted last year in 114 countries.

And, as past surveys have found, there remains a strong correlation between a country’s socioeconomic status and the religiosity of its residents.

In the world’s poorest countries – those with average per-capita incomes of $2,000 or less – the median proportion who say religion is important in their daily lives is 95 percent, reported Gallup on Tuesday.

In contrast, the median for the richest countries – those with average per-capita incomes over $25,000 – is 47 percent.

“Social scientists have put forth numerous possible explanations for the relationship between the religiosity of a population and its average income level,” noted Gallup editor Steve Crabtree.

“One theory is that religion plays a more functional role in the world’s poorest countries, helping many residents cope with a daily struggle to provide for themselves and their families. A previous Gallup analysis supports this idea,” he added.

In Gallup’s 2009 analysis of surveys conducted in 143 countries in the three years prior, the organization found that a relationship between religiosity and emotional well-being is stronger among those in poor countries than among those in the developed world.

There’s more at the link.

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posted September 2, 2010 at 11:56 am

Certainly brings to mind the truth of Jesus’ teachings regarding wealth and its effects on living in a right relationship with God. When we have all we need materially then we feel little need of God. But when each day brings the possibility of loss on various levels then faith in God becomes our most consoling and cherished possession. So the results of the survey are really not surprising at all.

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posted September 2, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Of course, wealth and (relative) safety may not be quite the crucial factors influencing the religiosity of a given group.
I split my time between deep Dixie and teaching at a small university of the natural sciences in Germany.
None of my colleagues in Germany make fun of my religious beliefs, non attack me for being married, none care that I’m gay.
Separation of church and state gives one the freedom to truly believe.
When I’m at my parents’ home in the depths of the Bible-Belt, there is no place for any belief except that which defines love of God as hatred of everyone who doesn’t share the fundamentalist/evangelical/literalistic Christian worldview.
So everybody ‘is’ a bible-thumping ‘Christian’.
With exceptions, the better off the social milieu, the more free one is to worship and belief as one’s free will has led one.

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