France becoming less religious

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lpetrich
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France becoming less religious

Post by lpetrich » Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:58 pm

As i was reading Thomas Piketty's recent work on who votes for what party, I cane across something interesting: the religious composition of France's electorate.

Here are the numbers for 1967 and 2012:
  • Practicing Catholics: 25% - 6%
  • Nonpracticing Catholics: 66% - 49%
  • No religion: 6% - 35%
  • Other religions: 3% - 5%
  • Islam: 0% - 5%
Practicing Catholics: those who go to church at least once a month.
Other religions: other Christian sects, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, ...

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Hermit
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Post by Hermit » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:19 pm

Every time a survey includes "no religion" without further subdivision I wonder how many people that fall into that classification believe in chakras or some other form of supernatural mumbo-jumbo.

The percentages of the 1966, 1991 and 2016 censuses in Australia were

Christian: 88.2 - 74.0 - 52.1
Other religions: 0.7 - 2.6 - 8.2
No religion: 0.8 - 12.9 - 30.1

On that page it is noted that "no religion includes secular and other spiritual beliefs."

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Politesse
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Post by Politesse » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:24 pm

Didn't even realize that was possible! Granted, most French people I meet are tourists or exchange students, but I have never known them to be a deeply religious nation.
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

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Hermit
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Post by Hermit » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:01 am

[quote=""Politesse""]I have never known them to be a deeply religious nation.[/quote]Perhaps that is because in your lifetime France was not a deeply religious nation. Look at the figures for 1967. 91% of the population was at least nominally catholic. Only 25% of the population dragged their arses to mass at least once a month. Deeply religious? Certainly not if defined by following their Church's commandment in regard to attending mass.

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MattShizzle
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Post by MattShizzle » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:18 am

I wonder how many "nonpracticing Catholics" are nonbelievers who were inducted into the church as children but just never happened to get excommunicated. I know you see high numbers for members of the official church in Scandanavian countries with huge numbers of Atheists because they count everyone born there as a member unless they are a member of some other church or other religion.

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Hermit
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Post by Hermit » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:24 am

[quote=""MattShizzle""]I wonder how many "nonpracticing Catholics" are nonbelievers who were inducted into the church as children but just never happened to get excommunicated. I know you see high numbers for members of the official church in Scandanavian countries with huge numbers of Atheists because they count everyone born there as a member unless they are a member of some other church or other religion.[/quote]
I am probably a registered catholic in Germany. Care factor: 0.

In several European countries governments levy a tithe, typically somewhere between 0.4 and 1.6% of a believer's taxable income on behalf of some denominations, so there's a certain incentive for non-believers to officially declare themselves as such. (If you want to find out more details, (Wikipedia)Church tax is a good place to start.) On the other hand I can imagine that they might just not do that out of respect for their elderly devoutly religious relatives, or out of fear that grandma will disinherit them, and doesn't she own a lovely house?

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Politesse
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Post by Politesse » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:30 am

France did produce some very passionate Jesuit missionaries, back further in US history. Was recently reading the letters of one Pierre Biard, S.J. in connection with some other research, it was a fascinating bit of historical drama. One cannot deny that they had guts, if put to a questionable purpose.

On the other hand, they tended to get killed for lack of state military support, so plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose...
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

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Hermit
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Post by Hermit » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:38 am

[quote=""Politesse""]France did produce some very passionate Jesuit missionaries, back further in US history. Was recently reading the letters of one Pierre Biard, S.J. in connection with some other research, it was a fascinating bit of historical drama. One cannot deny that they had guts, if put to a questionable purpose.[/quote]
There have been some changes in the French religious landscape since Biard died almost 400 years ago.

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Jobar
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Post by Jobar » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:25 pm

It seems to me that though there have been fluctuations in the amount of religiosity over time in all nations, the general trend over the past several centuries is toward less and less. I suppose this is because the scientific, rationalist paradigm has proven itself far more effective in explaining the world and all that's in it, than the religious paradigm ever was.

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:00 pm

[quote=""Jobar""]It seems to me that though there have been fluctuations in the amount of religiosity over time in all nations, the general trend over the past several centuries is toward less and less. I suppose this is because the scientific, rationalist paradigm has proven itself far more effective in explaining the world and all that's in it, than the religious paradigm ever was.[/quote]
That's part of it. Another part is social services. I think that it may be more important to the rank-and-file believer than the successes of scientific-rationalist paradigms. In a now-paywalled article, a certain Tom Flynn described the retreat of the churches from a variety of things that they used to do. He started off with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire around 500 CE. If some warlord wanted to send a letter to another warlord, he'd hire a cleric to do it, and the receiving warlord would then hire a cleric to read that letter. But literacy, patronage of the arts, higher education, science, technology, medicine, diplomacy, charity, ... have all become secular, at least partially.


Organized religion 'will be driven toward extinction' in 9 countries, experts predict - Secular Café
Religious Right vs. American Christianity - Secular Café
What has religion ever done for us? - Secular Café
Is Islam driving a retreat from faith? - Secular Café
The Least Obnoxious Form of Religion for Religion Addicts? - Secular Café

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