Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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dogemperor [userpic]
Surprised? You'd better not be...


I don't think any of us here can really be surprised by the findings of this poll; what folks might find interesting is how the US stacks up compared to the rest of the world... like those 'Cheese-Eating Surrender-Monkeys', France:

A nation under God: US tops religious poll

Religious devotion sets the United States apart from some of its closest allies.

Americans profess unquestioning belief in God and support mixing faith and politics at much higher rates than people in other countries, a poll has found.

Respondents in Western Europe, where Pope Benedict XVI has complained that growing secularism has left churches unfilled on Sundays, were the least devout among the countries surveyed.

Only Mexicans come close to Americans in embracing faith, among 10 countries polled for Associated Press by Ipsos. Unlike Americans, Mexicans strongly object to clergy lobbying lawmakers, in line with Mexico's historic opposition to church influence.

The polling was conducted last month in the US, Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, South Korea and Spain.

Nearly all US respondents said faith was important to them and only 2 per cent said they did not believe in God. Almost 40 per cent said religious leaders should try to sway policymakers. "Our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian policies and religious leaders have an obligation to speak out on public policy, otherwise they're wimps," said David Black, a retiree from Pennsylvania, who was polled.

By contrast, 85 per cent of French objected to clergy activism. France has strict curbs on public religious expression and, according to the poll, one of the largest shares of atheists: 19 per cent, equalled only by South Korea.

Australians were generally split over the importance of faith, while two-thirds of South Koreans and Canadians said religion was central to their lives.

Brent Nelsen, an expert in politics and religion at Furman University in South Carolina, said researchers disagreed over why the US had such a different religious outlook.

Some say rejecting religion is a natural response to modernisation and consider the US an exception. Others say Europe is the anomaly; people in modernised countries inevitably return to religion because they yearn for tradition.

One theory is that a long history of religious freedom in the US created more worship options than in other countries, and that inspired wider observance. Some European countries subsidise churches, in effect regulating or limiting religious options.

"In the United States, you have an abundance of religions trying to motivate Americans to greater involvement," said Roger Finke, a sociologist at Penn State University. "It's one thing that makes a tremendous difference here."

Many countries other than the US have been through bloody religious conflict that contributes to their suspicion of giving clergy any say in policy. Various factors contribute to a strong sense of separation of religion and government in those countries.

In Spain, where the government subsidises the Catholic Church, and in Germany, which is split between Catholics and Protestants, people were about evenly divided over whether they consider faith important. The results were almost identical in Britain, whose state church, the Church of England, is struggling to fill pews.

Italians were the only European exception in the poll. Eighty per cent said religion was significant to them and just over half said they unquestioningly believed in God. Even in Italy, resistance to religion in politics was evident.

About 1000 adults were polled in each of the 10 countries, with the margin of error plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Source: Stuff.co.nz

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