Thursday, November 30, 2006

Post-Christian Europe, part II   posted by Razib @ 11/30/2006 10:44:00 PM

My post about Post-Christian Europe attracted several responses. Below I took the data from the chart rank ordering by belief in God. You note that as belief in God decreases, lack of belief in God or a Spirit increases as well, but belief in Spirit increases to a greater extent than lack of any belief at all.

Here is data from the least God-believing nation in the EU, Estonia,

Q: What religion is the dearest, most cherished for you?

* Lutheran 39%
* Orthodox 28%
* Roman Catholic 10%
* Taara Religion 6%
* Estonian Indigenous Religion/Estonian Native Religion 5%
* Baptist 5%
* Buddhism 4%
* Jehovah's Witnesses 3%
* Pentecostalists 3%
* Old Believers 2%
* Hinduism 1%
* Mormonism 1%
* Islam less than 1%
* Other 4%
* None 19%

Note that 11% of Estonians are now explicit Neo-Pagans.

At Blogs for Bush Mark Noonan states:
Europeans aren't having children. Without the impetus of belief in a definitive God who rules the universe, having children just becomes an expensive nusiance. Most European countries are suffering net loss in population - save for those countries which continue to allow mass immigration from Arab nations.

This is a common opinion. Secular European societies are dying. But this avoids an interesting point. There isn't much of a correlation between European societies for birthrate and God belief. I acknowledge that within societies there is probably a positive correlation between religiosity and fecundity (aside from a few exceptions like South Korea, where greater religiosity predicts higher socioeconomic status), but as you note below there is a rather flat trendline, and that is birthrate normalized to the modal value (Ireland). Here are the values for the United States....

"Which of the following statements comes closest to your belief about God: you believe in God; you don't believe in God, but you believe in some other universal spirit or higher power; or you don't believe in either?"

God: 82%
Spirit: 9%
Neither: 8%
Unsure: 1%