Skip to comments.Which Country Believes in God the Most, Least?
Posted on 04/30/2012 2:51:51 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
A recently released report from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago shows which countries have the most, and the least, belief in God by population percentage.
The Philippines, a predominantly Catholic nation, was found to have the highest percentage (84 percent) of people who "know God really exists and ... have no doubts about it," and the lowest percentage (less than one percent) of people who said they "don't believe in God" at all.
The report, titled "Beliefs about God across Time and Countries," analyzes 30 countries based on surveys from the International Social Survey Programme conducted as far back as 1991 and as recently as 2008. The survey's findings do not include Middle Eastern countries where a Muslim majority exists.
Those surveyed were asked a number of questions to help researchers measure their collective belief in God. First, they asked a question to determine whether those surveyed were atheists, agnostics, deists, waivers (those who believe in God only some of the time), weak believers (those who believe but have doubts) or strong believers. They were also asked how their belief has changed during their lifetime, and whether or not they believed in a God "who concerns himself with every human being personally."
"While there is a modest, general shift away from belief in God, there is enormous variation across countries in the level of believers, atheists, and intermediate groups," the report states.
Among all the nations mentioned in the report, atheism is highest in former East Germany, where 52 percent of people don't believe in God. Smith indicates in his analysis that "countries with high atheism (and low strong belief) tend to be ex-Socialist states and countries in northwest Europe. Countries with low atheism and high strong belief tend to be Catholic societies, especially in the developing world, plus the United States, Israel, and Orthodox Cyprus."
Among Americans, 81 percent say they have always believed in God, compared to just 37 percent in Great Britain, 25 percent in Japan and 13 percent in former East Germany.
Sixty-one percent of Americans said they know God exists, while three percent identified themselves as nonbelievers.
In Japan, only nine percent of the Japanese people said they don't believe in God, yet only four percent said they know God exists the lowest out of all the countries surveyed. People from Japan were more likely to indicate that they fell somewhere in the middle, and they either believed in God some of the time or said they were agnostic.
"Japanese people actually are spiritual people. They're not religious people, but they're spiritual people ... They have a belief in a lot of different types of deities," Richard Chuman, executive director of the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society (JEMS), told The Christian Post on Monday.
Chuman says the biggest hindrance to Christianity in Japan is that it is seen primarily as a "Western religion," but there are other cultural factors as well. Many Japanese churches are very traditional, some would say behind the times, and they often adhere to firm denominational divides instead of assisting another in reaching their nation. Some of the more recently successful churches are those that are less traditional and work toward appealing to the nation's youth.
Japanese people who travel to the United States or Australia are more likely to become Christians while abroad, Chuman says, because they are removed from their culture. Often, when these Christians return to Japan, they see themselves as "catalysts for change" in their homeland.
When asked if they believe in a God "who concerns himself with every human being personally," 92 percent of people from The Philippines said they did, as compared to just 24 percent of people in Japan and 68 percent of Americans.
The study was based on data from 30 countries nearly all with Christian majorities in which surveys about belief in God have been taken since 1991.
It found that 94 percent of people in the Philippines said they had always believed in God, followed by Chile, with 88 percent, and the United States with 81 percent.
Belief was lowest in the former east Germany (13 percent) and in the Czech Republic (20 percent).
The surveys found atheism was most widespread in Scandinavia and the former Soviet Union with the exception of Poland and that belief in God was generally declining worldwide, but not in Russia, Slovenia or Israel.
The report found that senior citizens tend to believe more strongly in God. On average, 43 percent of respondents 68 and older are certain that God exists, compared to just 23 percent of those 27 and younger, the report said.
“”Beliefs about God across Time and Countries,” analyzes 30 countries based on surveys from the International Social Survey Programme conducted as far back as 1991”
“Beliefs about God across Time....as far back as 1991”
Wow! Somehow, I always assumed that “Time” was a little more grand than a mere 21 years.
I guess the old adage. “I’m 21 and I know EVERYTHING!” is still true. /s
“In Japan, only nine percent of the Japanese people said they don’t believe in God, yet only four percent said they know God exists”
I worked with Japanese people for a long time. They don’t like to say “no” to a question. They don’t want to be impolite. I think 90% of them are atheist.
Belief is highest among older adults. On average, 43 percent of those aged 68 and older are certain that God exists, compared with 23 percent of those 27 and younger, according to the report.
Many sociologists who have studied people’s beliefs in God over time contend that there is a cohort effect; young people who are more likely to doubt God’s existence carry their disbelief with them as they age, meaning that societies as a whole are tending to become more secular. But the NORC study suggests it’s possible instead that people change their beliefs over time.
Looking at differences among age groups, the largest increases in belief in God most often occur among those 58 years of age and older. This suggests that belief in God is especially likely to increase among the oldest groups, perhaps in response to the increasing anticipation of mortality, Smith said. He noted that the higher level of belief does not appear to be simply a cohort effect.
In the United States, for instance, 54 percent of people younger than 28 said they were certain of Gods existence, compared with 66 percent of the people 68 and older.
In countries with low overall belief in God, the difference in belief between age groups is also strong. In France, for example, 8 percent of younger people said they were certain that God exists, compared with 26 percent of the people 68 and older. In Austria, 8 percent of the younger generation said they were certain in their belief, while 32 percent of people 68 and older were confident of Gods existence.
The surveys were taken in 1991, 1998 and 2008, when 42 countries were surveyed. The study was done on countries that had been surveyed at least twice.
“I worked with Japanese people for a long time. They dont like to say no to a question. They dont want to be impolite. I think 90% of them are atheist.”
Earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear meltdowns strike Japan because of that fact.
Certain of G-d’s existence:
Japan: 4.3 percent
East Germany: 7.8 percent
Czech Republic: 11.1
Great Britain: 16.8
The Netherlands: 21.2
New Zealand: 26.4
West Germany: 26.7
Northern Ireland: 45.6
United States: 60.6
The Philippines: 83.6
East Germany and West Germany?!?!?!?!?! Where did Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union end up on this list?
“You believe in God? You do well; the devils believe also, and tremble.” James 2:19.
The issue isn’t BELIEVING IN God, it’s BELIEVING God.
“Where did Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union end up on this list?”
There is no Soviet Union or Yugoslavia in today’s world.
I was, owever, happy to see that my former country of residence, Slovakia, is as high as it is, and my present country, Philippines, is highest.
What a copout. East Germany doesn't exist anymore. What CURRENT nation has the lowest belief in God?
Looks like from this list, the agnostics and atheists are gaining ground in the West.
“East Germany and West Germany?!?!?!?!?! Where did Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union end up on this list?”
I just woke up, and did not catch your sarcasm.
I guess it would have been too complicated to list all the former Soviet countries, and same with Yugoslavia.
As for Germany, I guess they split is because of the large difference in the poll.
I search in vain for South Korea on that list. For many years, Christianity has been growing the fastest in South Korea and nearly a third of their population are either Catholic or Protestant.
That growth rate might be overtaken by China pretty soon.
WTF does that mean?
The Czech Republic has one of the lowest percentages of people who definitely believe in God, which is no surprise. I think they had an unusually high percentage of "freethinkers" even before the Communist period. It may go back to the Hussite movement being forcibly suppressed and later the Habsburgs imposing Catholicism on Bohemia and Moravia--resistance to Habsburg political control may have encouraged resistance to the established church, just as resistance to English rule in Ireland may have contributed to the people's strong historic loyalty to the Catholic faith.
I wonder how God “processes information” on souls that have had little or no exposure to Him themselves because of the societies they live in which these “surveys” take up.
Maybe this article on the difference between VINCIBLE and INVINCIBLE ignorance can help:
Thanks. Reading that piece actually helped me to remember two Bible verses that I’d always been fond of.
Deuteronmy 4:19...And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.
Malachi 1:11...For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.