A new survey by the Pew Research Center revealed that despite low church attendance, most people in Western Europe identify as Christians.
The study of religious beliefs and practices in 15 Western European nations showed that while majority of adults were baptized, few of them regularly attend church. Researchers interviewed 24,000 individuals, half of whom are Christians.
Despite being predominantly secular, Western Europe continues to identify as Christians.
For the purposes of the study, the Pew Research Center defines non-practicing Christians as those who attend church services no more than once a month.
Non-practicing Christians outnumber those who regularly attend church in all countries surveyed, except in Italy. Finland has the largest number of non-practicing Christians (68%) compared to its church-attending peers (9%). In Italy, 40% of the population are practicing Christians, while Portugal is at 35%. Only 22% Germans are practicing Christians, and 18% in France.
The survey also showed that non-practicing Christians is higher in number than the religiously unaffiliated population which includes agnostics and atheists. Even the number of immigrants with other faiths didn’t surpass the group of non-practicing Christians.
One interesting finding of the Pew survey is that despite being predominantly secular, Western Europe continues to identify as Christians. It noted that the views of non-practicing Christians about cultural, religious and political issues differ from church-attending Christians.
Non-practicing Christians admitted believing in a higher power or spiritual force, but not like the depiction of God in the Bible practicing Christians believe. The religiously unaffiliated group does not believe in any higher power in the universe.
Church-attending Christians are observed to be more conservative on issues about legal abortion and same-sex marriage. The majority of them who are parents or guardians said they are raising children under 18 years old in the Christian faith.