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France among the most secular countries

According to this piece in The Economist, over 50% of French never go to religious services (except for special occasions like weddings and christenings). See chart below. What is even more interesting is the variety of results across Europe. The poll includes Russia and Israel but not Ireland, very curious, since Ireland is one of the most religious countries in Europe. No surprise for France, where secularism is a strong notion and part of the country’s cultural fabric, after centuries of domination by the Church in state affairs and wars of religion.

This is not to say there are not opportunities to participate in religious services in France (I know of English-speaking churches in Paris, for expats, for example). Au contraire. But it’s important to take into account cultural differences to understand a country’s collective mindset.

from the Economist, Aug. 9, 2010

  1. August 22nd, 2010 at 02:07 | #1

    Very interesting report! I would have expected that number to be much much higher in Europe.

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