In general terms, The “Global South” is the “highly religious” versus the “largely secular Global North”. This is one of the main findings of the Ipsos study ‘Global religions 2023: Religious beliefs around the world’, a survey conducted in 26 countries between January 20 and February 3, 2023. For this research, the interviews totaled 19,731. Adults over the age of 18.
These north-south differences are visible when it is verified that in India and Thailand the number of respondents reaches almost 100%, which is not even half in Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Netherlands, Greater Brittany.. . These differences widen further when it comes to religious practice. Whereas in India, seven out of ten people practice their religion, and half the population visits a place of worship at least once a month, be it a mosque or a church, in South Africa or Brazil, out of ten believers Only one lives his faith with a certain daily life in Belgium and Hungary.
In the study, when interviewees were asked whether their religion defined them as people, their response was also significant. Again, India (86%) and Thailand (76%) lead the ‘yes’, two countries that are majority non-Christian. Belgium (27%), Germany (24%) and Hungary (15%) are among the nations whose citizens do not link their faith to their personal identity.
In the same way, it is appreciated that “they are emerging significant generational change In many of the 26 countries surveyed, young people are less likely to identify as Christian, especially Catholic, and more likely to identify as Muslim or another religion than older adults.
Gap between countries
Thus, in the 16 most Catholic countries that participated in the survey, the percentage of Z-generation young people born after 1996—who identify with Catholicism, compared to those of ‘baby boomers’ born before 1965 I have an average of 16 marks less. In countries such as Belgium, Italy, Peru, Poland, France and Chile, the difference is more than 20%. This pattern would also be repeated in countries with a significant presence of Protestant and evangelical Christians, such as Sweden and Australia.
However, in countries with at least 2% Muslims, Generation Z has more people than ‘Boomers’ who identify with Islam, With a positive margin of around 10% in Great Britain, Sweden and Belgium. The diaspora will be the reality behind this change of cycle.
In the case of those who consider themselves atheists, agnostics or simply spiritual, the generation gap is not so homogeneous. At the top of secularism would be South Korea and Italy, Where there are 20% more non-believers among young people than in previous generations.
From a global point of view and, following data collection carried out by Ipsos, 40 percent of the world’s population believes in God as described by the great religions, whether in the Bible, the Koran, the Torah … 21% say they do not believe in God or any form of spirituality. 20% of those surveyed say they believe in a supreme power Om in spirituality, but not in the God that the main holy books collect. The remaining 19% do not know the answer or do not answer.
Between heaven and hell
Respondents to 26 questions are also asked whether they believe in heaven, hell, the devil, and supernatural figures such as angels, fairies, demons, ghosts… Results? 52% of participants believe in heaven, but only 41% believe in hell and the devil. 49% say they believe in spiritual beings such as angels, ghosts … The report paradoxically states that “the younger they are, the more likely they are to believe in heaven, hell, the devil and spirits, Especially in countries where trust is low among adults.”
The epos also delves into the study of religious tolerance. The average number of adults surveyed who say they feel comfortable with people of different faiths is 76% across 26 countries. At the top of this ranking would be South Africa (92%), Singapore (89%) and Australia (88%), while Spanish (68%), Japanese (59%), German (56%) and South Korean (53%). Comparing this data with the report published five years earlier shows that religious tolerance has increased significantly in Sweden, Brazil, Belgium, Mexico and Poland, while it has decreased in South Korea and Germany.