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Leaders often cite European values when defending their stances on highly charged political topics. In many of these countries, the surveys show that people are less receptive to religious and cultural pluralism than they are in Western Europe — challenging the notion of universal assent to a set of European values. These are not the only issues dividing Eastern and Western Europe. It is different from Western Europe. This is not to suggest that support for multiculturalism is universal even in Western Europe.

Substantial shares of the public in many Western European countries view being Christian as a key component of their national identity and say they would not accept Muslims or Jews as relatives. And of course, the United Kingdom voted in to leave the European Union, which many have suggested came in part due to concerns about immigration and open borders.

But on the whole, people in Western European countries are much more likely than their neighbors in the East to embrace multiculturalism. Majorities favor same-sex marriage in every Western European country surveyed, and nearly all of these countries have legalized the practice. Public sentiment is very different in Central and Eastern Europe, where majorities in nearly all countries surveyed oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally.

None of the Central and Eastern European countries surveyed allow same-sex marriages. In some cases, these views are almost universally held.

Religious and Sexual Nationalisms in Central and Eastern Europe | AISSECO

Fully nine-in-ten Russians, for instance, oppose legal same-sex marriage, while similarly lopsided majorities in the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally. But in the East, views are more varied.


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To be sure, some Central and Eastern European countries, such as the Czech Republic, Estonia and Bulgaria, overwhelmingly favor legal abortion. But in several others, including Poland, Russia and Ukraine, the balance of opinion tilts in the other direction, with respondents more likely to say that abortion should be mostly or entirely illegal.

This pattern holds across the region; young adults in nearly every Central and Eastern European country are much more conservative on this issue compared with both younger and older Western Europeans. In addition, when it comes to views about Muslims and Jews, young adults in most countries in Central and Eastern Europe are no more accepting than their elders. Consequently, those in this younger generation in Central and Eastern Europe are much less likely than their peers in Western Europe to express openness to having Muslims or Jews in their families.

The Central and Eastern Europe surveys were conducted via face-to-face-interviews, while Western Europeans were surveyed by telephone. See Methodology for details. Christianity has long been the prevailing religion in Europe, and it remains the majority religious affiliation in 27 of the 34 countries surveyed.

But historical schisms underlie this common religious identity: Each of the three major Christian traditions — Catholicism, Protestantism and Orthodoxy — predominates in a certain part of the continent. Catholic-majority countries are prevalent in the central and southwestern parts of Europe, cutting a swath from Lithuania through Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, and then extending westward across Croatia, Austria, Italy and France to the Iberian Peninsula.

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And Protestantism is the dominant Christian tradition in much of Northern Europe, particularly Scandinavia. There are substantial populations belonging to non-Christian religions — particularly Islam — in many European countries. In Bosnia, roughly half of the population is Muslim, while Russia and Bulgaria have sizable Muslim minority populations.

But in most other countries surveyed, Muslims and Jews make up relatively small shares of the population, and surveys often are not able to reliably measure their precise size. While large majorities across the continent say they were baptized Christian, and most European countries still have solid Christian majorities, the survey responses indicate a significant decline in Christian affiliation throughout Western Europe.

By contrast, this trend has not been seen in Central and Eastern Europe, where Christian shares of the population have mostly been stable or even increasing. Indeed, in a part of the region where communist regimes once repressed religious worship, Christian affiliation has shown a resurgence in some countries since the fall of the USSR in In most other parts of Central and Eastern Europe, Christian shares of the population have been relatively stable by this measure. Meanwhile, far fewer Western Europeans say they are currently Christian than say they were raised Christian.

What are the reasons for these opposing patterns on different sides of the continent? Some appear to be political: In Russia and Ukraine , the most common explanation given by those who were raised without a religion but are now Orthodox is that religion has become more acceptable in society. Another important reason is a connection with their national heritage.

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In Western Europe, there are a variety of reasons why many adults who were raised Christian have become unaffiliated. Not only is religious affiliation on the decline in Western Europe, religious commitment also is generally lower there than in Central and Eastern Europe. The call : the life and message of the Apostle Paul. Simply good news : why the gospel is news and what makes it good. The experience of God : being, consciousness, bliss. The many faces of Christ : the thousand-year story of the survival and influence of the lost gospels.

Gods, Gays and Governments

Christ's first theologian : the shape of Paul's thought. The art of conversion : Christian visual culture in the Kingdom of Kongo. Ryan J. Nate Breznau, Valerie A. Evans "A Clash of Civilizations? Religion and Society in Central and Eastern Europe 4 1 , , Fredrick Solt, Philip Habel, and J. Sinisa Zrinscak.

Michael D. Daniel P. William F. Richard Traunmuller "Segen oder Fluch? Religion zwischen Zivilgesellschaft und politischem System.

Religious and Sexual Nationalisms in Central and Eastern Europe: Gods, Gays, and Governments

Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, , Gert Pickel "Secularization as and European Fate? Religion, state, and society: Jefferson's wall of separation in comparative perspective , New York: Palgrave Macmillan, Lauren E. Robert J. McCleary "Which countries have state religions?


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Allison R. Brian N. The RAS project sends periodic e-mail notices of publications and updates of the dataset.