Thursday, October 1, 2009

A survey

Of all the religions in the world, which one do you think is the least religious? That is to say, which religion includes the largest number/percentage of people who identify with that religion while simultaneously identifying as atheist, agnostic, irreligious, non-believer, etc.?

I'm torn between the Jews and the Anglicans, but there are strong contenders in the Catholics and Unitarians.


Alexandra said...

My money is so totes on the Jews. Lots of people seem to identify as culturally Jewish, for instance, but I ain't never come across a cultural Anglican. For better or worse, I think there's a tendency to see Judaism (and probably some other non-Christian religions, like maybe Islam?) as ethnicities as much as as religions, so people can identify with them in a secular way. Of course, denominations like Anglicanism and Catholicism are also linked to ethnicity, but because it's a largely white, Christian, "normative" ethnicity, it goes unmarked.

Ian said...

Of the Westernish religions, I'd bank on the Jews as well. The Papes are a strong runner-up, but I think we have a lot of people (in the Western hemisphere, at least) who would say their religious beliefs are Catholic, even if they don't go to church or agree with its teachings. There are lots of irreligious but Catholic-identifying Europeans, but they might be balanced out by Catholic populations in Asia and (especially) Africa who are relatively new converts and thus largely religious.

One thing I'm never sure of is how much, in general, run-of-the-mill Protestants identify as their sect rather than as generally Christian, or Protestant Christian. For unbelieving Anglicans and others who might even go to church on the major holidays as a social obligation/event, I would guess that many might say they are Christian, but maybe not specifically Anglican.

I don't know a huge amount about Unitarian theology (such that it is), but isn't it part of the whole deal that you can be atheist/agnostic/whatever and still be an observant member? That would seem like it might disqualify them for your purposes.

As an aside, the word that I had to type to verify that I'm a human being was "spenden." Perhaps blogger is running into a fund shortage?