Futuribles Journal n° 393

Société, modes de vie

Religion and Values in Europe: Socio-political Effects of the Religious Dimension among Europeans

Par

In this March-April 2013 issue, which Futuribles is devoting very largely to the social and political impact of religions, particularly on the continent of Europe, Pierre Bréchon, who coordinated the dossier, offers an analysis of the socio-political effects of the religious dimension in Europe. Drawing on the results of the last European Values Study (2008), he shows, for example, the influence of the religious factor on value-systems: the cultural differences between countries depending on the dominant religion; the influence of individual religious identities (religious affiliation, practice) in the attachment to certain values; the respective importance of the geographical and religious dimensions in value-systems etc.

It emerges, more or less, that the dominant values found in the various “georeligious” spaces identified square with those of the individuals claiming allegiance to the corresponding religion or denomination. Protestants, for example, manifest more modern values (less attachment to the traditional family model, greater liberalism on moral issues, greater politicization etc.), as do those who have no religious affiliations. Muslims and Orthodox Christians have a more traditional system of values (family, morals, authority, national pride etc.), while Catholics occupy an intermediate position. Pierre Bréchon goes on to study the specific impact of the religious variables in value-systems by way of a “ceteris paribus” statistical analysis, cross-comparing other variables (sex, age, income etc.).

He concludes that it is religious geography which introduces the most notable differences into value-systems, not the individual dimensions of religiosity (such as declared affiliations) and that, while denominational allegiance is not to any great extent a discriminating factor, degree of religiosity does, on the other hand, have distinctly more of an influence on values (in the direction of greater traditionalism) –and this is the case whatever the denomination concerned.

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