Back on topic, I find it interesting to see the groups of countries they refer to:
There's the three big dominions (Can, Aus, NZ) and three southern Germanic (Czech, Austria, Switzerland), and the oddballs Ireland and Finland. Interesting in that neither the UK nor Germany are on this list, as those would usually be considered the "centres" of those groups (the US as the centre of english speaking culture is also not on the list).
We have two countires (Ireland, Czech Rep.) That have seen major violence in the past half century, both with some religious overtones. But we also have four (Can, Aus, NZ, Switz) that haven't seen a major foreign action on their soil in this century at all, and have no major religious issues (Quebec may have some involving the Quiet Revolution but violence was not common). Suggests that religious violence is not the major component.
Immigration was cited earlier, but that doesn't match up with the immigration patterns, Switzerland, Australia and Canada have nearly 20% of their population as immigrants, NZ 15%, Austria 14%, Ireland 13%, Netherlands 10% and Finland a mere 2%, In shrot they're all over the map, although predominantly larger than the major countries (US, UK, Germany, France and Russia are all in the 8-12% range, China sits very low). However, for examples of both very high and very low immigration with strong religion, Saudi Arabia has nearly 25% immigrants, and India is barely 0.5%, both countries large enough that statistically they aren't irrelevant.
One thing to note is that they're all relatively affluent countries with some weight in regional affairs, but not considered any of the major players on the international stage. I suspect this actually has a lot to do with it, and might explain the absence of the UK and Germany (and the US), which have enough cultural clout that what is the norm stays the norm, wheras these more regional players are strong enough that they aren't forced to conform perfectly to the major powers, but they can also have their changes slip under the radar. If Australia was to shift from largely Protestant to Largely Catholic next week it would be an important regional shift, but unlikely to be the subject of intense debate throughout the world. They are, in a sense, more free to experiment culturally than the major players (bound by their own tendencies to preserve the status quo as major powers) or the minor players (culturally swamped by the major powers).
Of course that is merely a hypothosis.
Other things of note:
Australia has a SUDDEN apperance of "no religion" between the years 1966 and 1971, could someone check that this isn't merely the first time it appeared as an option on the form rather than a write in? If it isn't then one has to wonder what occured during those years.
Austria has the first inklings of decline in the same region, but the freefall appears to be in the 80's and 00's (although the 90's were also strongly declining), but the info I have from there is bad (these are all just quick wikis for info)
Canada is likely a byproduct of the Quiet Revolution, where Quebec went from one of the highest church attendences in the West to one of the lowest over the course of the 60's. Most Quebecois are still nominally catholic, but it made for quite the cultural shift, felt by the entire country, which became much more secular.
Czech Republic has a jump from 40% to 60% across the 90's, suggesting that the END of communism resulted in more non-religious people, rather than the communist rule itself. Given how strongly the Czechs opposed the communists this is likely a case where they no longer felt the need to "protect" their traditional religion against the outsiders, but anyone who knows more about the situation is free to correct me there.
Finland shows steady growth in atheism from 1950's onwards, of roughly 2% per decade, with a sudden jump of 5% in the last decade. Any Finns want to comment on that one?
I have no history on non-religion in Ireland, because it's hard to find it amidst various other things talking about religion in Ireland. It is also at only 4% of the population, and given the complications in Ireland regarding religion a topic I won't even try to analyse.
The Netherlands shows pretty standard growth of atheism throughout the past few decades, larger than other countries, but steady. Cause unknown.
New Zealand shows an increase of 9% in 96-06 era, to a total of 48%, more history would be appreciated, since this could be a continuation of a general trend of 9% per decade, a sudden increase, any variety of things.
I again couldn't get any data on Switzleand, mostly because by this point I've spent a lot of time researching a topic which has no particular usefulness to me.
Wolydarg wrote:That was like a roller coaster of mathematical reasoning. Problems! Solutions! More problems!
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