Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Irish "Nones"

Downtown Monroe

Historian Philip Jenkins (Baylor University) writes on "The Irish Nones" in The Christian Century." A "none" is someone who, when asked about their religious affiliation, answers "none." (On "nones" see here, here, and here.)

Ireland is now undergoing a process of secularization. Jenkins writes: "If the Catholic Church’s worst fears are realized, Ireland could soon be one of Europe’s least religious countries." Clergy abuse scandals have done much to fuel this. In  some ways this was worse in Ireland than in the United States due to "the very tight alliance between secular and religious authorities."

"Last year, a WIN-Gallup survey gave an eye-opening view of contemporary Ireland: 44 percent of Irish people declared themselves “not religious,” with 10 percent opting for the atheist label. Just between 2005 and 2011, Ireland’s combined atheist/nonreligious population almost doubled, from 28 to 54 percent, leaving the self-described “religious” as a minority. In a very few years, the country’s religious scene has changed dramatically."