We recently reported that Argentines were partying and drinking fernet instead of partaking in the Eucharist this Easter. Though there is an Argentine pope in the Vatican and an entrenched legacy of the Catholic Church in the country, the question remains – are modern day Argentines still all that religious?
The answers seems to be ‘yes’
72 percent of Argentines identified as religious, according to a new study conducted by Gallup International and the WI Network of Market Research. 16 percent identified as not being religious, and 4 percent identified as being convinced atheists. A further 8 percent failed to give a response or simply claimed they did not know.
But, is this really that religious in comparison to other countries?
While not as high as levels in the Middle East and Africa (93 percent in Morocco, for example), a rate of 72 puts Argentina at above-average levels of religiosity.
Such findings were common in the rest of Latin America, which overall reported high levels of religious identity despite decline and stasis in North America, East Asia and Europe. 82 percent of Colombians and Peruvians, 81 percent of Panamanians, 79 percent of Brazilians and 68 percent of Ecuadorians and Mexicans identified as religious.
On the contrary, 90 percent of Chinese, 76 percent of Swedes and 75 percent of Czechs reporting being atheist or as not being religious. In one of the most shocking finds, 65 percent of Israelis reported being atheist or as not being religious, challenging perceptions of Israel as a bastion of Judaism.
While Argentine culture shares much with Europe and North America, it seems religious trends of the Western World are not taking hold so strongly here. While 6 out of 10 people in the overall study identified as religious, there persists a marked decline in the importance of religion in the West. The United States maintained higher levels, with 56 percent identifying as religious. Australia came in at 34 percent, Canada at 40, Germany at 34, France at 40 and Spain at 37. Italy was the anomaly of the West, with a rate of 74 percent.
The study looked at 65 countries and is based on a total of 63,898 interviews.
Such news will inspire both glee for religious adherents and chagrin for staunch secularists in Argentina. Let’s all just agree on the good news that this could mean more episodes of Esperanza Mía (aka “Nuns Behaving Badly”)…