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FSD2229 Religion and the Finns 2006

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  • International Social Survey Programme (ISSP)
  • Blom, Raimo (University of Tampere. Department of Sociology and Social Psychology)
  • Melin, Harri (University of Turku. Department of Sociology)


church, cloning, euthanasia, religion, religious behaviour, religious beliefs, religious communities, religious doctrines, religious experience, religious groups, religious practice, supernatural


The survey charts the religiosity of the Finns, their attitudes on religion, and their views on different religions and denominations. The dataset is the Finnish pre-test data for the ISSP 2008 survey.

First, the respondents were asked whether they thought all religious groups should have equal rights, whether religion influences politics too much, whether people who are prejudiced against some nationality should be allowed to express their views in public, and whether religious extremists should be allowed to hold public meetings, publish books or Internet pages, and express their views on the media. They were also asked whether they would accept a person from a different religion to marry their relative or to be a candidate of the political party they prefer. Further questions probed the respondents' attitudes towards different religions and denominations and whether practicing a religion helps people to find inner peace and happiness, to maintain good family relations, to gain comfort, to make friends, to meet the right kind of people, or to improve one's financial status. They were also presented with a set of attitudinal statements on the similarity between the purposes of different religions, on worshipping deceased ancestors, on the human ability to find perfect freedom from earthly suffering by his/her own strength, and on men's higher status in religious meetings and ceremonies.

Religiosity was charted by asking whether the respondents believed in life after death, Hell, Heaven, religious miracles, reincarnation, Nirvana, or the supernatural powers of deceased ancestors. They were also asked how often they thanked God or asked for something when praying, how people can find salvation (if it exists), how they would describe their own religiosity, how often they had felt the presence of a spiritual power, whether they had religious objects on display in their home, and how often they took part in the activities, organisations or services of a church. Further questions charted whether the respondents had made some personal sacrifice as an expression of their faith during the past year (e.g. fasting), how often they prayed, how religious or spiritual they considered themselves to be, and whether they belonged to a church or other religious group. Opinions on euthanasia and cloning humans were also canvassed.

Background variables included the respondent's year of birth, marital status, education, spouse's education, household composition, household size, occupational status, industry of employment, trade union membership, annual household income, annual personal income, type of accommodation, financial circumstances, province of residence, region of residence (NUTS3 and NUTS2), type of municipality, social class, political party preference, and left-right political self-placement.

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