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FSD3094 Gallup Ecclesiastica 2011

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Authors

  • Church Research Institute

Keywords

beliefs, church, church and state, membership, ordination of women, protestantism, religion, religious attendance, religious beliefs, religious communities, religious doctrines, religious practice

Abstract

The survey investigated religiosity and church membership of Finnish people as well as their participation in parish activities. Questions about faith, matters related to spirituality, religious communities, and family were asked.

The respondents were first asked whether they were members of a church or other religious community. Those who were members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland were asked the importance of certain reasons for the Church membership (e.g. the possibility to participate in Church service, the Church teaches Christian love of one's neighbour) and whether they had considered quitting the Church. Those who were not members of the Church were asked whether they had previously quit the Church, what their reasons for quitting had been, whether they had considered joining the Church.

Participation in congregational and spiritual life was charted with questions focusing on, among others, how often the respondents participated in church services, the Eucharist or other spiritual events and how often they prayed, read the Bible, watched or listened to religious programmes on TV or radio, and visited web sites related to religion or the Church. A number of questions surveying satisfaction with the parish, its services, and communication were presented. The respondents were also requested to estimate how well certain adjectives described the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, using pairs of opposite adjectives (e.g. spiritual-secularised, tolerant-intolerant).

Opinions on the development of the Church were examined. The respondents were asked to what extent they agreed with statements such as "the Church should, above all, focus on helping the less fortunate" and "the Church should take a stronger stance for marriage and family", whether they would've been prepared to pay more church tax to maintain parish services, and how much they had given to charity in the previous year. Regarding the religion in the society and the relationship between church and state, the respondents were asked opinions on religious things supported and maintained by the state as well as responsibilities and rights of the Church.

Views were probed on the belief in God as well as the firmness of belief in a number of religious tenets and phenomena (e.g. the virgin birth of Jesus, Heaven, the Last Judgement). The respondents' religious identity was examined by asking whether they saw themselves as, for instance, religious, spiritual, materialistic, Christian, Lutheran, believing, born-again Christian, religious conservative, humanist, pagan, atheist or agnostic. Membership in revivalist movement or Lutheran community was queried as well as views on religious pluralism.

The respondents' religious upbringing was investigated by asking about, for example, the recital of bedtime prayer, observation of Sabbath and discussions about religious matters in the respondent's childhood home. The respondents were further asked whether they had received a religious upbringing from family members (e.g. mother, father, grandparents), and whether they intended to give their own children a religious upbringing. Attitudes towards the members of different religious communities and irreligious movements were charted as well as opinions on the use of religious symbols in public.

A number of questions charting the respondents' values were presented (e.g. same-sex marriage, same-sex relationships, and ordination of women). Questions investigating trust in institutions and opinions on national identity, equality, and ways to connect with God were presented. The respondents were asked about their religious or supernatural experiences as well as their notions and views of Jesus, the Bible and the afterlife. Finally, interest in spirituality and belief in UFOs, alternative medicine, reincarnation, and fortune-telling were investigated.

Background variables included, among others, the respondent's age, gender, marital status, economic activity and occupational status, education, region of residence, municipality type, household composition, Internet use, and political party choice as well as monthly income of the household.

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