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Author Topic: New poll on the religious beliefs and practices of Russians  (Read 3196 times) Average Rating: 0
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pensateomnia
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« on: December 12, 2006, 09:50:34 AM »

Poll: Siberia is the most atheistic part of Russia

All-Russian Opinion Poll Survey Center (AOPSC) conducted a poll to reveal the attitude of the Russians to religion on December 2-3.

The poll showed that Orthodox Christianity remains the main religion in the Russian society. 63% of the respondents named themselves Orthodox Christians, 6% are Muslims, and 12% stated they "believe in God but practice no particular religion". There are 1% of Catholics and Buddhists each, 16% are atheists, and 1% abstained from answering.

Moreover, the outcomes of the poll differ greatly in the federal districts. Most of atheists live in the Privolzhye Federal District, followed by South Federal District, where 9% do.

Siberia has the majority of atheists – 36%, being ahead of Ural Federal District – 23%. Far Eastern Federal District has a considerable number of Buddhists - 8% and the highest percentage of Catholics – 5%.

Answering the question "What is religion for you?", the respondents mentioned the following: participation in all the religious rites and church services – 9%, a national tradition, the belief of my ancestors – 36%, personal salvation, communication with God – 16%, a part of the world culture and history – 16%, following moral norms – 28%, I am not interested in religion – 14%, no answer – 3%.

4% of the poll participants worship every day, 3% - every week, 4% - every month, 26% - on holidays only, 24% - from time to time, 37% do not follow any rites. The highest number of people, who follow the rites every day, live in towns with population more than 500 thousand (6%), and villages (5%), in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg residents only 1% do. The number of those who worship every day differs according to the gender: men – 2%, women – 6%.

The study also revealed whom Orthodox Christians consider enemies of their religion. 5% mentioned non-Christian believers, 2% - other branches of Christianity, 4% - atheists and non-believers, 26% - named members of sects, 9% - occultists, followers of white magic and black art, 9% - astrologers, 24% - no one, 23% said "I am not an Orthodox believer", and 8% gave no answer.

Permanent news address: http://english.newslab.ru/news/208375
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2006, 01:49:31 PM »

This is pretty surprising.  You would think that in Siberia people would turn to God cuz that's the only thing that's out there...

Very interesting... Undecided
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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2006, 02:42:02 PM »

Those who have actually studied Russian history (unlike me) will probably come in and correct me here, but I was under the impression that those in the central and far-eastern areas of Russia were least Christianized over the centuries, and retained more of their pre-Christian customs and beliefs than the more populated and more closely governed western region(s). That might account for what's gone on since the the fall of communism, with those who were most Christian before the soviets returning to Christianity, and those who were least Christian to begin with having many less become Christian now.
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2006, 03:07:09 PM »

No, that doesn't suprise me.  Also, there are a lot of non-Russian, but Asiatic groups in Siberia still too.  So, I believe you're correct Asteriktos.  Also, in the timespan of Russia, Siberia is actually more of a newer gain.  The only thing that I find interesting, though, is the high Orthodox population in Alaska specifically among the natives.  Perhaps it was due to more agressive missionary tactics or it became a way to distinguish themselves from Americans culturally.  I do not know.

Also, percentage wise, once you remove Moscow and St. Petersburg from the equation, I find it interesting that most Russian Orthodox imigrants I know are from the Southern part of Russia.  I don't know if this is a sign of anything, but it seems to be more common in my limited experience than Northern Orthodox.
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2006, 04:09:17 PM »

I think many Atheists come from the many years of Soviet rule. Because religion was so hated in communist society, children who were born and grew up in the U.S.S.R probably have a hate/fear/distrust of religion engrained in them.
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2006, 04:36:21 PM »

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Because religion was so hated in communist society, children who were born and grew up in the U.S.S.R probably have a hate/fear/distrust of religion engrained in them.

I don't think it is that so much that as people grew disgruntled when the Church cooperated with the communists.  I know several Romanians who cite that as one of the reasons they left the Orthodox Church.  Might be an interesting theory as look where the ROCOR is the strongest in Russia - they have parishes and a bishop in Ishim and had (I think they stopped commorating?) a bishop with parishes in the rural south / eastern Ukraine. 
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2006, 05:07:07 PM »

Only 16 percent of those interviewed felt like that their religious experience involved personal salvation and communication with God. If even the more religious elements of society don't find such things in their religion, it's not surprising that the less religious would eventually drift into atheism or indifference.
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2006, 05:43:22 PM »

You would think that in Siberia people would turn to God cuz that's the only thing that's out there...
Actually, I'm not surprised at all. My own experience here in Australia is that harsh environments tend to produce atheists/agnostics. I think it is related to "Marslow's Hierarchy of Needs"- if a lot of your energy is spent in coping with extreme conditions and needs such as food, shelter, saftey etc become a priority, it is very difficult to find the energy to attend to the "higher" needs.
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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2006, 05:59:08 PM »

Actually, I'm not surprised at all. My own experience here in Australia is that harsh environments tend to produce atheists/agnostics. I think it is related to "Marslow's Hierarchy of Needs"- if a lot of your energy is spent in coping with extreme conditions and needs such as food, shelter, saftey etc become a priority, it is very difficult to find the energy to attend to the "higher" needs.


Out of curiosity, why do you think people like the Cyprianites and Athonite monks have such a success in Congo, but missions in America are small and proceeding slowly?

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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2006, 06:14:57 PM »

Out of curiosity, why do you think people like the Cyprianites and Athonite monks have such a success in Congo, but missions in America are small and proceeding slowly?
Because decadence also leads to Atheism and Agnosticism.
I have a collection of Letters of Blessed Mary MacKillop, an Australian Roman Catholic nun who founded the Brown Josephite order here which worked to provide Catholic education to the poor. In one of her letters she writes: "Preserve me o Lord from the kind of poverty, and the kind of wealth which would make me forget You."
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« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2006, 06:23:01 PM »

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My own experience here in Australia is that harsh environments tend to produce atheists/agnostics.

Is this among the indigenous population or those of European descent or both?

Quote
Out of curiosity, why do you think people like the Cyprianites and Athonite monks have such a success in Congo, but missions in America are small and proceeding slowly?

You and I already debated this before, but I'd like to throw out this argument to get some feedback and critique.  I think it was Simon Kuznets that came up with the economic idea about it being easier for completely undeveloped nations to industrialize than semideveloped nations.... anyway along the same lines it is far easier to bring someone to Orthodoxy from a tribal religion or some other "unadvanced" religious system than to convert someone from another branch of Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.  
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« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2006, 06:30:34 PM »

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Because decadence also leads to Atheism and Agnosticism.

If this filthy atheist might suggest an alternative... an alternative given by your Church Fathers...  Grin

Gregory the Theologian and others dealt with this, albeit in a slightly different context. They compared teaching someone new to Christianity like writing/sealing wax (they sometimes also used the image of writing on a heart or a stone tablet)... if there was already something there, then it would be difficult to see the new writing/seal. On the other hand, if the wax was fairly clear, then the writing would be much easier. One reason it's probably difficult to missionize in America is that most Americans (whether they are active Christians or not) already have a lot of ideas about religion, and especially Christianity. Of course, those in central Africa also would have beliefs, but they would be of a different type, and the systematic, ornate, learned Christian beliefs and practices would be perceived much differently in Africa, as compared to how your average westerner would perceive Christian missionaries. Most Americans feel like they already have their wax sealed with Christianity, and are quite comfortable where they are. After all, a forum like this where most people have converted from one religion/sect to another is an extreme exception.
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« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2006, 06:37:45 PM »

Is this among the indigenous population or those of European descent or both?
Those of European Descent. The indigenous population is neither poor by their own standard, nor unspiritual by anyone's standards.

There is no virtue in coming to Faith in Christ because we have no other choice. The poor who come to Christ are blessed not because they came to Christ due to their poverty, but because they managed to come to Christ despite their poverty.
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« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2006, 08:03:15 AM »

If this filthy atheist might suggest an alternative... an alternative given by your Church Fathers...  Grin

Gregory the Theologian and others dealt with this, albeit in a slightly different context. They compared teaching someone new to Christianity like writing/sealing wax (they sometimes also used the image of writing on a heart or a stone tablet)... if there was already something there, then it would be difficult to see the new writing/seal. On the other hand, if the wax was fairly clear, then the writing would be much easier. One reason it's probably difficult to missionize in America is that most Americans (whether they are active Christians or not) already have a lot of ideas about religion, and especially Christianity. Of course, those in central Africa also would have beliefs, but they would be of a different type, and the systematic, ornate, learned Christian beliefs and practices would be perceived much differently in Africa, as compared to how your average westerner would perceive Christian missionaries. Most Americans feel like they already have their wax sealed with Christianity, and are quite comfortable where they are. After all, a forum like this where most people have converted from one religion/sect to another is an extreme exception.

Face it. You're just decadent. Wink
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« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2006, 08:12:06 AM »

Actually that is something I have thought about. I guess the easiest way to put it is, according to Christian views, I am indeed immoral, as are most Orthodox Christians (though they confess it and somehow become moral again for a time). However, since I have rejected the Christian moral compass as the criteria with which to judge my own actions, I don't personally feel any guilt about, say, masturbating. Immoral in the Church's eyes, not in mine or the majority of society's. Smiley
« Last Edit: December 15, 2006, 08:12:32 AM by Asteriktos » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2006, 08:21:31 AM »

Actually that is something I have thought about. I guess the easiest way to put it is, according to Christian views, I am indeed immoral, as are most Orthodox Christians...
Who said anything about "immorality"? You're just plain decadent. Cheesy
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« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2006, 10:04:31 AM »

Actually that is something I have thought about. I guess the easiest way to put it is, according to Christian views, I am indeed immoral, as are most Orthodox Christians (though they confess it and somehow become moral again for a time). However, since I have rejected the Christian moral compass as the criteria with which to judge my own actions, I don't personally feel any guilt about, say, masturbating. Immoral in the Church's eyes, not in mine or the majority of society's. Smiley

Whoa, a wee bit more detail than I expected. Embarrassed
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