Monday, January 03, 2011

Is Russia becoming more religious?

Bruce Charlton writes that Russians might have "turned a corner and reversed their decades-long civilizational decline." He points to Russia's return to Orthodoxy as an explanation. But is it true that Russians are becoming more religious?

The World Values Survey has asked Russians since 1990 about the frequency of their church attendance. I limited my analysis to Russians with university educations since the actions of leaders are most important. I calculated the percent of people who go to church at least for major holidays:

Percent attending on major holidays or more frequently

1990 13.8
1995 23.6
1999 24.4
2006 37.1

That's a pretty big increase. And let us not forget that Russians stand for the entire service (pews are available only for the sick and elderly) which runs about 2 1/2 hours. That's dedication.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Could it be because of the growing Muslim populations?

Anonymous said...

If Russia has any hope of a revival of its birthrates, its religion.

Jason Malloy said...

Surveys from the 1990s showed that a majority of male Russian high school students wanted to be gangsters and a majority of females wanted to be prostitutes. Russia isn't rich enough to be secular. It needs to regain the organic cultural structures that help poor white people cultivate a high future orientation.

bgc said...

Thanks for this analysis. I didn't know these numbers before now. But there isn't any real doubt about the Orthodox revival in Russia, it is a huge phenomenon.

What makes this different from any other Christian revival since the industrial revolution is that it is being supported and led by the ruling elites.

Interestingly, all this was explicitly prophesied (although without a specific timescale) by numerous Russian Saints and holy men from before the 1917 revolution, over the decades following, and (again and again) before the 1989 collapse of communism.

Fr Seraphim Rose (died 1982) wrote very extensively on the subject.

A major Orthodox revival seemed (literally) incredible at that time, according to worldly-calculations; but it has happened nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Can you tell from the WVS whether those attending are brighter/more educated on average than non attenders? Or whether there is a bi modal distribution of non-attenders, ie stupid thugs and smart atheists?

Seán McGouran said...

Has there not been a religious revival everywhere? Roman Catholicism is flourishing (the Pentecostalists in Brazil are in a awkward position - the USA is no longer enviable - and always did bully Brazil. So the RC church is not merely comparatively 'fashionable' - it's properly Brazilian.)
In Ireland, an alarmed Humanoid told me recently that he'd gone to Mass in deepest Tyrone (to placate his family) he reported that it 'was crowded, including young people'. The London papers were astounded by the young Poles some years ago - kneeling, in the rain, outside of packed churches.

Seán McGouran said...

Has there not been a religious revival everywhere? Roman Catholicism is flourishing (the Pentecostalists in Brazil are in a awkward position - the USA is no longer enviable - and always did bully Brazil. So the RC church is not merely comparatively 'fashionable' - it's properly Brazilian.)
In Ireland, an alarmed Humanoid told me recently that he'd gone to Mass in deepest Tyrone (to placate his family) he reported that it 'was crowded, including young people'. The London papers were astounded by the young Poles some years ago - kneeling, in the rain, outside of packed churches.