Couple of new surveys. One from Pew shows that only about one out of five Europeans attend services “monthly or more”.
Now this is very crude, usable only with caution, and varies by country greatly. Forty per-cent of Italians are church-going, the country with highest attendance, but (says the survey) only 9% of Finns (tied for lowest with the Swedes) make the Sunday trek.
Even though the one-in-five figure is loose, we can use it to make a sort of prediction in the following way. It turns out that, across Europe, only a bit under two in three church-goes also believe in God “as described by the Bible”. The rest believe “in other higher power or spiritual force.” Like Hollywood, say? Lucifer as envisioned by Freemasons? Or their own selves? Well, whatever. It isn’t God.
Pew only gives this two in three as an average across Europe, which is how we can use the crude one in five. Multiplying gives an imprecise estimate of 13% of church-going Christians who believe in God. That’s close to a definition of traditional Christianity, though it probably exaggerates prevalence of true believers.
Given all we’ve seen and read about western Europe, this doesn’t seem like such a bad guess, though. It’s doubtful any would double this number: in particular countries, perhaps, but not across Europe.
The number could be lower, too, but likely not too much lower, given faith still has strong pockets in Italy and Portugal, for instance. One in ten is thus likely not far off.
Pew also tracked the percent agreeing to “Science makes religion unnecessary in my life.” The average of church-goers agreeing was 17%. It’s a reasonable guess that most or all of these people believe in that odd “spiritual power” and not God.
The answer to the science question should be 0%, though (Norway is closest at 5%; France is highest at 22%) for church-goers. For if you believe in God as described in the Bible, you know science is not incompatible, except where science is in error. This bolsters the one in ten prediction.
The survey continues, showing church-goers are more likely to oppose immigration, support traditional national life, and the like. Interesting stuff, but not to the point here.
The next two questions imply we might push the one-in-ten lower. They are the percent of church-goers who favor killing the lives inside would-be mothers, and supporting gmarriage (government-defined marriage): 52% and 58%, respectively. Those are, of course, larger than the one-in-three spiritual-power believers (still among church-goers). Support of either of these pushes you out of traditional Christianity and into the camp of the enemy.
We’re down to about, oh, say, 7-8%. Again, as an average across all Western Europe, a figure with mighty uncertainty to it.
It doesn’t seem too off, though, does it?
There is no indication the situation is improving; not in Western Europe, anyway. (The East is, however, rising.) Every country Pew tracked had fewer people identifying as Christian from 2002 to 2014 (the last year numbers were available).
Enter the second survey, from PRRI, which is of the USA and about support for non-procreative sex-like activities.
First is percent who “favor laws that would protect LGBT people from discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing”, which is 70%. Protect “from” “discrimination is, as all know, to punish the religious by discrimination; thus, the traditional Christian should be against these laws.
Sadly, breakdowns by religion show what we all know: Unitarians, New agers and Jews are least opposed; and no religion, not even Jehovah’s Witnesses, comes higher than 29% opposing (only 23% of white Catholics oppose).
Then come in the survey more pointed questions about allowing small businesses to refuse to Bake The Cake based on religious objections. All traditions would favor these kinds of laws.
Alas, only 36% of Catholics do, only 43% of protesting Christians do, only 27% of Jews so, and, perhaps surprisingly, only 25% of Muslims do.
Of course, as above, all of these numbers have sizable plus-or-minuses. But, if it were put to a vote, it is more than a good bet that Bake That Cake would become law. (It would be called, maybe, the Pinch Of Incense Act of 2020.)
Lastly, and PRRI does not break this down by religion, only 14% of all Americans are strongly opposed to gmarriage. A similar number just oppose it.
That 14% figure must be our proxy for the approximate fraction of traditional Christians in the USA. It will be high because some non-Christians do oppose gmarriage, but not, of course, on theological grounds. But we have to add to that subtraction those who just oppose gmarriage, who, when pushed, might recall their theology better.
This varies greatly by region, here and abroad, but a cautious summary, acknowledging the uncertainties, and admitting there are far more tests than these for traditionalism, might conclude that Western Europe has about 7-8% of traditional Christians remaining, while it’s maybe 14-18% Americans. Two to one, Americans over Europeans, sounds about right.