How is life without religion

Life without god : What comes after religion

In the old federal states, just 22 percent of those surveyed state that they attend a church service, temple or Friday prayer or take part in other spiritual activities at least once a month. In eastern Germany, only twelve percent, i.e. about half as many, say that about themselves. 24 percent of respondents in the West say they pray regularly, i.e. daily - just as many there said they never pray. In the east, the number of those who pray regularly is twelve percent - two thirds of those surveyed never do that. After all, around one in two people in the West still “fairly” or “very” believe that God, deities or something similar to God exist. In the east of the country, only one in four does this. Of all the areas of life surveyed in the “Religion Monitor”, religion and spirituality are rated by far as the least important. That was already the case in the previous study in 2008, and nothing changed about that in 2013. The study found that the intensity of religiosity is steadily decreasing from Muslims to Catholics to Gospels and non-denominationalists.

Turning away from religion is not a disturbing sign

Detlef Pollack, professor of sociology of religion at the University of Münster and, together with Olaf Müller from the same university, author of the "Religion Monitor" on behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation, told Tagesspiegel that the decline in religiosity and the process of "minorization of religion" are in Germany has been observed for decades. In general, the binding force of religion for society is undisputed. However, in Pollack's view, the increasing abandonment does not send any disturbing signals for the state of society. Moral values ​​are still very firmly anchored in society. “There is no loss in moral standards,” he said. Because religion is an important one, but "only one of a very large number of institutions that convey values". Civil society itself radiates it, and it is passed on to families and schools. "Values ​​are still highly accepted in Germany."

Many values ​​continue to apply even after they have emancipated themselves from their religious origins

The study found that people are less and less oriented towards religious authorities in their values, especially since many values ​​have emancipated themselves from their religious origins. Charity, solidarity and respect for life are now considered general humanistic values. The differences in the structure of values ​​between religious and non-religious population groups increasingly leveled out.

Although religiosity is no longer very firmly anchored in society, openness and tolerance towards believing people are very high, which is also to be interpreted as an expression of the generally high level of values. About 80 percent of those questioned in East and West Germany say that one should be open to all religions. The opposite opinion is only ten percent in West Germany and 16 percent in East Germany.

Almost half see Islam as a threat

But two other findings permanently disturb the impression of this positive open-mindedness: 49 percent of the people in the west and even 57 percent of the people in the east of Germany perceive Islam as a threat - significantly more than those who see it as an asset (west: 31, east : 21 percent). Other religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism or Christianity themselves are rated as much less threatening. However, 19 percent in both East and West believe that Judaism posed threats (perception as enrichment: 52 and 53 percent, respectively).

Islam is the ultimate challenge for other religious communities, says author Detlef Pollack. Although pluralism is highly valued, the coexistence of cultures, among which Islam plays a prominent role in Germany, harbors potential for conflict. The sociologist of religion found that those who are themselves religiously bound are more open to Islam than non-believers.

Atheism is seen as a threat to the Christian base of our culture

Another surprising thing: the rejection of all religiosity, i.e. atheism, is also uncomfortable for many Germans. After all, 36 percent of West Germans perceive atheism as a threat (East Germany: 16 percent). While 49 percent of those questioned in the east find it enriching, only 34 percent in the west say so. Pollack doesn't want to see this as a relic of anti-communism in the West. Rather, “a basic acceptance of Christianity is incorporated into our traditions”. The moment atheism comes into play, it is perceived as a threat to the Christian foundation of our culture. There is a widespread critical position towards radical, fanatical, fundamentalist attitudes. In a way, atheism is understood as such, similar to Islamism.

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