Hey Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies,
Diana L. Eck:
A recent study suggests that religion is on a steady decline in nine developed countries, including New Zealand, Austria, and Switzerland. Could these countries really be headed for godlessness?
“I don’t think mathematical data about ‘religious affiliation’ has much to do with the whole range of phenomena that are part of religious practice, the energies of faith, and the quest for meaning. ‘Belonging to a religion’ is far too crude a gauge by which to understand what is going on in today’s world. This kind of question is reflective of the ways in which people might tend to think of religion as ‘institutional religion,’ that is, belonging to a church, synagogue, etc. and attending services the way one might be affiliated with the Rotary Club and attend lunch meetings. That may be the most measurable thing for those whose investigations are limited by such measurements, and it is perfectly reasonable to conclude that religious belonging is increasingly attenuated in countries such as Austria, Australia, the UK, etc., but if one were to look at NGOs, the social concern for issues of justice, peacemaking, and health, one would find some of those same countries very religiously active.”