Sunday, February 29, 2004

BBC - Nigeria Leads in Religious Belief

Levels of Religious Observance by Country
Hardly surprising. When one lives in a country as difficult as Nigeria, religion is one of the few comforts available to keep one sane. What's more interesting (to me at least) is that despite all the attention paid to Jewish settlers on the West Bank and the political demands of ultra-orthodox parties like Shas, Israelis seem to be less religious than Americans.

The subject of prayer found 95% of Nigerians and 67% in the US claiming to pray regularly.

Those saying they never prayed included 29% of Israelis and 25% of Britons. But across the entire sample, almost 30% of all atheists surveyed said they sometimes prayed.

What's that about deathbed conversions again? Nothing quite like a close brush with disaster to bring out hidden religious sentiments in many a militant atheist. Pascal's wager in action I suppose ... The following tidbit was also interesting:

In Lebanon and the US, 71% said they were willing to die for their God or their beliefs.

Hmm. Is one supposed to applaud this show of resolution, or be appalled by it? In any case, I think the meaning of "dying for one's beliefs" is probably slightly different in the United States and Lebanon.