NEWS

Religion is key part of identity for most Greeks

TAGS: Survey, Society, Religion

Greece has ranked fourth among 34 European countries in terms of the percentage of their populations that consider religion a key component of their national identity, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2015-17 and published on Monday.

More specifically, 76 percent of Greeks said that their nationality is defined by Christianity, behind Armenia (82 percent), Georgia (81 percent) and Serbia (78 percent).

The contrast with Western Europe was sharp, with most people in France and the United Kingdom saying they don’t feel that religion is a major part of their national identity.

In France and the UK, for example, most (65 percent in both countries) said it is not important to be Christian to be truly French or truly British.

The poll also highlighted a marked difference between Eastern and Western Europe with regard to sentiments on religion, with Greek views coinciding more with those held in countries that were once behind the Iron Curtain.

A staggering 92 percent of Greek believe in the existence of God, ahead of the Russians (75 percent).

On the other end of the scale, only 36 percent of Swedes said they believe in God.

Greece and Latvia had the highest rate of those that believe in the “evil eye,” with each on 66 percent – ahead of countries in Central and Eastern Europe such as Ukraine (60 percent), Armenia (59 percent), Moldova (57 percent), Russia (56 percent) and Bulgaria (55 percent). Only 9 percent of Swedes expressed the same belief.

Another divide between East and West pertained to perception of cultural superiority over others, with Greece ranking first (89 percent), ahead of Armenia (84 percent) and Russia (69 percent).

The survey showed that Western Europeans hold humbler views when it comes to cultural superiority – for example only 36 percent of the French and 45 percent of Germans believe so.

Furthermore, only 31 percent Greeks would accept a Muslim as a member of their family while 35 percent would accept a Jew.

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