Irish atheists increase by 400 percent in ten years, survey shows

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The number of Irish people with no religion - atheists and agnostics – increased by 400 percent in Ireland between 1991 and 2011 to a total of 277,237.

The massive increase is due to a huge breakdown in trust between the Catholic Church and many of its traditional constituencies.

The sex scandals and cover-ups have deeply impacted the church with record numbers staying away and embracing atheism.

The latest figures confirm a 2011 a poll by Gallup International which showed Ireland now ranks among the top ten atheist nations worldwide, in a huge shift from the last poll in 2005. In the six years between polls, according to the results, one in five Irish people set aside religion.

The Gallup International Association poll, titled the Global Index of Religion and Atheism, asked 50,000 people in 57 countries: “Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person or a convinced atheist?”

Written By: Patrick Counihan
continue to source article at irishcentral.com

16 COMMENTS

  1. Do I detect a correlation, or a cause ? As the largely peasant agricultural practices have died out and modern capitalism introduced, in Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal, so has the RCC lost much of its previous social power.

    The disgusting behaviour of the RCC re the covering up, indeed fostering of, child sexual and other abuse, hasn’t exactly helped their image. After all, those kids were Catholic kids !

  2. “The massive increase is due to a huge breakdown in trust between the Catholic Church and many of its traditional constituencies.”

    Really? How does “I won’t support your kiddy-fucking church” lead to “I don’t believe in God”?

    I suspect the former has let the latter “come out”, or perhaps the former gave new atheists enough of an opening to sway existing fence-sitters.

    • There are a lot more than 270,000. It’s a wrench for an Irishman to put atheist on a referedum form (I did) because the Church is a kind of traditional thing, much like it would be difficult for an Englishman to say the Good King Henry was in fact one of the great tyrants of history, but in fact a huge number of Irish people, deep down, are atheists. My children don’t believe, nor does my wife and most of my friends don’t.

  3. The massive increase is due to a huge breakdown in trust between the Catholic Church and many of its traditional constituencies.

    The sex scandals and cover-ups have deeply impacted the church with record numbers staying away and embracing atheism.

    The big difference is that the negativity of Catholicism has meant that some leading politicians are prepared to resist the demands of the bishops and the Vatican, and simply will not be dictated to as they were in the past. The government is starting to police the church, rather than the church’s theocratic policing of the government.

  4. In 1973 91% of Irish Catholics regularly attended church. Now, the figure is 30%. The decline continues.

    Ireland is as much a post-Christian country as the UK these days. And it is wholly attributable to the RCC’s cover-ups of child abuse.

    • In reply to #8 by Stevehill:

      In 1973 91% of Irish Catholics regularly attended church. Now, the figure is 30%. The decline continues.

      Ireland is as much a post-Christian country as the UK these days. And it is wholly attributable to the RCC’s cover-ups of child abuse.

      Education is the main reason Ireland is “post-Christian”. Child abuse revelations are only part of that education.

  5. “The massive increase is due to a huge breakdown in trust between the Catholic Church and many of its traditional constituencies.” What’s the evidence this is the reason and not simple spreading realization of the absurdity of religious belief? Yes, the scandals sent many people away but people of my generation (born in 1970′s) were drifting away long before the scandals broke.

    • In reply to #13 by Stafford Gordon:

      Good news; may it continue apace.

      I suspect the net is implicated in this; isn’t that where religion goes to die?

      Yep. Astounding how religion fails to withstand even cursory scrutiny once exposed to free comments on e.g. net discussions. I have been abused a bit this week for wading in to a Daily Telegraph discussion about the Pope and gay adoption, but the common strand with all the homophobic Torygraph zealots is fear: that their safe little world where they are free to express their poisonous prejudices without reprisals, and sometimes protected by blasphemy laws or social taboos against disrespecting religion, is crumbling around their ears. And they have no idea what to do about it.

      Of course, there is nothing they can do about it. Shining a light on their voodoo exposes it for the shallow drivel it really is. They don’t call it the Enlightenment for nothing.

  6. The church would love to believe it is because of scandal, that way there is a way back for them.
    Badluck Lads. People don’t believe because it’s irrational nonsense. Where a handfull of perverts insert their todgers has nowt to do with it. That is a logical non sequitur.

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