The number of atheists in Spain multiplies during the pandemic

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admin April 7, 2022 44 Views
Updated 2022/04/07 at 12:48 PM
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The number of atheists in Spain multiplies during the pandemic
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“Among the parish priests, we talk a lot and we have verified that now fewer people attend Mass on Sundays. I don’t think there are fewer believers, but especially in larger cities, it seems that their way of life is no longer an obligation to go to mass every Sunday”, admits the parish priest of the central church of Santa Anna, In Barcelona, ​​Pio Sanchez.

The Ferrer i Guardia Foundation presented its report on the development of religiosity and secularism in Spain this Thursday, confirming that the loss of religious beliefs among the population has accelerated during the two years of the pandemic.

According to the data compiled in the said study – constructed from the CIS barometer – if in 2000 only 13.2% of the Spanish population declared themselves to be atheists or agnostics, 27.5% did so in 2019 and the number of non-believers 37.1 compared to the previous 2021 % Was. 58.8% who considered themselves Catholic and 2.5% professed other confessions. The Ferrer i Guardia Foundation states that the youngest Spaniards are less and less believing: 63.5% of citizens between the ages of 18 and 24 have no faith at all and 56.2% of those surveyed between the ages of 25 and 34 People have declared themselves as one. Atheist or agnostic. In contrast, only 21.1% of people over the age of 65 do not have religious beliefs.

Josep Mane Ferrer is one of the researchers at the I Guardia Foundation that took part in preparing the report. Mane assured that the scandal of sexual abuse cases in the church (which has intensified during the past two years) does not usually, based on the experience of other reports, modify the beliefs of those surveyed. Nevertheless, the co-authors of the document wanted to highlight that, after analyzing the CIS barometer, the Foundation has been able to verify that the percentage of “non-practicing believers” increased from 41.7% after the pandemic. has gone up to 44%. Between April and May 2020. “We believe in the hypothesis that imprisonment and teleworking were due to more people who responded to the CIS telephone survey and this has provided a more realistic picture. Nevertheless, we do not rule out that the COVID-19 situation will change the trend in terms of religious practice,” Mane said.

Joan-François Pont, president of the Ferrer i Guardia Foundation, wonders aloud: “How many of those who declare themselves believers are 100%, 55% or 6% believers? Keep in mind that when the intensity of the beliefs subsides, it becomes much easier to live together because it means that no one wants to occupy the entire space. A high rate of secularism allows a religion la carte where people take an interest in them and not what offends them. The most obvious example is the relationship between the number of Catholics in Spain and contraceptive sales figures. The figures are inconsistent and it is clear that, fortunately, they choose a religion la carte.

The report highlights that nine out of ten marriages have already been performed by civil means. In 2008, half the links were civil and since then religious marriage records have dropped to a low in 2020, when only 10.5% of marriages were religious. Despite this, the pandemic has reduced the number of weddings by 45% and the report’s authors themselves say it is too early to determine the trend. Still, there are places where religious weddings have disappeared. In Melilla, 93.88% of marriages are civil, in Catalonia 93.59% and in the Basque Country 93.55%.

The latest tax data available from the Ministry of Finance in 2018 highlights that the number of people choosing the Catholic Church box on their income tax returns has decreased year over year since the 1990s. This is where it should find the real economic drama of the Spanish Church, but it is not. Taxpayers can choose in their return to allocate a percentage of their full contributions to cooperate with the economic support of the Catholic Church, or to allocate that quota to “other purposes of social interest.” In 1998, 36.60% of taxpayers specifically checked the Church box on their return, while the 2018 return was 11.30%.

In contrast, the box allocating part of the quota for “other purposes” has increased year on year: in 1998 it was marked by 29.20% of taxpayers, while in 2018 it was marked by 32.8%. Taxpayers also have the option of checking both boxes and allocating a small percentage of income to both the reasons. The number of taxpayers checking both the boxes has increased from 10.30% in 2019 to 21.40% in 2018. The editors of the Ferrer i Gurdia Foundation report, after analyzing the campaign proceeds, confirmed: “Only three out of every ten taxpayers finance the Catholic Church. His personal income tax allocation”. Conversely, the clergy receives more and more money, despite the fact that they at least check the church’s box. If in 1998 the church received 97,220,000 euros after the fare campaign, a record figure of 261,000,000 euros was reached in 2018. “There are fewer and fewer people who check the income box, but very clearly, the people who check it are getting richer,” Mane says.

In general, more attendance in class

As far as religion in the classroom is concerned, secularism is on the rise. According to data from the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training for the 2018-2019 academic year, the percentage of primary school students who take elective subjects of religion though they are not the majority. In the 2018-2019 academic year, 36.1% of primary school students and 39.6% of ESO students took elective subjects. In the Basque Country, 59.7% of primary school students do not study religion and is an autonomous community with the highest percentage of secular activities in the classroom, followed by Catalonia, where 58.4% do not study religion, and Balearic. The island group is with 45. .8%. On the other side of the scale is Ceuta, where only 8.6% of primary school students take courses other than religion, Extremadura with 13.6 percent, and Andalusia with 19.5%. Curiously, in the case of ESO, the regions where religion has the most elective subjects are Ceuta (70.9%), Melilla 74.7% and the Basque Country (58%). According to Mane, there is a high percentage of students studying religion in secondary schools for one reason: “The educational reform of the PP counted religion as an average and therefore in university admissions and could be an affordable subject that could contribute to raising the average.”

The report’s editors denounce that, despite the fact that the student body of the subject religion has declined from 3,584,558 students to 3,337,917 since the 2015/2016 academic year, the number of teachers is increasing. According to the annual activity report of the Catholic Church in Spain, there were 25,660 teachers in the 2013-2014 academic year while there were 35,294 religious teachers in the 2018-2019 academic year. Professors who teach other confession classes, such as Muslim or Evangelical, are excluded from this accounting. “Religion in the temple and knowledge in the school are accomplished only in the countries around us, not in Spain,” condemns Joan-Francesc Pont.

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