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Monday, March 01, 2004

Survey of people's religious beliefs in ten countries

BBC: Nigeria the most religious, UK among most secular
Ten thousand people were questioned in the poll by research company ICM for the BBC programme What The World Thinks Of God.

More than a quarter of Britons thought the world would be more peaceful with nobody believing in God, but very few people in other countries agreed.

The survey found the highest levels of belief in some of the world's poorer countries, but also in the world's richest, America.

The countries polled were the US, UK, Israel, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Nigeria, Russia, Mexico and Lebanon. The interviews were carried out in January 2004.

The programme producers said: "Overall, the results of our poll show that levels of belief and religious activity in the UK are consistently lower than in most of the other countries polled.

"Only Russia and South Korea produced results similar to the UK. The highest levels of belief are found in the poorer nations of Nigeria, India and Indonesia.

"However, the US also stands out in contrast with the UK. The US is the richest nation polled and yet has a very high level of belief."

Those willing to die for their God, or their beliefs, included more than 90% in Indonesia and Nigeria, and 71% in Lebanon and the US.

Among Israelis only 37% were willing to take this ultimate step, and only 19% of Britons, 29% of whom said the world would be more peaceful without beliefs in God. Very few people in other countries agreed with this.

Israel and the UK showed a similar temperament when asked another question. On who was to blame for much of the trouble in the world, 37% of Britons and 33% of Israelis said it was people of other religions.

In most of the countries covered, well over 80% said they believed in God or a higher power. In Nigeria the figure was 100% and in the US 91%, with the UK scoring lowest at 67%.

In Nigeria, Indonesia and Lebanon more than 90% of people said their God was the only true God. In Israel the figure was 70%, but it fell to 31% among Britons.

In Nigeria 91% of people said they regularly attended a religious service, contrasting with 21% in the UK and only 7% of Russians. The average across the 10 countries was 46%.

In most countries well over 80% of the sample agreed that a belief in God or a higher power made people better human beings, with only 56% agreeing in the UK, by far the lowest figure.

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.

The Muslim Council of Britain said there had been "a quite clear erosion of the sense of the sacred" in the UK.
Along these same lines, see Lileks' Bleat on John Kerry's answer to the question, "Is God on America's side?"

and this article from the Associated Press: 48 Dead in Nigeria Religious Clash:
LAGOS, Nigeria -- Suspected Muslim militants armed with guns and bows and arrows killed at least 48 people in an attack on a farming village in central Nigeria. Most of the victims died as they sought refuge in a church, police said Wednesday.

The latest bout of Muslim-Christian violence in the region occurred Tuesday night in Yelwa, a mainly Christian town in Nigeria's Plateau State, police commissioner Innocent Ilozuoke said.
Why do they call it a "clash" when it sounds more like an attack? Sounds like the "suspected Muslim militants" were doing all clashing, while the Christians were doing all the getting slaughtered. I know, it's just semantics. No Big Deal.

Oh, then there's this part:
For decades, the majority Christian inhabitants of Plateau and the minority Muslim population -- mostly Hausa and Fulani tribespeople with origins farther north -- had lived in harmony.

But tensions between the two communities heightened in the past four years as 12 majority Muslim states in the north adopted the strict Sharia, or Islamic, legal codes, perceived by Christians as an expansionist threat.

Since 1999, ethnic and religious violence has killed more than 10,000 people in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country.

I've lost the source for this map, showing 98% of world conflict involves "suspected Muslim militants."