Survey finds a ‘major disconnect’ between Irish students and organised religion

A SURVEY in Ireland of 1,146 third level students across the country over the last two weeks gives a clear indication of how religion, and its place in society, has undergone dramatic changes recent years – with 78.7 percent expressing a negative view of the Catholic Church.

Young people are in the vanguard of a move towards a far less religious Ireland

Young people are in the vanguard of a move towards a far less religious Ireland. This picture was taken during a recent pro-choice rally.

“Shockingly” – to quote this report – while fewer than 60 percent of respondents considered themselves Catholic, ATHEISTS emerged as the second largest group  at 20 percent.

Abortion is an extremely sensitive and current topic, and the survey shows that 83.5 percent of the Irish students believe that abortion should be allowed in Ireland while 76.8 percent think that the Catholic Church has too much power in the country.

When asked “Do you attend communal religious ceremonies and functions?” the highest response was “no” at 61 percent, and those who responded “yes” mainly attend only 1-3 times a year.

While 61.5 percent of  the Catholic students who were asked if they take communion said “yes”, only 32.2 percent believe that it’s the body and blood of Christ.

When offered a number of choices for why students don’t follow a religion, the response to top the scale was that they “don’t believe in the teachings” (77.8 percent).

45.2 percent of students only follow a religion because of their parents influence, yet 40 percent of the students who took the survey wouldn’t want their children to follow the same religion they were brought up with. Only 13.7 percent follow a religion due to a strong faith.

According to the survey, students regard “looking good” (in 5th place) as being more important than “religious beliefs” (6th), with friends and family topping the list of importance.

When asked how they would characterise their belief in God, only 37.5 percent state that they believe in God with the top response at 41.5 percent being that students are unsure if there is a God.

When the students were asked, “Do religious beliefs have a place in society?” 54 percent stated that they do not believe society needs the influence of religion and 65.6 percent said they did not believe that religion makes the world a better place.

Colman Byrne, Managing Director of Student Marketing Network and Oxygen.ie and former two-term president of Union of Students Ireland, said:

The survey brought up a lot of interesting information that people may have different views on but it certainly shows that there is a major disconnect between organised religion and young people in Ireland.