Changing trends in religious feeling in Europe and Russia
In the 1981 and 1990 European Values Surveys, nearly all religious variables showed a decline, particularly sharp among young people, with the exception of belief in an afterlife. The younger a person was, the less religious he or she was likely to be. This confirmed the thesis that Western Europe was becoming increasingly secular. However, the latest wave of surveys, from 1999, shows this decline to be counterbalanced by two other trends : stronger religious feeling within the Christian faith and belief unaccompanied by religious membership. These phenomena are much more pronounced among young people. The strength of the three respective trends varies by country. Stronger versions of the same trends may be observed in the former Eastern bloc countries and Russia, once again particularly among young people. These changes are seen to represent a move away from the break with religion that characterized the 1960s and ‘70s.