Changes in Religious Evolution in Europe and Russia
The 1981 and 1990 European Values Surveys showed a decline for almost all religious variables, a decline even sharper among young people, except for belief in an afterlife. The younger the respondents, the less religious they were likely to be. These results confirmed the thesis of increasing secularization in Europe and the West. However, the most recent, 1999 survey shows this downward trend to be counterbalanced by two other tendencies : internal Christian renewal and increased “believing without belonging”, both phenomena that are clearly more developed among young people. The respective strengths of these three developments vary by country surveyed. The same phenomena are even more pronounced in Eastern European (former Soviet or communist bloc) countries and in Russia, once again particularly among young people. The changes may be interpreted as a turning point after the break with religiosity that characterized the 1960s and 70s.