almost as many Christians as Muslims in France

almost as many Christians as Muslims in France

Among young believers in France today, there are almost as many Christians as Muslims. All in a context where young people are generally moving away from institutionalized religions, although a small majority still say they believe in God. What do French youth believe in? This is what this survey, the results of which were published on November 30, and which is the subject of a seminar, Wednesday December 6, at the Maison des sciences de l’homme in Paris,allows us to bring this to light. The survey, conducted among young people aged 18 to 30, was led by two specialists in the sociology of religions and secularism, the political scientist Philippe Portier, attached to the CNRS, and the historian Charles Mercier, lecturer at the university. Bordeaux IV.

Among young believers, almost as many Christians as Muslims

The results show that 22% of young French people say they are Christian, including 18% Catholic, and 12% say they are Muslim. In comparison, a study conducted in 2018 by the European Values ​​Study showed that 15% of 18-29 year olds said they were Catholic (6% of practitioners and 9% of non-practitioners), 13% Muslims and 5% belonging to another religion. .

Furthermore, more than one in two young people (52%) now say they do not belong to any religion – in the 2018 survey, this figure rose to 58% of 18-29 year olds. Different results which show a divided youth but for whom religion has not completely disappeared.

Young people who are generally less religious, but with an intensified relationship with religion

According to this year’s survey, young people are also divided about the place that religion should have in society. “44% of those who believe that the place of religion has strengthened indeed judge this development to be negative and 43% of those who think, on the contrary, that it has declined perceive this phenomenon positively”, specifies the investigation report. “They do not have a particularly clear-cut vision of religion, but generally see favorably on the diminishing place in society,” summarizes Charles Mercier.

On the other hand, if the majority of young people today consider that religion is of little importance, “or none”in their personal lives, this also means that for a third of them, religion occupies an important place, particularly for Catholics (53%) and Muslims (85%). “It’s not trivial, notes Charles Mercier, it is a minority in retraction but which is intensifying its relationship with religion. »

Finally, 43% of young French people say they believe in God, a proportion slightly higher than that of young people who say they belong to a religion. “Young people are not less religious, but less affiliated with an institutional religion than their elders,” explains Charles Mercier.

The survey, covering a representative sample of the population aged 18-30 in France, was conducted online from June 14 to 16, 2023. It was carried out by two research laboratories, LACES at the university of Bordeaux and the Societies, Religions, Secularism Group of the CNRS as well as the Kantar Institute.

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