Why the world is turn­ing more re­li­gious Older Peo­ple Have More Faith In God. As De­vel­oped World Greys, They’ll Be­come The Ma­jor­ity By 2040

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Trends -

Moscow: As the pro­por­tion of older peo­ple in­creases in a coun­try, the chances of its so­ci­ety be­com­ing more re­li­gious also go up, says a study.

Older peo­ple are more in­clined to be­lieve in God and be­lieve it is im­por­tant to in­stil re­li­gion in chil­dren.

The re­search sug­gests that pop­u­la­tion ag­ing can pos­si­bly slow down the tran­si­tion from re­li­gious to sec­u­lar val­ues. The study, pub­lished in the ‘Jour­nal for the Sci­en­tific Study of Re­li­gion’, pre­dicts de­vel­oped coun­tries will be­come more re­li­gious in 20 years.

Older peo­ple (aged 50+) con­sti­tute al­most one half of the adult (aged 20+) pop­u­la­tion of de­vel­oped coun­tries, and this pro­por­tion will in­crease to con­sti­tute a sig­nif­i­cant ma­jor­ity by 2040.

“That is why, it is mainly in the de­vel­oped coun­tries that global ag­ing may have the most pro­nounced ef­fect on slow­ing down the tran­si­tion from re­li­gious to sec­u­lar val­ues or, even on some in­crease in re­li­gios­ity,” said study au­thor An­drey Ko­ro­taev from the Na­tional Re­search Univer­sity Higher School of Eco­nom­ics in Rus­sia.

“For ex­am­ple, Ja­pan is known to be one of the coun­tries most af­fected by ag­ing, so prob­a­bly it is not a co­in­ci­dence that a num­ber of im­por­tant in­di­ca­tors re­veal a slow­down of sec­u­lar­i­sa­tion trends and even a cer­tain resur­gence of re­li­gios­ity here,” Ko­ro­taev said.

It has long been ob­served that older peo­ple tend to be more re­li­gious than younger peo­ple. How­ever, it is still disputable whether this fact should be at­trib­uted to peo­ple gen­er­ally be­com­ing more re­li­gious with age per se (age ef­fect), or to the process of sec­u­lar­i­sa­tion, wherein ear­lier co­horts (to which the now older peo­ple be­long) used to be more re­li­gious than those that ap­peared later, i.e. younger co­horts (co­hort ef­fect).

The re­searchers de­cided to an­a­lyse this is­sue us­ing data from six waves of the World Val­ues Sur­vey in high­in­come coun­tries.

Ato­tal of 16 coun­tries were stud­ied, in­clud­ing Aus­tralia, the USA, Canada, Great Bri­tain, Is­rael, New Zealand, Ja­pan, Ger­many, as well as other Euro­pean coun­tries.

The re­search showed that in high-in­come coun­tries, age, rather than the co­hort ef­fect, has more im­pact on re­li­gios­ity. The ef­fect im­pacts sev­eral fac­tors such as church at­ten­dance and a be­lief in re­li­gion’s im­por­tance in life, but the age ef­fect still strongly pre­vails over the co­hort ef­fect.

Getty Im­ages/iS­tock­photo


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