Religiousness, Existential Insecurity and Religious Culture

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 09:04
Oral Presentation
Franz HÖLLINGER, University of Graz, Department of Sociology, Austria
Johanna MUCKENHUBER, University of Graz, Austria
Cross-national comparative surveys show that the degree of religiosity varies strongly on the global level. According to previous research, two factors are particularly important to explain these differences: the level of existential insecurity and characteristics of the religious culture. In this paper we will review the importance of these two factors using data from the 6th wave of the World Value Survey (2010-14) which includes a set of questions on existential insecurity (having no money to buy food, becoming the victim of a criminal act, suffering from bad health, etc.). Our multi-level analysis that covers 45 countries from all major religious culture areas (Catholic and Protestant Western Europe, Orthodox Eastern Europe, USA, Muslim countries in North Africa and Asia, East and Southeast-Asia, Subsahara Africa and Latin America) reveals two central findings: First, both the Human Development Index (as the best proxy of existential security) and our typology of religious culture-areas explain a considerable proportion of the variance of religiosity on the macro-level; the explanatory power of religious culture, however, is clearly higher than that of HDI and GINI-Index. Second, the effect of items measuring existential insecurity on religiousness on the individual level is rather low. These findings suggest, that in a global perspective the decline or persistence of religiosity is much more determined by the characteristics of the religious culture than by people´s individual experience of existential insecurity.