eurel     Sociological and legal data on religions in Europe and beyond
You are here : Home » Cyprus » Social and religious data » Religious opinions, beliefs and attitudes

Religious opinions, beliefs and attitudes

Results from the 2008 wave of the European Values Study in Cyprus

The European Values Study (hence, EVS), 2008 cycle, includes a number of questions about religion. Cyprus participated to the study with a sample of 1000 people. The results of the study can give (...)

The European Values Study (hence, EVS), 2008 cycle, includes a number of questions about religion. Cyprus participated to the study with a sample of 1000 people. The results of the study can give an insight to the attitudes of the people towards religion and religious organisations. Around 96% of the total sample said that they were Christian Orthodox ("which religious denomination do you belong to?", question Q23a), a very high percentage compared to the census results. This probably shows that people of other denominations may be under-represented in the sample. This is something that should be taken into account when analysing the results of the study.

One of the EVS questions is "How important is religion in your life?" (question Q1F). The responses of the Cypriot sample (shown below) suggest that religion is very important or quite important for around 93.1% of the respondents.

How important in your life: religion (Q1F)

FrequencyValid percentCumulative percent
very important 631 63.1% 63.1
quite important 300 30.0% 93.1
not important 58 5.8% 98.9
not at all important 11 1.1% 100

The responses of Cypriots to another question ("do you belong to a religious organisation?", question Q5aB) showed that around 5.5% of the population belongs to a religious organisation. However, only 3.7% of the respondents said that they had offered unpaid work for a religious organisation "do you work unpaid for a religious organisation?", question Q5bB).

Regarding to the attitudes of the Cypriots against other faiths, it is interesting to mention that 35.1% of all the respondents said that they don’t like having Muslims as neighbours (question Q6H). The corresponding percentages for Jews (question Q6M) and Christians (question Q6O) are 24.5% and 0%.

It is also interesting to mention that 91.1% of the whole sample said that they are religious persons (Q28) and 95.8% said that they believe in God.

D 12 September 2012    AIasonas Lamprianou

2008 update

In 2008, the ISSP included Cyprus for a second time. According to the 2008 ISSP results published in the newspaper Simerini (22 November 2009), 59% of the public believes in God without (...)

In 2008, the ISSP included Cyprus for a second time. According to the 2008 ISSP results published in the newspaper Simerini (22 November 2009), 59% of the public believes in God without reservations. Only 5% are atheists or agnostics. Belief in God is higher among women than men. 31% feel excessively religious and 36% somewhat religious, with only 7% self-identified as non-religious. 64% believe in life after death (down from 75% in 1998). 75% believe in miracles, 57% believe in Hell and 60% believe in Heaven.

D 12 September 2012    AVictor Roudometof

Religious opinions in 1998

Based on the 1998 ISSP survey, the profile of the population in the Republic of Cyprus is as follows. The overwhelming majority (98% approximately) are Greek Orthodox Christians, who follow their (...)

Based on the 1998 ISSP survey, the profile of the population in the Republic of Cyprus is as follows. The overwhelming majority (98% approximately) are Greek Orthodox Christians, who follow their parents’ religion and have a nearly negligible rate of intermarriage with people of other denominations and rites.

In general, Cypriots showed confidence to the Church and religious organizations. In the 1998 ISSP survey, only a minority of the public (24.8%) expressed very little or no confidence to Churches or religious organizations. However, a considerable segment of the public (32.4%) expressed only some confidence, while those expressing complete confidence amounted to only 13.4%. The overwhelming majority of Cypriots (82.4%) also felt that religious leaders should not attempt to influence government decision-making. However, the public also appeared to reject the view that Cyprus would be better off if religion was less influential. Only 31.8% of the public expressed strong or mild endorsement of this view. But the majority of the public did not endorse strongly either side and only small minorities advocated strong views (that is, 7.3% strongly agreed and 8.2% strongly disagreed with the statement).

Given the history of ethnic conflict in the island it is not surprising that 60.9% of Cypriots agreed that religions bring more conflict than peace in the world – with a mere 1.9% expressing strong disagreement with such a statement. In contrast, the public was divided with regard to whether strong religious beliefs lead to intolerance toward others. While 43.2% of the public agreed that this is so, 31.3% expressed their strong or mild disagreement with such a view and 25.6% remained neutral.

The 1998 ISSP offered the opportunity to evaluate the different expressions of individual religiosity. See the table below.

TABLE 1. Extent of belief in God

QUESTION 19:Please indicate which statement below comes closest to expressing what you believe about God REPONSES (%)
I don’t believe in God 1.6
I don’t know whether there is a God and I don’t believe there is any way to find out 2.8
I don’t believe in a personal God, but I do believe in a Higher Power of some kind 5.1
I find myself believing in God some of the time, but not at others 5.7
While I have doubts, I feel that I do believe in God 17.8
I know God really exists and I have no doubts about it 65

Source: ISSP: Religion II (1998).

From the data, it is observed that while small minorities of atheists (1.6%), agnostics (2.8%) and people with a general spiritual orientation (5.1%) exist, the strong majority (83.8%) declared they believe in God. When probed deeper, the overwhelming majority (92.9%) declared that they believe in God now and always had, thereby suggesting the absence of strong shifts on religiosity in the course of their lives. The overwhelming majority (85.5%) also explicitly denied the existence of a turning point in their lives, which might have led to a renewed personal commitment to God.

While 22.3% reported they prayed on a daily basis, others prayed at least once a week (9.9%), weekly or at least several times per month (22.9%), once a month to several times per year (22.1%), about once or twice per year or even less than that (12%) and lastly, there were those who never did so (10.8%). But while individuals prayed regularly, their participation in church activities (other than attending services) was low with 63.7% of the respondents in the 1998 ISSP survey never doing so and only 0.8% attending such activities nearly every week or more frequently.

The majority also considered themselves to be somewhat religious (47.0%) or very religious (29.3%) with only a minority (4.4%) admitting to being very religious. In contrast, only 4% declared itself to be non-religious. Furthermore, a reported 46% of the public considered that basic truths exist in many religions while 49% expressed the view that truth exists only in one religion. A mere 5% expressed the view that there is very little truth in any religion. The majority of the public also believed in life after death, with only 19.8% expressing definite or possible doubts over the existence of afterlife.

D 12 September 2012   

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

Follow us:
© 2002-2019 eurel - Contact