Believing Without Belonging in Irish Society

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The phrase believing without belonging can indeed be applied to the Irish context with an increasing tendency towards this form of religiosity, yet there are still those who both believe and belong and some neither believe nor belong. Religion has always been at the forefront of Irish Society. Fogarty (1984:8) in studying the 1981 European Values Survey (EVS) found that ‘every indicator of belief, informal and formal practice and attitudes to the church or churches, shows Irish people... to be far more inclined to religion than those of other countries in Europe.’ However, in the 2008 EVS survey, the number of people attending Church weekly had declined from 82.4% in 1981 to 44.2%, with a similar decline in monthly attendance to…show more content…
(Voas, 2009) Believing without belonging is therefore a sort of intermediate religiosity, which suggests that the decline in the significance of Irish religious institutions does not necessarily correspond to a loss in the value of religiosity in individuals lives. Davie (2008) goes so far as to even suggest that there is an inverse relationship between spirituality and institutionalised religion. Religiosity designates the importance of religion in a person’s life. (Macionis and PLummer, 2012:661) Glock and Stark (1965) identified 8 concepts of religiosity, assessing religiosity as having ritualistic, devotional, communal, experiential, belief, consequential, knowledge and particularistic aspects. Yet under the latest Irish EVS figures the aspect of ritualism seems to be diminished. These various forms of religious membership and commitment are supposed to reflect and reaffirm beliefs and have long been regarded as concrete evidence of religiosity. Yet without this aspect, measuring the degree of religiousness of a person becomes more difficult. (Fahey 2005 :49) The Catholic Church, the largest denomination in Ireland, ‘has always put a very high premium on belonging’ according to Bruce (in Storm, 2009:702) yet Irish figures seem to suggest people are moving away from this view.Religion has often been linked with institutional affiliation but people who describe themselves as spiritual
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