While browsing today, I came up across this Gallup survey done in February on the importance of religion in different countries all over the world:
The countries where people give a lot of importance to religion are: Egypt, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Congo, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Senegal, Djibouti, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. Notice that most of them are countries where a lot of people are poor (and some people are extremely rich.)
Countries where people generally do not give a lot of importance to religion are: Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, Hong Kong, Japan, France, Mongolia, Belarus.
Apart from Mongolia (?!?), these countries can be separated into two groups:
- ex-USSR countries like Estonia, the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan and Belarus where religion was suppressed by the state and
- countries like Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Hong Kong, Japan and France.
Now, I don’t want to jump to conclusions but it seems to me that Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Hong Kong, Japan and France are countries which are rich, fairly democratic and which have a good (and, for some of them, excellent) education system. Does this imply that educated people tend to give less importance to religion? And, more interestingly, does this mean that atheists (those without a belief in any God) generally have a high level of education? Yes, it would seem.
And what about Mauritius? People give a lot of importance to religion in our country (especially if they need to be elected and/or they have problems.) And the Minister of Education said our education system has failed to deliver. Is there a correlation between the two?
By the way, I’m an atheist.