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But, in some cases, even members of religious minority groups take this position.For example, about a quarter of both Muslims and religiously unaffiliated people in Russia say it is important to be Russian Orthodox in order to be “truly Russian.” In addition, people living in predominantly Orthodox countries are more inclined than others in the region to say their culture “is superior to others” and to describe themselves as “very proud” of their national identity.In contrast with most of the former Soviet republics, respondents in Poland, Romania and Greece say their countries have become considerably religious in recent decades.But these perceptions do not tell the entire story.Relatively few Orthodox or Catholic adults in Central and Eastern Europe say they regularly attend worship services, pray often or consider religion central to their lives. Three words, three distinct ways in which people connect (or don’t) to religion: Do they believe in a higher power? Do they feel part of a congregation, spiritual community or religious group?For example, a median of just 10% of Orthodox Christians across the region say they go to church on a weekly basis. Research suggests that many people around the world engage with religion in at least one of these ways, but not necessarily all three.Many Central and Eastern Europeans, on the other hand, might be described as “believing and belonging, without behaving.” While Pew Research Center’s survey shows that majorities of adults across the region believe in God and identify with Orthodox Christianity, conventional measures of Christian religious behavior – such as levels of daily prayer and weekly worship attendance – are relatively low.
experienced the same upsurge as Orthodox Christianity.The most dramatic shift in this regard has occurred in the Czech Republic, where the share of the public identifying as Catholic dropped from 44% in 1991 to 21% in the current survey.Today, the Czech Republic is one of the most secular countries in Europe, with nearly three-quarters of adults (72%) describing their religion as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular.” The differing trends in predominantly Orthodox and Catholic countries may be, at least in part, a reflection of political geography.Despite declining shares in some countries, Catholics in Central and Eastern Europe generally are more religiously observant than Orthodox Christians in the region, at least by conventional measures.
For instance, 45% of Catholics in Poland say they attend worship services at least weekly – more than double the share of Orthodox Christians in any country surveyed who say they go to church that often.
This political divide is seen in responses to two separate survey questions: How religious do you think your country was in the 1970s and 1980s (when all but Greece among the surveyed countries were ruled by communist regimes), and how religious is it today?