Saturday, July 16, 2005

Favorable views of religious groups, or not :: Pew Global Attitudes Project

Yesterday, today's blogs - part of Slate - kindly linked to my post on the latest Pew Global Attitudes survey. In that post I offered no views or analysis of my own, but merely quoted a part of the Washington Post coverage that I found significant. Specifically (while citizens of Muslim-majority countries showed an increasing intolerance of terrorism (as I posted on here)), their attitudes towards Christians remain largely unfavorable in contrast to those in Christian majority countries whose attitudes towards Muslims remain largely favorable.

In the table below, taken from Pew's summary of findings, are the results for the question "Please tell me if you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable opinion of (insert)?":

(The table combines the 'very' and 'somewhat'; not reported above is the percentage "don't know/refused.)

Some things to notice; readers will notice others:
  1. The U.S. and Canada are very similar; the slight Canadian tilts away from Christians and towards Muslims could simply be from differences in the distribution of religious heritages. Given the negative attitudes many liberals have towards the Religious Right I'm a little surprised 87% of Americans surveyed had a favorable view of Christians. Of course the U.S. has a very large percentage of persons who report in survey that they are believers, but look at the similar percentage favorable for Christians in European countries where more are secular/non-believers.
  2. Among Christian-majority countries Great Britain has the largest percentage favorable towards Muslims (72%).
  3. Germany, which projects an image of tolerance, appears to be an outlier in Europe: only 40% of Germans said they had a favorable view of Muslims. Indeed: we can see that Germans as unfavorable disposed towards Muslims as Jordanians are favorably disposed Christians.
  4. Given that Turkey wants to join the EU, it comes as a warning that only 21% have a favorable view of the historically majority religion of much of Europe. Among Muslim-majority countries only the Pakistan has such a low percentage favorable to Christians.

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