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Halfway to Heaven: Four Types of Fuzzy Fidelity in Europe

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People who are neither very religious nor specifically nonreligious are generally understudied despite comprising on average half the national population in most European countries. From its size alone, we should expect this group to hold some of the clues, not only to how religious change takes place in Europe, but also why. Using the Religious and Moral Pluralism (RAMP) survey from 10 European countries, four subtypes of “fuzzy fidelity” were identified through cluster analysis. These included both “believing without belonging” and “belonging without believing.” Detailed analysis of each type show great national differences in the ways that religion is practiced and understood. A sizable minority of the Dutch population can be classified as “Believing without belonging,” whereas Scandinavians are much more likely to belong without believing. The diversity of the religious landscape within fuzzy fidelity highlights the methodological issues involved in using single-scale measures for multidimensional phenomena.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute for Social Change School of Social Sciences University of Manchester

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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