Markus Quandt, Vera Lomazzi

«Faith, love, and hope, these three». On the (non-) effects of Christian religiosity on citizens' identification with Europe

  • Abstract

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Keywords: European Identity; Christianity; Religion; Multilevel Analysis; Comparative Survey.

Various politicians have implied that European Unification should be framed under a reference to Christian values and a shared Christian heritage. Social Science literature has not yet systematically evaluated the viability of such claims. Not only is empirical evidence still scarce, but it is also difficult to develop theoretical arguments to support such views. We assess whether this claim has any extant foundation in the minds of European citizens, by looking at how subjective European identification is associated with indicators of individual religious orientation. Using survey data from 17 European societies collected in 2009 in the IntUne project, we employ a multilevel analysis that also controls for the religious composition of each society. We find that the association of European identification with religious orientation is small or non-existent, with only respondents of Catholic denomination having higher identification levels. Other Christian groups - specifically the Orthodox - even express lower levels of European identification than non-religious respondents. Alternative factors predict European identification vastly better than religiosity does. We conclude that the perception Europeans currently have of Europe makes it unlikely that Christianity can serve as the focal point for a more deeply felt European identity.

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