The "map of belief" shows surprising variations across different European countries.
Researchers at the Pew Research Center conducted a survey on the subject and the results for European countries were graphically translated into a map by the website Landgeist.
The Landgeist map presents data from 34 European countries, the continent where the majority of the world’s professed non-religious people live today. But, surprisingly, there is a wide variation from one country to another with respect to the number of people who say they believe in God “with absolute certainty.”
The lowest percentage appears in Germany, where only 10% of the population, according to this survey, say they strongly believe in God. In the same country, 9% say they pray daily, 11% say religion is very important in their lives and 24% say they attend a religious service at least once a month.
In the “ranking” of the least believers, Germany is closely followed by France and Switzerland, both with only 11% of inhabitants claiming to believe strongly in God.
In the vicinity of Germany, France and Switzerland, i.e. in the western and northern regions of Europe, which seem to be the most secularized on the continent, almost all other countries also have numbers below 20%, such as the United Kingdom (12%), the tie between Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic and Estonia (all with 13%), Sweden (14%), the tie between the Netherlands and Denmark (both with 15%) and, last but not least, Norway (19%).
The two exceptions are Ireland and Finland, which have the highest rates of people who say they believe in God “with absolute certainty” in this part of Europe: 24% and 23%, respectively.
In the rest of the continent, the figures for “absolute certainty” in God are higher, ranging from 25% to 66%.
The highest figures are in the Balkan region, with Bosnia and Herzegovina being the country on the entire European continent with the highest proportion of the population declaring a firm belief in God: 66%.
It is closely followed by Romania, with 64%. Then come Greece with 59%, Serbia with 58%, Croatia with 57% and Moldova with 55%.
In the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which stood out in the survey as the country with the highest number of convinced believers, it is interesting to know that 54% of respondents said they considered religion very important, 46% declared themselves very religious; 35% said they attended religious services at least once a month and 32% said they prayed daily.
Among historically Catholic countries, the highest rate is found in Poland, at 45%, and Portugal, at 44%.
Although usually associated with the Catholic Church because of the obvious importance of Rome and the Vatican, Italy reports a meager 26% of inhabitants who say they believe in God “with absolute certainty,” behind countries such as Slovakia (37%), Lithuania (34%), Ukraine (32%) and Bulgaria (30%).
Also historically Catholic, Spain has only 25% of firm believers in God, the same rate as Orthodox Russia.