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Changing Attitudes towards Prayer: Comparison between European and Italian Trends

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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks at how prayer is faring in some European countries as revealed by the latest European Value Survey (EVS) survey of 2008-09 which, as is known, dedicates only two variables to the subject: if and how often people devote some moments to prayer, to meditation, to contemplation or similar activities. It finds confirmation of what was observed in the data from the EVS surveys: some of the "non-believers" in God (and in the Christian God) are not alien to attitudes of prayer, in some cases quite assiduous. Spiritual intentions (typical of prayers of praise and thanksgiving) are mostly blended with prayers of supplication to gain grace and earthly favours. Many Italians combine different styles of prayer, both putting their trust in formulas learnt in basic religious instruction and the years of catechism, and utilizing direct, spontaneous language that implies a more familiar and personal relationship with the sacred.

Keywords: basic religious instruction; catechism; Christian God; European countries; Italians; non-believers; prayer



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