Andrzej Dominiczak


According to the study published in February by the Public Opinion Research Center (CBOS), since 2005, i.e. the death of pope John Paul II, the number of Poles who identify themselves as non-believers doubled from 4% to 8%. In the same period, the proportion of strong believers fell from 12% to 8%. Similarly, religious practices were on a relatively stable level in the years 1997-2005, but declined after the death of John Paul II. Since 2005, the proportion of respondents who practice regularly, i.e. attend religious service at least once a week, fell from 58% to 50%, while the number of people who never do it rose from 9% to 13%. The true picture, however, is probably much brighter. The study conducted in 2014 by the Statistical Institute of the Catholic Church shows that the number of practitioners is even lower and for the first time has fallen below 40% of the so called "obligated catholics" who constitute 82 per cent of the faithful, while - according to the their own data - there are about 33.5 million of the faithful constituting about 87% of the Polish population. So, if we refer the result of the catholic counting to the whole population, we will find that its is only 27 to 28 per cent of Poles who actually attend religious services.

The huge gap between the data provided by CBOS and the Catholic Institute can probably be explained by the impact of the variable of social approval, as some respondents to the CBOS survey have been probably afraid to say the truth about their religious habits. (The data collected by the Church are not based on a survey but on the actual number of mass attendants on a chosen Sunday). The impact of the same variable have probably decreased the number od respondents to CBOS survey who dared to identify themselves as non-believers. It this impact is of comparable strength, we might or even should conclude that the proportion of atheists is actually closer to 15 per cent. Based on my own study, I think that this estimation is not overly optimistic, as most self-confessed catholics actually do not believe in any tenets of the Catholic faith - they simply hope that some of them are more or less true. They are not atheists - yet - but much closer to non-belief than to real faith.

Polish new atheist do not alwyas meet the criteria of what we consider as humanism but both the rate and the course of these changes look very promising.

(We will soon add more information)

Towarzystwo Humanistyczne
Humanist Assciation

Free counter and web stats