NCSR 2008 - Urban Diversity and Religious Traditions
13-15 August 2008, Åbo Akademi University

Halfway to heaven: Four types of Fuzzy Fidelity in Europe

Ingrid Storm, University of Manchester

People who are neither specifically religious or non-religious 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 subgroups 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.