2. Religious identity

Sidebar: Europeans’ relations with sacrament change over time

Focus groups in 5 countries explored how individuals’ eremite identities, beliefs and practices have altered via their lives. Groups stoical wholly of Christians or wholly of religiously independent adults common stories about a purpose of sacrament during their childhoods. Many concentration organisation participants deliberate themselves active Christians when they were young; they attended church regularly, prayed and reason normal eremite beliefs. Several people in a groups pronounced that when they reached their teenage and immature adult years, they reduced their eremite activity. Some incited totally divided from orderly religion. Focus organisation participants offering opposite explanations for how and given this change occurred. A few participants forked to sold moments when they mislaid faith and deserted Christianity. Others pronounced a connection to Christianity faded gradually as they got older, with no sold branch point. Some mentioned specific disagreements with Christian teachings or disillusionments with church leaders and institutions, including new scandals.

“My silent is Christian and her family are unequivocally arrange of Protestant. My dad’s an atheist, so silent had some-more change on a childhood. So we grew adult comparatively Christian usually going to church during Easter, Christmas, that kind of thing. … When we was substantially like 10, 11, it was usually a kind of thing where we was in between atheism and Christianity. But my silent got cancer when we was about 12, and afterwards we arrange of like, on my own, usually became utterly religious. we had 3 sisters and nothing of them did it or anything. Dad was still an atheist; my silent didn’t unequivocally change her opinions. But we became arrange of utterly like praying all a time. we listened to a lot of nation music, that we found unequivocally comforting so they would pronounce about God and things in it, and it was kind of like my spin towards sacrament in a struggle. And then, given she was marinated a integrate of years later, we was like, ‘Oh my God, it worked, God’s there for me.’ But afterwards it was my seductiveness in politics and stuff, and my bearing to lots of a some-more disastrous sides of Christianity in terms of amicable anachronistic ideas and things – so like opinions about happy marriage, or opinions about like sex before matrimony and stuff. So when we was about 16, 17, we arrange of thought, ‘Actually, I’m not too certain we determine with this institution.’… Now I’d substantially contend I’m agnostic.”
– 20-year-old dubious woman, United Kingdom

“We mostly distinguished Christmas. We didn’t unequivocally applaud Easter or anything. No one in my family was eremite in that way. No one talked about it. But in propagandize there were a church’s children hours, and we went to those when we was younger … and a children’s choir in church. we started toward removing confirmed. But we stopped that given we didn’t consider it was my thing when we got there – those meetings they had once a week. It felt a lot like they were commanding a lot on us about how to trust and about God, yet we felt that we don’t trust this. we couldn’t mount and contend something, or urge and write to God. For me it was unequivocally ‘No appreciate you,’ so we corroborated divided and that’s a initial time we satisfied – that’s when we felt that we don’t trust this.”
– 26-year-old non-believer woman, Sweden

“Of course, while we was attending acknowledgment classes, we had to uncover adult [for church]. Otherwise, we would have jeopardized a whole confirmation, and this, of course, pressured me in an upsetting way. … And after that it decreased and, frankly, when we was in college we enjoyed sleeping in on Sundays. Like we have pronounced before, a bishopric is usually around a dilemma from me, reduction than half a kilometer away, and we started to go to church again some-more mostly 10 years ago, when my father died. And a clergyman who gave a acknowledgment for him and hosted his funeral, was really, officious good, him being an familiarity of my parents, so he usually got to a heart of things in his Berlin bluntness. Seriously, that guy, he was no windbag, let me tell you! So he got to a heart of things and was all yet a talker and he was unequivocally easy to listen to. … Unfortunately, [he] late in 2011. After that, we went one some-more time and did not like it during all. With services, it totally depends on who is station adult front, and they marred it for me, going to church and attending services. And this clergyman who is now retired, he was unequivocally good and we usually could go once any 3 or 4 weeks and listen to him, and during that time we also unequivocally enjoyed this clarity of community.”
– 46-year-old Christian man, Germany

“Maybe median by primary propagandize we started doubt it. And when a initial genocide occurred in my family, we pronounced ‘No, that is not it, this is not how it works.’ And afterwards we was finished with a whole thing.”
– 29-year-old “nothing in particular” woman, Germany

“My relatives are Protestant. When we was a kid, my silent used to take us with her to church. She attempted to learn things in me about that. But we never got hooked. we never unequivocally followed. we went given she wanted me to go. In a end, we attempted to equivocate it – to equivocate it totally. She attempted to get me in it, yet we refused to stay in it and follow all that went with it given we wasn’t captivated by it. Later, we had a genocide in a family, that led me to be annoyed by faith. So, we finished adult feeling loathing given of it. When we were younger, we used to have times of ask in a family. But it didn’t continue. It all stopped. My parents, yes, they are unequivocally endangered in it. But my sisters and we don’t pronounce about it during all. We any have a possess beliefs, a possess protocol … any one individually.”
– 36-year-old Christian man, France

Focus organisation participants ordinarily described their early interactions with Christianity in terms of going to church, praying and being brought adult with sold eremite beliefs and identities, (e.g., Catholic, Lutheran, Church of England). Many used along with their families. Some described eremite aspects of their girl as something that was imposed on them, job them a “chore,” “tradition” or “obligation.” However, some in a concentration groups pronounced they have embraced these practices in adulthood; they now attend church services, urge spasmodic or reason some eremite beliefs. They gave a accumulation of reasons for these changes, such as wanting to learn Christian values to their children. Others started attending church to be partial of a village or sing in a choir. Some participants contend they have resumed aspects of Christianity, like praying on a unchanging basis, yet adopting other normal beliefs and practices.

While many of those who have left Christianity contend they drifted divided gradually, those who have returned to Christianity roughly constantly forked to a sold event, chairman or other business that stirred them to come behind to their childhood religion. And nonetheless participants talked about inconsistencies or contradictions in their eremite practices – such as praying to God yet desiring there is a God – a organisation discussions typically revolved around an substantial arrogance that Christians are supposed to attend church services, pray, trust in God, and symbol pivotal life passages (births, weddings, deaths) with eremite ceremonies. Even as they talked openly about violation these expectations – by occasionally going to church, for instance – a concentration groups ceaselessly returned to a substantial paradigm, with any member deliberating a ways in that he or she adheres to or departs from it.

I was baptized Catholic, yet my family aren’t eremite so we don’t unequivocally know given that happened. we was always sent to Church of England schools, we had to go to chapel, we had to pray, yet my relatives always told me not to indeed get endangered in religion. They don’t like a suspicion of what it does to people. And when we was about 10 years old, we flattering most suspicion about it, satisfied that we didn’t have most belief. But as we got comparison … we [pray] some-more so when we wish someone else to be OK.  So even yet we don’t have a set religion, if someone pronounced to me, do we trust in God, we wouldn’t say, “yes,” yet as I’m comparison we prob ably urge some-more now than we ever would before – if we wish a family member to be OK, if we wish something to go good for someone else. It’s some-more usually a approach of calming myself, even yet we don’t know if it indeed has any use.”
– 20-year-old dubious man, United Kingdom

“One day we was smoking some weed … and this rope came over … and we was 16. And my friends were articulate to them and we was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to pronounce to them.’ And afterwards they started articulate about God and things and we usually sat during a behind and listened and afterwards they invited us to this gig night where we didn’t need any ID. So we brought along a bottles of White Lightning and afterwards my crony who was unequivocally rebellious, approach some-more rebel than me, pronounced she was going behind to church and it was usually in my head. And things kept popping adult and kept popping up, and we was like 17 so we was unequivocally bashful and unequivocally scared. And we done this pact: we was like, ‘OK if this and this happens, I’ll go back, I’ll go there.’ I’d never been, really. And afterwards those things happened so we was like, ‘OK, I’m going to go.’ And we usually utterly favourite a singing so we went behind again. And afterwards some people were like, ‘Oh, hi! We saw you…’ and started texting me, and we usually kept going.”
– 29-year-old Christian woman, United Kingdom

“I perceived Holy Communion, was confirmed, and was a catechist administering communion to younger children until we was about 22 years old. Suddenly during that moment, a figure of God left for me. Because of life’s resources – not indispensably bad ones, usually your day to day – during that time, there was no room [for God] in my plans. … A integrate of years ago, my partner and we deliberate removing married and in a final few months [before a wedding], he brought adult a suspicion of removing married in a church. we told him we had no problem given we came from that enlightenment and those beliefs. So we started credentials classes for marriage. we regained my faith interjection to a priest, who is a crony to me nowadays, given of what he talked about: a approach of pity things. He is modern, he knows how to pronounce to people who trust in religion, yet who also trust in science. And interjection to him, we have been married for a month now.”
– 33-year-old Christian woman, Spain

“My relatives did not have most to do with church, and we came to sing in a choir by a crony and schooled how to play a few low-pitched instruments and attended church any now and then. But given we never talked about it during home, we usually gifted this with my crony a small bit – like how they did mealtime prayers and when we had sleepovers there, they prayed before bedtime. we missed that a small bit during home, yet it usually wasn’t a partial of life there and as distant as we was endangered that was OK. we satisfied when we had children and also by propagandize and nurseries, that something is missing. And we started reading a Children’s Bible to my kids, yet not in such a approach as to force it on them, yet to see how they would conflict to it and if they would wish for more, and that is what indeed happened. By my children’s ask – dual boys – we attended children’s services frequently any week. One of them was positively thrilled. The other one went, ‘Well, let’s see’ – and that was it. And both of them have been christened, reliable and a comparison one indeed usually got married in a church. And that was critical to me – for them, given it was something we had missed, something we usually gifted by a friend, and so it was critical to me for a kids.”
– 53-year-old Christian woman, Germany

“I consider it was during a age of 18, something like that. we trust problems in anticipating work and all that, attribute problems, too, maybe a need to confide, yet not wanting to disclose in friends … given they might not have given me a right advice. we don’t know, something clicked in me to go to church and to confide. It is loyal that after so many things happened in my life, and a some-more we confided [in God] a some-more things started to demeanour up, and that is when we accepted that there was truly a God and that it feels good to confide.”
– 35-year-old Christian woman, France

For sum on a concentration groups, including locations and composition, see Methodology.