Sociological Report about The Reformed Church in Hungary 2014

2015. január 13., kedd

On the request of the Reformed Church in Hungary, Károli Gáspár University of the RCH started its research on church sociology in 2013. The first results have been presented to the Closing Synod in November.

The church sociology research group of the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary has conducted a large-sample survey research during the summer of 2014 in eight locations in Hungary with appr. 120 students, reaching out to 1456 adult respondents. The survey questionnaire included variables inquiring about social-demographical background (gender, age, income, school attainment, labour status, subjective perception of social status and income), religious behaviour, religious affiliation and identity, as well as several indicators of faith and belief. These latter 16 items were identical to those included in a similar block of questions previously applied in the “Ifjúság 2008” and “Magyar Ifjúság 2012” national representative youth surveys. Throughout the secondary analysis of the databases of these youth studies, we could not find a well interpretable underlying structure of these beliefs. That is why we aimed to scrutinize (1) whether an internal structure of faith existed when studying our adult sample and if this structure conformed any known fiath traditions, and, furthermore, (2) whether this structure of faith and belief depended on the religious behaviour, religious identity and social status of respondents. To our findings, items of belief and faith could be well distinguished in two main groups: Christian and esoteric. Faith in afterlife was, however, not necessarily linked with Christian belief. Christian belief was positively linked with religious identity, denominational affiliation, frequent church-going as well as importance of religion. In most cases, faith in afterlife was related to the highest commitment and the most intensive practice of one's religion. As to the demographical background, women and members of the older age-groups appeared to be the most religious, whereas the youngest were the least religious. Christian belief was more a feature of people in a middle or higher social status as well as with a higher educational attainment which was rather counter-intuitive given the effects of the restricting politics of the previous communist regime. Faith in afterlife most often conformed these trends. Belief in esoteric practices showed the highest presence among people aged between 30-39; however, educational attainment and social status did not make any significant difference in this regard.

Read the full report and the presentation of the Committee on Church Sociology 

Article: Ádám Hámori

Originally published in Szabó, Zsolt ed. (2014) Kálvinizmus ma [Calvinism today], proceedings of the conference held in Budapest, 10 November 2014, Budapest: Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary, Faculty of Law

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