Is the Czech Republic the most atheistic country? A new survey casts doubts

An extensive survey looked at belief in alien civilizations, miracles, life after death, creationism, and astrology.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 05.11.2021 18:30:00 (updated on 05.11.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

The Czech Republic is often ranked among the most atheistic countries in the world. A new survey challenges that. A majority of Czech people believe in God or some higher power, according to a STEM/Mark survey conducted for the Christian group Maranatha.

Some 21 percent of Czech people strongly or mostly believe in God, and an additional 35 percent believe in some form of a higher power, totaling 56 percent. Another 13 percent sometimes believe in God and sometimes do not. Eight percent were rather doubtful about God, and 23 percent strongly did not believe in either God or a higher power.

The same survey asked whether people believed in the existence of alien civilizations – but not specifically whether UFOs visited Earth. Some 57 percent strongly or somewhat felt alien civilizations did exist, and 34 percent did not. This makes belief in God or some higher power and belief in alien civilizations almost tied.

Do you believe in God or a higher power?

I have no doubt that God exists 32 %
I believe in God but have some doubts 3 %
I believe in God only sometimes, and other times not 2 %
I don't believe in God, but I do believe in some higher power 11 %
I am rather doubtful about the existence of God 4 %
I do not believe in God or in any higher power 48 %
370 readers voted on this poll. Voting is closed

For life after death, 32 percent strongly or somewhat believed in it, while 59 percent strongly or somewhat felt it did not exist. Slightly more people believe miracles occur, with 45 percent strongly or somewhat agreeing, and 47 percent holding the opposite opinion.

On the question of whether people considered themselves spiritual, 7 percent said they were very or purely spiritual, and 27 percent claimed to be somewhat spiritual, totaling 34 percent. On the other hand, 26 percent were purely or very nonspiritual, and another 28 percent were rather nonspiritual, adding up to 54 percent.

Relatively few people felt that God created life on Earth, only 8 percent, while another 15 percent felt a higher power was responsible. Another 7 percent felt space aliens brought life to Earth. Some 49 percent felt life was created by “coincidence” without help from a higher power. A further 3 percent had their own ideas.

Nearly 62 percent believe in the theory of evolution, while 5 percent do not believe it at all. A total of 7 percent think the world was created by God and is less than 10,000 years old, while 10 percent lean toward “theistic evolution,” which assumes that God created the world and used evolution to bring it to its present state.

As for those who believe, 48 percent were brought to faith by family, and 57 percent acquired a belief in God or a higher power before reaching adulthood. Women, people over 60 years of age, and residents of Moravia are more likely to believe in God.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, 5 percent of people changed their attitude to faith and God, with 2 percent who did not believe now believing, and 3 percent going in the opposite direction. The pandemic caused one-fifth of the respondents to reflect on the meaning of life and their own mortality.

Only 2 percent of Czechs attend church services at least once a week, and 57 percent attend less than once a year. Some 7 percent regularly attend midnight mass at Christmas, and 45 percent of respondents do not attend church at all at Christmas.

Statue of St. Francis Xavier on Charles Bridge. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)
Statue of St. Francis Xavier on Charles Bridge. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)

When asked about their knowledge of world religions, the survey found that people most often spontaneously named Christianity (73 percent), followed by Islam (71 percent) and Buddhism (60 percent). Hinduism and Judaism followed at a distance.

The survey also looked at the extent to which people talk about selected topics. For example, 72 percent said they do not discuss the existence of God and about half do not usually talk about the existence of a higher power or how the universe and humans could have come into existence.

On other topics, 75 percent believe in karma – that if they do bad things, it will eventually come back. Nearly 70 percent believe in the effectiveness of acupuncture or acupressure, and 58 percent think some faith healers have the ability to heal.

There were also some specific findings for Prague. Some 53 percent never go to religious services, but the last place in this category was the Ústí nad Labem, with 73 percent never going. As for astrology and horoscopes, 28 percent of Praguers believe in them, but the Karlovy Vary region was even higher at 39 percent.

Statue of the Crucifixion on Charles Bridge. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)
Statue of the Crucifixion on Charles Bridge. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)

The highest level of belief in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was in the Zlín region, at 35 percent, and the least in the Liberec region, at 6 percent. Prague was in the middle at 22 percent.

Prague did have the most people who strongly believe alien civilizations exist, at 27 percent, and also the most people who read both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, at 14 percent.

On the gender divide, 33 percent of men and 45 percent of women believed in preordained destiny, and 22 percent of men and 43 percent of women believe in angels and demons.

More than 1,500 people over the age of 18 took part in the survey via online or telephone interviews. The full survey, in Czech, can be downloaded here.

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