Protestant catholic dating
In many countries, sizable minorities among both Catholics and Protestants (roughly four-in-ten or more Catholics in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy and France and comparable shares of Protestants in Switzerland and the UK) say the two groups are more different religiously than they are similar.And Protestants and Catholics who consider religion to be important in their lives are more likely to take their respective church’s traditional position on salvation compared with those who say religion is less important.Yet differences remain between the two Christian traditions.Geographically, Protestants are still concentrated in the north and Catholics in the south of Europe.
(See this sidebar for more on the Reformation.) Many Europeans identify with particular streams of Protestant Christianity rather than with Protestantism as a whole.Nevertheless, for the purposes of this analysis, Anglicans are included in the Protestant category, along with the other churches that broke with Rome starting in the 16th century.The Netherlands is the only country surveyed where a plurality of the adult population (48%) is religiously unaffiliated (identifying as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular”).Today, however, Western European Catholic and Protestant laity are no longer starkly divided by this theological issue: More Catholics and Protestants say both faith and good works are necessary to get into heaven than say faith alone leads to salvation.And considerable shares of both groups do not take a clear position on this issue, perhaps reflecting a lack of familiarity with the theological intricacies.
But secularization trends are evident throughout the region.