Weekly religion briefs rail.

Week in Religion

Religion is on the rise in Russia, but Russians don’t feel compelled to attend church services, according to new research.

During the Soviet years, enforced atheism was the norm, but since the collapse of the Soviet Union more and more people are describing themselves as religious and identifying themselves with the Orthodox Christian Church, according to Pew Research’s Religion and Public Life project. The study suggests a wider acceptance of religion since the end of communism.

In 1991, 31 percent of the population was listed as Orthodox Christian. That number jumped to 53 percent in 1998, and had reached 72 percent by 2008.

The share of Russian adults identifying with other religions, including Islam, Protestant Christianity and Roman Catholicism, rose in the 1990s and then leveled off.

In 1991, less than 1 percent of Russians identified themselves as Muslim, but that number jumped to 2 percent by 1998 and to 5 percent in 2008.

On the other end of the spectrum, people who say they hold no religion has fallen. Sixty-one percent of people described themselves as having no religion in 1991. That dropped to 33 percent in 1998 and 18 percent in 2008.

But while many people describe themselves as religious only a tiny fraction attend church services regularly, the study found.

In 1991 only 2 percent of those asked said they went to church, or other religious services at least once a month. That number increased to 9 percent in 1998, but dropped to 7 percent in 2008.

Survey Says

Between 1991 and 2008, the share of Russian adults identifying as Orthodox Christian rose from 31 percent to 72 percent, according to data from the International Social Survey Programme. During the same period, the share of Russia’s population that does not identify with any religion dropped from 61 percent to 18 percent.

— Pew Research Center

Good Book?

“The Truest Thing about You: Identity, Desire, and Why It All Matters,” by David Lomas

These truths can identify you, your successes and failures, your expectations and disappointments, your secret dreams and hidden shames. But what if your true identity isn’t found in any of these smaller truths, but in the grand truth of who God says you are? In other words, lots of things are true about you — but are they the truest?

— Amazon

The Word

pantheist: A worshipper of all gods or one who believes that God and the universe are one.

— ReligionStylebook.com

Religion Around the World

According to the CIA World Factbook, the religious makeup of Bhutan is:

- 75 percent Lamaistic Buddhist

- 25 percent Nepalese-influenced Hinduism

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