Looking good is more important than religion to Irish college students, according to a recent survey.
The Student Marketing Network poll, conducted among 1,146 third-level students across the country over the last two weeks, students said that they regard 'looking good' (fifth) as being more important than 'religious beliefs' (sixth), with 'friends and family' topping the list of importance.
It also found that 57.8% claim to be Catholic, compared to 84.16% of the general population (Census 2011).
One in five students responded that they were Atheists.
The survey found that 2.2% of students are Church of Ireland/Protestant, compared to 2011 census figures of 2.81% in the general population.
Of the Catholic students surveyed, 61.5% said ‘Yes’ when asked if they take communion, only 32.2% believe that it is the body and blood of Christ.
When asked “Do you attend communal religious ceremonies and functions?” the highest response was ‘No’ at 61%, and those who responded ‘Yes’ mainly attend only 1-3 times a year.
When offered a number of choices for why students don’t follow a religion, the most popular response was that they ‘Don’t believe in the teachings’ (77.8%).
Some 45.2% of students only follow a religion because of their parents influence, yet 40% of the students who took our survey wouldn’t want their children to follow the same religion they were brought up with. Only 13.7% follow a religion due to a strong faith.
Only 11.7% said that they follow religious teachings in everyday life.
When asked how they would characterise their belief in God, only 37.5% state that they believe in God with the top response at 41.5% being that students are unsure if there is a God.
Our survey has revealed that the views of 78.7% students have been negatively affected with regard to how they perceive the Catholic Church after the scandals were uncovered.
The results of the survey show that 83.5% of the Irish students believe that abortion should be allowed in Ireland and 76.8% think that the Catholic Church has too much power in Ireland.
When we asked the students ‘Do religious beliefs have a place in society?’ 54% stated that they do not believe society needs the influence of religion and 65.6% of the students who took part in the survey do not believe that religion makes the world a better place.
Colman Byrne, Managing Director of Student Marketing Network and oxygen.ie and former two-term president of Union of Students Ireland, said: “ The survey brought up a lot of interesting information that people may have different views on but it certainly shows that there is a major disconnect between organised religion and young people in Ireland”.
“One thing is for certain, we all need to be aware of the rise in student Jedis among us, with 3.4% of our respondents claiming to be members of this monastic spiritual organisation. Maybe they’re on to something…May the force be with them!”
51.2% of those who took part in the survey were female, 48.8% were male.