Exploring Religion and Religious Freedom in Nations

Exploring Religion and Religious Freedom in Nations

Collecting reliable data on religion internationally can be incredibly challenging. Surveys are limited by not only the difficulties of translating questions into multiple languages but also in creating questions that are equally salient across different cultures and religious traditions.

While some nations include religion questions on their censuses, not all do. Even among those nations that do collect centralized data on their populations’ religious compositions, the varying methodologies and motivations underlying these efforts make comparisons difficult.

Despite these challenges, there are some sources of information that you can turn to.  The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) contains a wide variety of data and is constantly being updated as new sources become available. This tutorial will quickly introduce you to some of these resources and how they can be used.

Let us begin by opening your internet browser and going to the homepage of the ARDA at www.thearda.com.

To assist you through this tutorial, boxes like the one below will highlight the key steps and instructions:

Throughout the tutorial you will find questions to help check for your understanding and highlight key information.  These questions will look like the following:

 

What is your name?

 

_________________________________________

 

Step 1: Examining a National Profile

You will notice a series of red tabs across the top of the page representing different parts of the ARDA’s website. In this tutorial we will be focusing on the National Profiles section. Click on the red National Profiles tab.

(If you hover your mouse over the tab, a drop down box will appear.  However, for now just ignore these options and click on the red part of the tab.)

You will notice that you are taken to a page with the names of many nations listed alphabetically. You can click on a nation’s name to take you to the ARDA’s profile for that nation.  Let’s start by looking at the profile for Russia.

You will be taken to the first page of the national profile for Russia. On the left-hand side you will see a box containing the flag and some basic information for Russia.

 

What is the population size of Russia?

 

_________________________

 

On the right-hand side you will see a pie chart showing the religious composition of Russia.

 

What is the largest religious group in Russia?

 

_________________________

 

What is the second largest religious group in Russia?

 

_________________________

 

Below these you will see four figures that look like gauges.  Each of these gauges represents an aspect of religious freedom in Russia.  A score of 10 on these gauges means that the nation has a high level of religious regulation and\or persecution.

Note that if you hover your mouse over a gauge, more information about how the meaning and calculation of the measure will appear.

 

What is Russia’s score on Religious Persecution?

 

_________________________

 

Finally, below this you will see a map and a short history of Russia.

Above the flag and the pie chart you will see several gray tabs.  Each of these tabs takes you to another part of the profile for Russia where you can find more information on a particular topic.  For example, click on the tab for Religious Adherents.

You will be taken to a page with a table showing Russia’s religious composition and how it compares to other nations in its region and in the world.

 

What percent of Russia is Muslim?

 

_________________________

 

What percent of Eastern Europe is Muslim?

 

_________________________

 

Below this table you will see a brief description of Russia’s religious composition.

Let’s look at another tab.  Click on the tab for Religious Freedom.

On this page you will see the same gauges shown on the first page of Russia’s profile, but now you can see how Russia compares on these gauges to other nations in its region and in the world.

 

What is Russia’s score on Government Regulation of Religion?

 

_________________________

 

What is Eastern Europe’s score on Government Regulation of Religion?

 

_________________________

 

Below these gauges you will find a few tables that provide some more detail about religious freedom in Russia.  Note that some pieces of information will not be available for every nation.

Often you are not just interested in gaining information about a nation’s religious environment but also in its political and economic climate. If you look you will see that the next tab in the national profile is labeled Socio-Economic. Click on this tab.

On the socio-economic tab you will find information about Russia’s political system and how this had changed over time.  You will also find tables that provide you information on the education, life expectancy, inequality, fertility, and other key data.

 

What was Russia’s political typology in 1950?

 

_________________________

 

What was Russia’s political typology in 2000?

 

_________________________

 

Finally, you will notice that there is one last tab.  This tab is labeled Public Opinion. Go ahead and click on it.

The public opinion tab will show you responses to questions related to religion from surveys done in Russia.

 

In 2005, what percent of the population in Russia attended religious services at least once a month?

 

_________________________

 

Note that not all nations will have information in the public opinion section of their national profile, as surveys simply do not exist or are not available for many nations.

This is the end of Step 1 of this tutorial.  You now know how to explore a nation’s profile on the ARDA website.  In the next step you will learn how to view lists of nations based on different criteria, such as religious freedom.

Step 2: Ranking Nations

In Step 1 you learned how to explore the national profile of an individual nation. Sometimes it is useful to be able to view a list ranking nations on different religious variables. For example, what if you want to know which nation has largest Muslim population? In this step you will learn an easy way to do this using the ARDA site.

Let’s start back and the homepage of the ARDA.  If you are no longer on the ARDA website, open your browser and type in the address.  If you are still on the ARDA website, you can click the ARDA logo in the top left-hand corner of the page to go to the homepage.

If you look in the red main menu across the top of the ARDA homepage, you will see a tab for QuickLists. Click on this tab.

Now, if you look on the right-hand side of this page you will see sections for Compare Nations, Compare Regions and The World.

Let’s start by clicking on the Religions link under the Compare Nations section.

After clicking on this you will see that a list appears. Click on the “Most Muslim Nations” link in this list.

You will see a list of nations. Note that this list is currently sorted by the “Percent” column.

 

What nation’s population is the highest in percent Muslim?

 

_________________________

 

If you click on the “Adherents” column heading, you can re-sort the list by the total number of Muslims.

 

What nation has most total Muslims?

 

_________________________

 

Let’s go back to the QuickLists menu.

This time click on the “Indexes” link under the Compare Nations section of QuickLists.

After clicking on this you will see that a list appears. Click on the “Government Regulation of Religion (2005)” link in this list.

 

Remember that a 10 on this measure represents high regulation, while 0 represents low regulation. What nations the highest in Government Regulation of Religion in 2005?


_________________________

_________________________

_________________________

 

Let’s go back to the QuickLists menu.

Instead of ranking nations, let’s now rank regions in the world. Click on the “Indexes” link under the Compare Regions section of QuickLists.

After clicking on this you will see that a list appears. Click on the “Government Regulation of Religion (2005)” link in this list.

 

What world region ranked the highest in Government Regulation of Religion in 2005?

 

_________________________

 

This step has taught you how to quickly generate ranks of nations and world regions on key measures of religious adherence and religious freedom. Sometimes, though, you are interested in comparing a handful of specific nations. The next step will teach you how to do just that.

Step 3: Comparing Nations

In Step 1 we explored how to view the national profile of an individual nation. In Step 2 we explored how to create ranked lists of many nations and world regions. However, often you might want to compare a few nations to each other in more detail.  For example, maybe you want to compare Brazil, Russia, Turkey, China and India. This step of the tutorial will show you how to do that on the ARDA’s website.

Let’s start back and the homepage of the ARDA.  If you are no longer on the ARDA website, open your browser and type in the address.  If you are still on the ARDA website, you can click the ARDA logo in the top left-hand corner of the page to go to the homepage.

Now, go back to the National Profiles section of the ARDA website by clicking on the red tab in the menu across the top of the page.

You will see the alphabetized list of nations on the first page.  However, you will notice several gray tabs above this list. One of these tabs is labeled Compare Nations. Go ahead and click on this tab.

On this page you will see a drop down box with a list of nations.  Let’s start by selecting the nation we examined in Step 1.  Use the drop down box to select Russia.

You will notice that after selecting the first nation a second drop down box appears for “Country 2”. You can keep selecting nations up to a total of eight (8).

Let’s select four more nations: Brazil, Turkey, China, and India.

Once you have these five nations selected, click the button for Run Comparison. Note: Just leave Country 6 as “Select a country”.

You will first see a page that has a table showing you some basic information for the nations you chose to compare.

 

How do these five nations compare on their Gross National Income Per Capita?

 

Russia: _________________________

 

Brazil: _________________________

 

Turkey:_________________________

 

India:   _________________________

 

China: _________________________

 

Below that table you will see a table summarizing the state of religious regulation and persecution in each of the selected nations.  Finally, below that you will see brief histories of the selected nations.

Now, above the first table you will see a series of gray tabs.  Note that these are the same tabs that we explored in the national profiles in Step 1 of this tutorial.

Click on the gray Adherents tab.

You will be shown a table comparing the religious compositions of the nations you selected for comparisons. Below this table you will find brief descriptions of the religious composition of each nation.

 

What percent of these nations’ populations are Muslim?

 

Russia: _________________________

 

Brazil: _________________________

 

Turkey:_________________________

 

India:   _________________________

 

China: _________________________

 

Go ahead and click on the next tab for Religious Freedom.

Here you will find several tables providing you a variety of measures of religious freedom in the nations you selected.

 

What are the levels of Government Regulation of Religion in these nations?

 

Russia: _________________________

 

Brazil: _________________________

 

Turkey:_________________________

 

India:   _________________________

 

China: _________________________

 

Which of these five nations has the highest level of Religious Persecution?

 

_________________________

 

_________________________

 

There are two more tabs. One is for Socio-Economic comparisons and the other is for comparing any available responses to survey questions about religion.  Let’s explore both of these, starting with the Socio-Economic tab.

 

In 2000, what type of Government was present in these five nations?

 

Russia: _________________________

 

Brazil: _________________________

 

Turkey:_________________________

 

India:   _________________________

 

China: _________________________

 

What percent of these nations’ populations attend religious services at least once a month?

 

Russia: _________________________

 

Brazil: _________________________

 

Turkey:_________________________

 

India:   _________________________

 

China: _________________________

 

You are now at the end of this tutorial.  You should be able to now explore individual national profiles and compare nations’ profiles using the ARDA’s website.

Go ahead and spend some time exploring these resources on your own.

 

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