Just 46pc of us believe religion plays positive role
Less than half of Irish people feel religion plays a positive role in the country – while a third believe it has a negative effect.
Older Irish people were more likely to be positive towards religion than the rest of the population – with 70pc of those over 65 believing religion was a positive influence.
The WIN Gallup International poll found that overall, 46pc of Irish respondents said religion plays a positive role in the country.
Those of no religious persuasion at all were most likely to believe that religion had a negative effect in Ireland, at 70pc.
The survey among 66,806 people worldwide revealed that 59pc believe religion has a positive influence, at 59pc. Some 22pc of respondents believe it plays a negative role in their country.
President of WIN/Gallup International, Jean-Marc Leger, said the survey showed some fascinating results.
"Over half of the world still believes religion plays a positive role in their country," he said. But he noted that Western Europe bucks the trend significantly, highlighting the "complex role of religion" within the region and the impact of a secular outlook.
The most sceptical lived in Western Europe, which recorded significantly lower positivity than other regions.
As with the Irish, 45pc of Canadians were positive about religion, far ahead of France where just 20pc were positive and the UK (35pc). In Germany, religion was viewed more positively at 40pc, Italy at 52pc and the USA at 62pc.
Indonesia is now officially the most religiously inclined country in the world, scoring 95pc for a positive impact.
Denmark was the least inclined to be disposed towards religion, followed by Belgium, France and Spain.
The most positive countries in Europe towards religion were Iceland and Portugal. Globally, the most negative was Lebanon, reflecting its sectarian conflict.
Those educated to Masters or PhD university degree level were significantly less positive about the role religion is playing, in comparison to those with no education.
Globally, Protestants and Muslims were most positive, with Hindus least positive.