Very amused to read this little snippet in The Irish Catholic this week:
It is hard for some to accept that Catholics are now a minority when 84 per cent of Irish people still self-identify as Catholics. Yet repeated opinion polls show that self-identifying Irish Catholics often do not really believe in the essentials of Catholicism at all: For example, polls show that 29pc of Irish Catholics believe in re-incarnation, over 20pc don’t believe in the resurrection and 7pc don’t believe in God. Clearly, many who call themselves Catholic do so only as a badge of cultural identity.
We are forever being told that it is the bracing gust of rational thought that is clearing out the cobwebs of ancient superstition, and that belief in the supernatural is being replaced by a scientific worldview. So it's rather surprising to hear that almost a third of Irish Catholics have abandoned Christian orthodoxy, not for a stubborn commitment to evidence-based thinking and the empirically demonstrable, but for a piece of Eastern mysticism.
I certainly have no wish to dishonour anybody's religious tradition, but it hardly seems reasonable to think that Catholics are struggling with the more miraculous elements of their Creed while simultaneously adopting such a startling idea as reincarnation. It confirms my suspicion that many of the Irish people who reject Catholicism, in whole or in part, simply haven't put very much thought into what they do or don't believe.