In an Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll published today Almost nine out of 10 people in Ireland aged over 18 believe in God
Some 87 per cent believe in God, 7 per cent do not, 5 per cent don't know and 1 per "cent has no opinion, the poll says. Belief in God is weakest within the 18-24 age group where 78 per cent believe, 12 per cent do not, 9 per cent don't know and 1 per cent has no opinion. It is strongest in the 50-64 age group where 94 per cent believe, 3 per cent do not, and 3 per cent don't know.
Belief in God is also stronger among women (91 per cent) than men (84 per cent) and among rural dwellers (90 per cent) than urban dwellers (85 per cent).
There are differences among supporters of different parties too, with belief strongest among Fine Gael voters (95 per cent) and Fianna Fáil voters (93 per cent) followed by supporters of Labour (83 per cent), Sinn Féin (82 per cent), the PDs (79 per cent), and the Green Party (71 per cent).
Just 14 per cent of those who believe in God say natural disasters such as the recent tsunami in Asia weaken their belief.
Two thirds of believers - 65 per cent - say such disasters make no difference to the strength of their belief. Some 19 per cent said these events actually strengthen their belief.
The question was asked in this poll in the wake of recent debate over whether the occurrence of such calamities challenged the widespread belief in the existence of God. The poll was taken last Monday and Tuesday among a national quota sample of 1,000 voters at 100 locations throughout the State.
Younger believers were more likely to have their faith weakened by the occurrence of natural disasters, with the immunity of faith to such events strengthening steadily with age. In the 18 - 24 age group 16 per cent said natural disasters weakened their belief, 13 per cent that it strengthened it, 69 per cent said it made no difference and 2 per cent had no opinion.
In contrast, among the over 65s just 8 per cent said disasters weakened their belief, 33 per cent that they strengthened it, 58 per cent that they made no difference and 1 per cent had no opinion."