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Russians who believe in a God may be more useful to society than atheists

Irina Mersiyanova, director of the Centre for Studies of Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector at the Higher School of Economics, together with a colleague from Yale University, found that Russians who believe in a God are more inclined to help non-profit organisations acting in the public interest, compared with atheists. This applies not only to those who regularly participate in religious rituals, but also to those who consider themselves to belong to a certain religion just «in words». The scientific article is published in the journal Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review.
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The authors of the new study asked 1500 Russians from 105 urban and rural communities in 43 regions of the country to fill out several detailed anonymous questionnaires.

It turned out that those who consider themselves to be believers are 33 percent more likely to volunteer than atheists. This also applies to those who do not go to church or do it very rarely. They also supported non-profit organisations (NGOs) more often, but not just any, but those aimed at helping the least protected groups of population — women who became victims of violence, homeless people, etc. At the same time, however, believers tend not to trust non-profit organisations that promote any 'national and patriotic' interests or interests of the state.

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