FSD2589 Role of the Church in Collective Crises and Social Problems 2007
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- Kansanen, Eliisa (University of Helsinki. Department of Practical Theology)
- Karppanen, Eetu (University of Helsinki. Department of Practical Theology)
church, disasters, hazards, accidents and disasters, religious attendance, religious beliefs, social problems
The survey studied the role of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland in collective crises and in civic society. The section covering the church role in crises focused on the Asian tsunami disaster in 2004. The section covering the role in Finnish society charted opinions on the impact of the church on social problems.
First, the respondents were asked to describe their views on the Evangelical Lutheran Church with a series of pairs of adjectives (reliable - unreliable, boring - interesting, powerless - powerful etc). They were also asked to what extent they agreed with a number of statements relating to the participation of the church in public discussion, role played by the church in society and whether the church should hold on to its traditional doctrines or adapt to the views of its members.
The respondents were asked how important they considered various actions the church took in connection with the Asian tsunami disaster to be. The actions mentioned included participation in the evacuation of Finns, giving emergency help to tsunami victims in situ, urging Finns to donate money for the reconstruction of the destroyed areas, priests giving support to relatives at the airport when the deceased were flown home, memorial services held for victims etc. Opinions were also charted on what the church should do in future crises, for instance, how important it is that the Church helps victims financially, gives people comfort through pastoral counselling, gives advice to schools how to handle crises, helps in evacuation, participates in crisis prevention, organises prayer events to fulfill people's spiritual needs etc.
Next, opinions were explored on the role played by the church in Finnish society. The respondents were asked whether the church gave support and answers to problems relating to family finances, poverty, family or working life, burn-out, unemployment, young people, social exclusion, environment etc. The respondents were asked how important it was the church strove to tackle certain problems and how likely it was that it would be able to lessen these problems. Problems mentioned were included misuse of alcohol or drugs, crime, exclusion, homelessness, poverty, mental problems, financial inequality, unemployment etc. Opinions were charted on whether the church should try to influence public debate and decision-making. Some questions focused on the best methods for the church to act.
Finally, the respondents were asked whether they believed in God, how often they attended religious services, whether they defined themselves as religious, non-religious or atheists, how often they prayed and how close they felt to the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Background variable included the respondent's gender, year of birth, marital status, type of municipality, education, economic activity and occupational status and religious affiliation.
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