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Survey shows most young Irish believe in God

The perception that the youth of Ireland has abandoned religion is cast in doubt by the results of a new study that claims 95% of young Irish people pray at some time.

The study, to be published shortly in Doctrine and Life magazine, reveals that a mere 8% of people between the ages of 20 and 35 said they had no experience of God. 4% said they felt God had not influenced their lives. 7% said they had no relationship with God and 5% said they never prayed.

In an interview published in the Irish Independent, school chaplain Fr John Callanan SJ said the young people he worked with were usually bored by traditional religion lessons. "In contrast, anything on video, provided it was well-chosen and snappy, was likely to keep the crowd transfixed."

While regular classes are met with boredom, he said young people were very excited about faith in action. Activities such as organising projects for the Third World, or holding a 24 hour fast were very popular. He said if he mentioned he was organising a hospital visit, volunteers would "appear out of the woodwork."

Young people take part in things which have meaning for them, he said. Fr Callanan concluded that there was an old saying: "It's a poor shopkeeper who blames the customer because they aren't buying the products he has laid out for them. "We in the Church might have something to learn from it."