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  Number 92 | Marzo 1989
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Nicaragua

Poll of Youth in Managua: Strong Believers, Diverging Directions

Envío team

How religious are Managua’s young people? Have revolutionary changes, tensions within the Catholic Church or conflict between sectors of the Catholic hierarchy and the revolution affected young people's religious commitment? If so, in what ways? Has atheism gained ground among the youth? More than among adults? Is the number of evangelical Protestants growing? Are traditional and popular currents within the church equally represented among adults and youth?

Until now, questions like these have had to be answered based on intuition, pure speculation or personal experience. Although there is almost no tradition of popular opinion polls in Nicaragua, several were conducted last year. Their results are providing the basis for a more accurate analysis and presenting some surprises as well.

In the first opinion poll on religion taken among Managua's youth—in August last year, among those between the ages of 16 and 24—about 9% said they don't believe in God, and another 4% believe in God but don't identify with any religious denomination. This means that young people are more religious than the population in general, of whom nearly 20% claimed, in another survey in June 1988, to have no religious affiliation at all.* Revolutionary conditions in Nicaraguan society hardly appear to have led its youth down the road to atheism.

_________________________

* See envío, Vol. 7, No. 89, December 1988) and Encuentro, nos. 35, 36 (September-December 1988) for the results and analysis of this public opinion survey of Managua’s population, the first conducted in Nicaragua during the first nine years of the revolution whose results have been made public.


The poll of young people also shows that only a minority (17%) thinks that Christian faith und revolutionary involvement are incompatible. A majority (58%) also sees no conflict between being a Christian and carrying out their military service. It appears that the position of being both Christian and revolutionary has considerable support among the youth of Managua. Forty-four percent of the youth interviewed identified with the popular current in the churches and 31% with the traditional, a reversal of the proportions in the population as a whole (18% popular versus 47% traditional). Of the youth, 72% say they are Catholic and 10% mainline Protestant or evangelical. Half of these Christian respondents, however, gave as their definition of what it means to be a Christian as "believing in God," a theistic response that has little relation to faith in the God of Jesus of Nazareth or to seeking the Reign of God and God's justice. The faith of these young people tends to seek its realization in the revolutionary process underway in Nicaragua, but the abstract theism often transmitted in religious education does not nourish this type of faith. It is not surprising, therefore, that the majority of Catholic youth has only a tenuous church affiliation, as several indicators show.

The poll was initiated by the Theology Department of the Central American University in Managua and designed and conducted by the Itztani Research Institute, an independent institution associated with the university, which also conducted the June poll. It was taken among people who at the time of the 1979 revolutionary triumph would have been 7 to 15 years old. The population polled were those enrolled in high schools, teacher training institutes, technical, military and vocational schools, universities or adult education centers. The sample selected was based on data regarding Managua’s student population provided by the Ministry of Education. Eight hundred and eighty-two interviews were processed, representing a total student population of 49,831 in Managua. Young people who are working and not enrolled in some sort of school or are neither working nor studying were not sampled, due to statistical problems. Because of this, 62% of those surveyed are women and only 38% men, as military service has resulted in a higher presence of women in all learning institutions. The young people not represented in the sample might be expected to be more religious and to have more traditional tendencies, given their lower educational level.

Eighty-seven percent of those surveyed are single. Six percent have begun or completed grade school and 68% have begun or have completed secondary school. Twenty-five percent are enrolled in university studies; 41% are working while they study; 72% say they are Catholic (in the survey of the general population in Managua, 69.3% said they were Catholic); 10% say they are mainline Protestant or evangelical (as compared to 8.9% in the general population survey); and a total 83% claim to profess some religion (78.2% in the general population). The overall results of the poll are given at the end of this article.

Religious profiles were established for the four groups identified: Catholic, mainline Protestant, evangelical sects and those with no religious affiliation. These four profiles are detailed below.

Catholics: Progressives and Conservatives
Young Catholics present a profile that places them somewhere between a traditional Catholicism and one marked by the renewal of Vatican II and Medellín. They are traditional because 52% still see the meaning of being Christian simply as "believing in God," an affirmation not even uniquely Christian, and because only 25% read the New Testament daily or weekly. The latter suggests that 75% do not have an adequate religious foundation for relating their faith to history, as a biblical faith is inherently more rooted in history than doctrinal catechism tends to be.

This traditional aspect is only part of the Catholic profile that emerges from the poll, however. Renewal is evident, too, in the 49% who recognize "love of one’s neighbor" and not only ceremonial and legal observance as the principal Christian responsibility. Furthermore, 52%; believe in Jesus as "the son of God and truly human," while only 20% think he is "the son of God, but not a man like other men.” Overemphasis on the divinity to the exclusion of the humanity of Jesus can be an obstacle to following Jesus in history and in one's daily life.

Nearly half of the Catholics surveyed accept the right of nonbelievers to their atheism and see the necessity of respecting or supporting them, an attitude that allows for cooperation on shared aims and values.

Catholics in the poll did not have a strong sense of church affiliation: only 39% go to church "out of conviction," "to be part of a community" or "to communicate with God.” Their church attendance depends more on family tradition or social conformity than it does in the two Protestant groups (mainline and evangelical). Less than half of this group (45%,) would entrust confidences about intimate details of their lives to a priest or nun, and even fewer (39%) trust the pastoral agents in their neighborhood.

Some 44% are willing to offer voluntary service to their church, either permanently or for a few years This figure seems high, although it is much lower than the figures for the two Protestant groups, but it is difficult to say whether it represents anything more than an expression of good intentions. Sixty-two percent of this group prefers to be married within the church (or with both civil and church ceremonies), a preference that is even higher in the two Protestant groups. Responses on two principles of official church teaching show the moral conscience of Catholic youth in transition: while the large majority (79%) reject any type of abortion, 53% believe that premarital sex is not contrary to God's will. (No question was asked about the legalizing of abortion.)

This group's low sense of church affiliation becomes understandable when we look at the figures on traditional and popular church identification: 45% identify with the popular current in the church and 37% with the traditional, making this group the most divided regarding the model of church they prefer. Church groups that would provide a forum for young people who are both Catholics and revolutionaries to express their commitments in religious terms and channel them in concrete activities are not looked on kindly by the Catholic hierarchy and thus are not encouraged.

Regarding the relationship between Christian faith and revolution, only 19% consider involvement in the revolution to be contradictory to Christian faith. Roughly equal numbers believe that the revolutionary process has been completely or mostly in accord with Christian principles (36%) or that it has sometimes been in accord with those principles and sometimes not (38%).

A majority of the Catholics polled think that the Pope's controversial reception in Nicaragua in 1983 was good to excellent (64%), and 57% think that military service is compatible with Christian faith. Cardinal Miguel Obando and Father Bismarck Carballo together represent for 35% of the Catholic youth the most admirable Christian public personalities in Nicaragua, while only 18% see the three priests working in the government—Miguel D'Escoto, Ernesto and Fernando Cardenal—in this light. Thirty-four percent said there was no Christian personality they especially admire.

Mainline Protestants:
Conservative religion, open church
The theological profile of the 7% of those polled who identify themselves with mainline Protestant churches is slightly more conservative than that of the Catholics. Fifty-eight percent think the fundamental meaning of being a Christian is "believing in God,” only 42% consider "love of one's neighbor" to be the principal Christian responsibility and only 29% show tolerance for nonbelievers. Nevertheless, their image of Jesus is more progressive: 61% consider him "the son of God and truly human," and only 14% do not consider him "a man like other men."

Church affiliation and attendance among the Protestants is much stronger than among the Catholics: 77% attend church services "out of conviction, "to be part of a community," or "to communicate with God." Fifty-eight percent trust their local pastors; 67% are willing to give service to their church on a permanent basis or for a few years; and 74% prefer marriage within the church to civil marriage alone. Sixty-five percent read the New Testament daily or weekly. The only indicator of a lower level of affiliation than Catholics is that only 36% would confide personal problems to their pastors. Here, of course, Protestant tradition must be taken into account—more emphasis is placed on the individual's responsibility and less on pastoral agents regarding confession and spiritual direction than in Catholic tradition.

The moral positions of young Protestants are more in line with the official positions of their churches: 61% believe that premarital sexual relations are contrary to the will of God and 86% are against any type of abortion. The tension between traditional and popular elements of the mainline Protestant churches is much less than among Catholics: 18% identify with the former and 45% with the latter. It would appear that Protestant young people who are revolutionaries experience less conflict between their faith and their political orientation because of the greater space given in their churches to the option of being a Christian and a revolutionary. Only 15% of this group sees a contradiction between revolutionary involvement and Christian faith. Thirty-eight percent sees a significant or total agreement between faith and the revolutionary process and 33% believes that there has been some agreement and some disagreement between the revolutionary process and Christian principles.

Fewer of the Protestant youth than of the Catholic think the Pope was well received in Nicaragua (57%), although more of them either didn’t respond or said they didn’t know. A bare majority (51%) feels that military service is compatible with Christian faith—a lower figure than for Catholics. As might be expected, much smaller numbers see either Cardinal Obando (12%) or the priests in the Nicaraguan government (5%) as Christian personalities to be admired. Sixto Ulloa, a director of the principal Protestant aid and development organization CEPAD and an FSLN representative in the National Assembly, was seen by 4% as an admirable Christian figure.

Evangelicals: The Most Conservative

The theological profile of the evangelicals in the study—3% of the total sample polled—is considerably more conservative than the mainline Protestants or Catholics. For some 64% of the respondents, the meaning of being Christian is divided among theistic (28%), charismatic (21%) and legalistic (15%) definitions. Love of one’s neighbor loses the primacy it had in the other two Christian groups as the principal Christian commitment—only 31% made this response, while 37% chose “proclaim the Gospel.” While the number who see Jesus as “the son of God and truly human” (58%) is higher than among the Catholics, the number who do not believe that Jesus was “a man like other men” is much higher (29%) than in the other groups.

Religious tolerance towards nonbelievers was expressed by 30%, on a par with the mainline Protestants and lower than the Catholics. This evangelical group is the most zealous about converting at theists—60% of them seek conversions, as compared to 55% of the Protestants and only 39% of the Catholics.

The evangelicals have the highest proportion who read the Bible daily or weekly—70%. Church affiliation is also highest in this group of any in the sample. Seventy-two percent go to church out of conviction or to communicate with God. They are the group with the most trust in their pastors: 63% share confidences with them and 84% say they trust their local pastors. Their willingness to give voluntary service to the church for life or for a shorter period is equal to that of the Protestants and much higher than that of the Catholics. Their preference for marriage in the church is the highest—86%.

These young people’s positions on moral issues are the most in line with those of their denominations’ official principles: 69% reject premarital sexual relations as contrary to God's will, and 100% are unconditionally opposed to abortion.

The attraction to a popular current in the church is the lowest in the study: 30%. Those interested in such a trend would most likely come into conflict with the fundamentalist orientation of their denominations. But the ease with which these denominations multiply and new groups are formed allows them more flexibility than the Catholics have in maintaining their theological and political positions while still continuing their evangelical affiliation.

Concerning faith and revolution, 20% of the evangelicals see a contradiction between revolutionary involvement and Christian faith, a figure close to that for Catholics. There are no significant differences in the figures between this group and the Catholics on this topic: 34% see complete or significant agreement between faith and revolution, while 40% see a mixture. The percentage who think the Pope was well received (58%) is lower than among Catholics and similar to the Protestants. Fifty-six percent see military service as compatible with Christian faith—the same as the Catholics, while Cardinal Obando is admired by 14% (approximately the same figure as among the Protestants) and 8% admire the priests mentioned earlier. Sixty-five percent don't name any admirable personality—the highest such figure of any of the groups.


No Religious Affiliation: Transitional Identity

Twelve percent of the young people polled claim to profess no religion. But when asked if they believe in God, one-third of this group said they do. Even the two-thirds who said they don't believe in God chose the response that they "profess no religion" over the response that they are "nonbelievers." It would seem then that this group reflects not so much an entrenched atheism as an alienation from organized religion.

In regard to their theological opinions, 35% thinks that being Christian means "believing in God"; 42% thinks that the most important Christian duty is "love of one's neighbor"; only 23% considers Jesus "the son of God and truly human," while 36% considers him "a prophet and a just man" or "the greatest human among men" making this the group that most often gave this response. Only 6% read the New Testament daily or weekly. As would be expected, this group has the highest level of tolerance towards atheists (58%). However, in line with the fact that a third of them are believers, 22% think that young atheists "are wrong" and 5% even say that they must be converted.

Of course, church affiliation among these young people is minimal, although not totally absent, reflecting the ambiguity of their religious identity or perhaps the newness of their withdrawal from religious identification. Six percent say they go to church because of their belief, 9% would confide personal problems to religious ministers; 12% have confidence in the priest, minister or nun in their neighborhood; 24% prefer marriage in the church or both that and civil marriage and, most surprising, 11% say they are willing to give voluntary service to their church, indicating some identification with a church.

Among these young people, 13% identifies with the traditional current in the church, 41% with the popular, and 42%, the highest of any of the groups, doesn't identify with either current. The moral conscience of this group differs significantly from official church principles. Seventy-one percent sees no incompatibility between premarital sexual relations and the will of God and 32% supports abortion.

With respect to the relationship between faith and revolution, the percentage of the "nonreligious" youth who says the revolutionary process has been completely or largely in accordance with Christian values is the highest of any of the groups (51%) and only 47% of them thinks there has been contradiction between the two. They also have the highest number (74%) who sees no conflict between Christian faith and military service. We find among them the highest percentage who thinks the reception of the Pope in Nicaragua was excellent or good {72%), although the majority in all the groups chose this response.

Only 4% of this group sees Cardinal Obando as the most admirable Christian personality; 10% indicates the three priests and 20% chose Sixto Ulloa. The percentage who named no admired Christian figure was higher than the Catholics but lower than the Protestants and evangelicals (53%).

Looking at the data on this group, it would seem that the alienation of the large majority of them from church affiliation has a great deal to do with their opinions on faith and revolution, opinions that are more favorable toward the revolution than those of the other three groups and more in conflict with the official positions of many Catholic bishops and evangelical leaders.

To complete these four profiles, let’s look at some demographic characteristics of the four groups:



The table seems to indicate that the Catholics and the youth with no religious affiliation come from more comfortable economic backgrounds than the other two groups, even though those with no religious affiliation, because they include a higher number of married people, may be subjected to greater economic pressure. The evangelicals have a slightly higher economic status than the mainline Protestants. The data also suggests that the majority of the youth who drop their religious affiliation are Catholic. Catholic youth are better represented in the university than Protestants and evangelicals. From other studies, we know that there is a strong presence in the university of young people without religious affiliation.

Let’s look now at two other comparative points of interest: a deeper look at some of the roots of religious doubt and loss of faith in young people and a comparison between young people who identify with the popular current and those who identify with the traditional current in the churches.

Why do they doubt, or lose faith?

It seems that those who frequently doubt or have lost their faith (24%) have done so because their religious training has been weak. Religious teaching has not shown them clearly what it means to be Christian or has defined it as an abstraction, rather than as an affirmation of the God of Jesus Christ.

When we correlate the answers to question 24—“Why have you doubted your faith?"—with those to question 10—"What does being a Christian mean to you?”—we see that those who say they lost or doubted their faith due to the education they received (9%) or weaknesses in the beliefs themselves (4%) also say that being a Christian means either "believing in God" or “a responsibility," "following the commandments." It seems that this vague definition of what being a Christian means—shown in the variety of responses they chose, fails to satisfy those who demand more intellectual coherence from their religion, contributing to their loss of faith.

Of those who have doubted or lost their faith because it doesn't respond to the demands of the poor or of the people, a majority (71%) believes that being a Christian simply means "believing in God." It seems that for this socially concerned group, conceiving of Christianity as a simple belief in God contributed to their doubts. An abstract God who is not the God of Jesus of Nazareth, the God of the poor, probably has little to offer those who listen to the people's cries for justice.


The motives for doubting or losing faith were also slated with the answers to question 41 ("In what type of church-related organization have you participated?"). Three-quarters of those who responded that have they doubted or lost their faith because it doesn't respond to the needs of the people have participated in various church organizations. They have tried and failed to satisfy their social concerns through such organizations.

Those who say they have doubted or lost their faith due to the education they have received generally have not participated in church organizations. This implies that their lack of intellectual religious training has prevented them from committing themselves to organized religious activities. This lack of involvement in turn has probably reinforced the inadequate response they have felt to their questions about faith. Of those who responded that their doubt or loss of faith is due to weaknesses in the beliefs themselves, more than half have participated in church organizations. This suggests that the weakness of their beliefs has motivated the majority to search for a more solid connection through church activities.}

Traditional vs. popular currents?

If we correlate question 15 (identification with the popular or traditional church) with other questions, certain conclusions can be drawn.



The set of questions showing the greatest difference between the traditional and popular views (from 32 to 21 percentage points) are those dealing with four issues: compatibility between faith and revolution, evaluation of both currents in the church, opinion of Cardinal Obando and sexual morals. The greatest difference among young people identifying with the two currents is over whether they believe revolution and faith are compatible and their judgment as to whether premarital relations are contrary to God’s will.

One must take into account two points in looking at the differences between the popular and traditional currents. First, although young people tend to value their own current more highly, they also tend to have positive judgments of both currents. It seems that there is greater tolerance for religious diversity among young people than can be seen among religious or lay figures, or among adults in general. Second, there is no single religious personality that the majority of these young people admires.

The second set of question shows somewhat less difference between the two currents (19-15 percentage points):



These questions show that those who identify with the traditional current are more involved in religious practices. The difference in their view about how the Pope was received in Nicaragua loses some of its significance when we note that both groups judge the Pope’s reception as “good” or “excellent.”

In these two sets of questions, women tend to identify with the traditional current, while men identify more with the popular current. Whether or not the respondent has started university, however, does not seem to have an effect.

Finally, we have a third set of questions showing less difference between the two currents (between 14 and 10 percentage points):



The differences in this third set of questions revolve around theological and moral opinions, religious practices and commitment, the degree to which faith responds to the problems of these young people and parents’ occupation. In general, those who identify with the popular current are less in agreement with the official positions of the church, find less satisfaction with their faith and are less involved religious practices—in other words, are more secularized. The difference among parents who work for the government is not so significant, given that the majority of parents in both groups work outside the government. The percentage of parents of those in the traditional group who are self-employed suggests the factor does have an impact.

A religious and political faith

From a practical point of view, if the churches do not take steps to make the young people identified with the popular current—the majority—feel more “at home,” it is likely that their faith, now at a fairly high level, will diminish as they become adults. This is underscored by the fact that the young people who identify with the popular current take communion less often than the others, are less likely to feel that their faith meets their spiritual needs, attend Church with less conviction, have more doubts, are less likely to commit themselves to voluntary service for their church and feel less confidence in their priests and pastors.

There is little difference in the two groups’ responses to questions of theology (what does it mean to be Christian, what is the importance of loving one’s neighbor in the Christian faith, etc). There is also little difference in the two groups’ tendency to read the New Testament (nearly one-third of both groups read it on a daily or weekly basis), in their knowledge of the body of the Social Doctrine, the Catholic Church’s body of teachings on social and economic issues (very little) or of the latest document issued by the Nicaraguan bishops (minimal). Very few in either group believe that religious education aims to foster a commitment to the people; rather, most believe, surprisingly, that religious education is meant to “train good believers.”

In general, although it is clear that Managua’s young people show a greater degree of interest in religion than one might have expected, they see it more as following certain church positions regarding the revolutionary process than as an autonomous dimension related to the world, history and society. In general the youth of Managua identify with one or the other of the two currents which, like it or not, have a definite political dimension. Only 20% do not identify with either current and another 5% don’t know or didn’t respond. This reality—that most youth want to believe, and want to belong to one or the other current—presents a challenge for both the revolution and the Church.

The challenge of youth for the revolution and the church

The survey shows that those who have a more fully developed faith are more likely to have a firm church affiliation, as one would expect. But it is also clear that in Nicaragua, a more developed faith does not mean necessarily being in agreement with the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, Medellin and Puebla. The fact that the majority of respondents state that being Christian means simply “believing in God” reveals a quite conservative religious education, which did not stress that being a Christian means, above all, "following Jesus Christ," “acting today to recreate Jesus," “searching for the Reign of God and His justice," thus putting oneself in favor of the aspirations and cause of the poor, entering into conflict with all structures of society and attitudes that do not favor them.

The survey shows a correspondence between more conservative religious attitudes and more solid church affiliation. Many young people find themselves in conflict over church allegiance, due to their desire to practice their faith by committing themselves to the Nicaraguan revolution.

This shows a need for a plan to reform Christian education so that young people come to follow the Gospel of Jesus and are challenged to search for a way to follow Jesus in their lives, not just to believe in a God that may not be the God of Jesus. For it is the God of Jesus who calls on people to build a new society and a new human being.

This requires religious leaders to have more faith in the young people of this country. The youth of Managua, in general, do not see a contradiction between Christian faith and this revolution. But they are also critical from the perspective of their faith; some believe that the revolution in practice has not always been in accord with Christian principles. The defense of the country is the issue where young people most diverge from the teachings of the churches, which have generally had a negative position towards the military draft.

Finally, the fact that no religious personality is chosen by more that 27% of young people as widely admired, and that even Cardinal Obando is chosen by less than half of the young people who identify with the traditional current of the Catholic Church (45%), suggests the failure of church organizations to provide examples for and channel the energy of young people.

The poll indicates that the vast majority of Managua’s young people continue to be believers, contrary to the popular perception that socialist regimes lead to atheism. It also suggests that many young people are not in agreement, with the division in the Nicaraguan church, which includes intolerance towards the possibility of uniting faith and revolutionary practice.

If there is no dialogue, no tolerance towards different political currents within the church. there will be a falling off in church participation among young people. The survey shows young people want to belong to the church. Every religious leader ought to listen to the appeal of those who for a long time now have been calling for a dialogue between the traditional and revolutionary currents within the church. This would not suppress the conflict, but it would strengthen faith, because it would increase love and understanding and be more true to the realities of a society in conflict, looking for ways for all to forge a national project together.

The persistence of faith among the young people of Managua, even when they don't share the beliefs of certain hierarchical leaders of the church, shows that in Nicaragua faith springs mainly from cultural factors: the family, religious festivals, saints' images, critical moments in one's life and the very strength of the Gospel itself, the seeds of which bear fruit in moral and ethical attitudes. It is evident that having discovered Christian commitment with its political consequences, these young people do not easily yield to institutional pressure.

The challenge Nicaragua faces today, above all to confront the economic crisis, is a battle to save the life of the poor, which requires the same generosity of spirit that the people showed before July 1979 in risking their lives to overthrow the Somoza dictatorship. This challenge demands the same indignation and compassion—Christian and revolutionary—in confronting the injustice of poverty. The heroic sacrifices made during the insurrection and in defending Nicaragua have their counterpart in the daily austerity, hard work and creativity that are now needed to build a better future. Without this, and we will lose strength, and lose the battle to build a new society. The young people of Nicaragua are waiting for us to set them examples, and demand that both the church and the revolution be relevant to their lives.

POLL RESULTS


1. Sex of respondent
Male 38%
Female 62%

2. How old are you?
16-19 54%
20-24 46%

3. What's your marital status?
Single 87%
Married 9% With companion 3%
Divorced 0%
Widowed 0%

4. What's the highest grade of school you've finished?
Illiterate 0%
[Recently) literate 0%
Began primary school 5%
Finished primary school 1%
Began secondary school 62%
Finished secondary school 6%
Began university 26%
Finished university 0%

5. What's your mother or father's occupation?
Worker 13%
White-collar worker 23%
Artisan 5%
Salesperson 11%
Military 1%
Professional 11%
Domestic 4%
Itinerant artisan 1%
Housewife 11%
Farmer 15%
Other 6%

6. For whom does your father or mother work?
Government 28%
Private sector 16%
Self-employed 40%
Don't work 12%
Didn't respond 3%

7. If you work, what do you do?
In family business 3%
Salaried worker 28%
Self-employed 8%
Don't work 69%
Military 1%

8. Do you believe in God?
Yes 91%
No 7%
Don't know/didn't respond 1%

9. What religion do you profess?
Catholic 72%
Protestant 7%
Evangelical 3%
Believer 4%
Other 1%
Skeptic 0%
Nonbeliever 1%
None 12%



10. What does being Christian mean to you?
Happiness 9%
A necessity 5%
A responsibility 16%
A superstition 2%
Believing in God 49%
Following the commandments 7%
Nothing 2%
Other 6%
Don't know, didn't respond 4%

11. What is the principal duty of a Christian?
Proclaim the Gospel 13%
Obey church authorities 8%
Read the Bible 4%
Call for unity of poor and rich 2%
Believe in God 12%
Don’t know/didn’t respond 6%
Other 5%

12. According to church teachings, who is Jesus?
The greatest among men 10%
A prophet and just man 16%
Son of God adn truly human 48%
Son of God but not a man like other men 19%
The savior of the world 1%
Don’t know/didn’t respond 3%
Other 3%

13. How frequently do you now read the New Testament?
Daily 14%
Weekly 13%
Sometimes 41%
Don’t read it 32%

14. What do you know about the teachings and social doctrine of the church?
Nothing 24%
Everything 3%
A lot 10%
Little 61%
Didn’t respond 2%

15. What current of the church do you identify with?
Popular 44%
Traditional 31%
None 20%
Don’t know/didn’t respond 5%

16. How often do you attend mass or church services?
Weekly 39%
Every now and then 28%
Don’t attend 18%
Occasionally 13%
Didn’t respond 1%

17. Why do you attend church?
Family tradition 18%
Because I like the parish pries or pastor 2%
To venerate a particular icon 2%
Out of social conformity 9%
To be part of a community 5%
Out of conviction 30%
To communicate with God 4%
Don’t attend 14%
Other 12%
Didn’t respond 4%

18. Do you believe a priest, pastor or nun is religiously superior to you?
Yes 40%
No 56%
Don't know/didn't respond 5%

19. Do you feel enough trust in priests, pastors or nuns to confide intimate thoughts to them?
Yes 39%
No 60%
Don't know/didn't respond 2%

20. Do you trust your neighborhood priest or pastor?
Yes 38%
No 60%
Don't know/didn't respond 2%

21. How much time would you be ready to give in voluntary service for your church?
My whole life 33%
Some years 8%
Some months 9%
Some days 12%
Some hours 10%
Nothing 18%
Don't know/didn't respond 9%

22. Do you believe that your Christian faith responds to your spiritual needs?
Yes 78%
No 14%
Sometimes 4%
Conditionally 2%
Don't know/didn't respond 2%

23. Have you doubted your Christian faith?
Yes 24%
No 63%
Sometimes 8%
Don't have doubts 3%
Don't know/didn't respond 2%

24. Why have you doubted your faith?
Due to education received 9%
Doesn't respond to cries (of people for justice, etc.] 11%
Due to weaknesses of the beliefs themselves 4%
Other/didn't respond 76%

25. What is your altitude towards young people who are atheists?
They have the right to their beliefs 32%
They have to be converted 14%
We have to live with them 6%
We have to support them 7%
They are wrong 27%
No attitude 3%
Other 3%
Didn't respond 8%

26. What do you think about religious festivals?
A massive communion of the Christian faith 23%
Pagan acts 19%
Events that can be manipulated ideologically 4%
Cultural traditions 37%
They are good 4%
Other 5%
Don't know/didn't respond 8%

27. How does God express himself in your life?
Through priests and pastors 5%
Through contemplation and prayer 28%
Through the sacraments 4%
Through social commitment 4%
In work 5%
Through suffering 8%
In good things 4%
In every moment 15%
He doesn't express himself 7%
Don't know/didn't respond 13%
Other 8%

28. When is a sin committed?
Bad will 25%
Disrespect for law 27%
Denial of love 4%
Denial of Gospel principles 25%
When something bad is done 5%
Don't know/didn't respond 7%
Other 8%

29. Do you think that premarital relations go against the will of God?
Yes 40%
No 53%
Depends 3%
Don’t know/didn’t respond 4%

30. Are you in agreement with abortion?
Yes 12%
No 82%
Don't know/didn't respond 2%
Depends 4%

31. What type of marriage do you prefer?
Church marriage 23%
Civil marriage 26%
Both 34%
Free union 13%
None 2%
Other 1%
Don't know/didn't respond 2%

32. If you are Catholic, when was the last time you took communion?
Less than a month ago 26%
Less than a year ago 18%
A long lime ago 30%
Don't lake communion 19%
Don't know/didn't respond 6%

33. What does reaching a classless society mean to you?
The goal 31%
A necessity 16%
Utopia 17%
A totalitarian project 4%
Equality 4%
Other 5%
Don't know/didn't respond 23%

34. What do you think are the goals of religious training?
Commitment to the people 12%
Train good believers 68%
Adjustment to society 1%
Different ideological ends 4%
Other 5%
Don't know/didn't respond 10%

35. How has the revolution acted, according to your religious perspective?
Totally in accord with Christian values 15%
Mainly in accord 23%
Mainly against 17%
Sometimes in accord, sometimes against 37%
Don't know/didn't respond 8%

36. What do you think is the difference between the popular and traditional currents in the/your church?
The popular wants to mix Marxism with religion and the other does not 13%
The traditional is reactionary and the other is not 20%
A difference of interpretation of the church 5%
Degree of obedience to the church 5%
Disobeys the official orientations of the church 5%
The traditional doesn't change, the popular changes 8%
Other 4%
None 11%
Don't know/didn't respond 28%

37. How do you think the Pope was received in Nicaragua?
Excellent 15%
Good 49%
Bad 15%
Terrible 11%
Don't know/didn't respond 10%

38. Do you think being a Christian and serving one's military service is compatible?
Yes 58%
No 34%
Other 1%
Don't know/didn't respond 1%

39. Who is the Christian personality you most admire in Nicaragua?
Cardinal Miguel Obando 27%
Ernesto Cardenal 7%
Sixto Ulloa 1%
Miguel D’Escoto 9%
Fernando Cardenal 2%
Bismarck Carballo 1%
Other 8%
None 39%
Don't know/didn't respond 6%

40. Are you aware of any Christian youth communities?
Yes 60%
No 39%
Don't know/didn't respond 1%

41. In what typo of church-related organization have you participated?
In community projects 17%
Cultural 12%
Pastoral 11%
Other 9%
None 49%
Didn't respond 2%

42. Have you read the bishops' last pastoral letter?
Yes 9%
No 90%
Didn't respond 2%

43. What do you think of the traditional current in the church?
It promotes unity among Nicaragua 18%
It is infiltrated by yankee imperialism 8%
It maintains traditional basic values 17%
It is the most legitimate, in religious terms 5%
It is committed to the opposition political parties 14%
It supports the contras 3%
It is most faithful to Christianity 12%
Don't know/didn't respond 22%

44. What do you think of the progressive current in the church?
It is faithful to the FSLN's position 5%
It promotes disobedience of the church hierarchy 4%
It promotes peace 39%
It is faithful to the Gospel 13%
It politicizes everything 15%
Don't know/didn't respond 24%

45. How did the respondent seem to understand the survey questions?
All 51%

The majority 37%
Half 8%
Lean than half 1%
Few 2%
None 0%
Don't know 1%

46. How did the respondent answer questions?
With confidence and without fear 80%
At first not trusting, but later with trust 11%
Not trusting, but without fear 3%
Showed fear and lack of trust 3%
Showed trust but also fear 2%

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