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Ireland abandoning religion at staggering pace

The Republic of Ireland is abandoning religion faster than almost every other country worldwide.

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A new study shows that Ireland is abandoning religion at a staggering pace. (AFP/Getty/AFP/Getty Images)

A worldwide survey on faith revealed that the Republic of Ireland is abandoning religion faster than almost every other country worldwide.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, in the previous study conducted in 2005, 69 percent of Irish people declared themselves to be "a religious person." In 2012, that number has plummeted to 47 percent.

To come to its conclusion, the research company Red C conducted its research by interviewing 51,000 people around the world and around 1,000 in Ireland, Business Insider reported.

A possible reason for the mass religious Irish exodus may be due to several sex-abuse scandals and a crisis of leadership, the Belfast Telegraph noted.

Business Insider reported that even the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kelly has been critical of the church. In 2011, Kelly said, "the rape and torture of children were downplayed in favor of upholding the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and reputation."

According to the Huffington Post, the drop in religiosity is not unique to Ireland. Vietnam had an even larger drop, dipping from 53 percent of citizens reporting as religious, to just 30 percent. Thirteen percent of the world population also describes themselves as atheists. China has the largest atheist population at 47 percent.

The most religious countries in the world are in Ghana, followed by Nigeria, according to the study.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/120809/ireland-abandoning-religion-at-staggering-pace