Following their study of religiosity in Switzerland, researchers from the universities of Lausanne and St-Gallen highlighted four profiles. Their book proposes a new typology, distinguishing four types covering all individuals.
17.5% institutionalsInstitutionals lay great store by faith and the practice of Christianity. They are active members of Roman Catholic, Swiss Reformed (Calvinist) and most Evangelical (other Protestant) churches. They believe in God and are convinced that life has meaning only in God and Jesus Christ. The great majority go to church at least once a month and pray every day. The study further distinguishes two sub-groups: the established (Catholic or Swiss Reformed church) and Evangelicals.
The group of alternatives brings together people who follow holistic or alternative beliefs and practices. The spirituality of alternatives is very diversified (they place their hope in stones, cosmic energy, chakras, breathing techniques, etc.). Three sub-groups may be distinguished: those who have faith in the practice of curing and healthcare, or in clairvoyance and divination or, lastly, who have an inclination towards personal development. It should be noted too that people often swap allegiances to a great extent between these worlds.
These are not people who believe in nothing. They think and act according to religious and spiritual concepts, but such notions are not particularly important in their lives. They sometimes go to church on special days, but that is the limit. Similarly, they may have recourse to one or another alternative technique, without however seeing in it any particular spiritual dimension. They can be subdivided into institutional borderlines, alternative borderlines and secular borderlines.
These are people without any religious practice or conviction. This group brings together two orientations: those who are indifferent and those who are opposed to religion. The former have a totally indifferent attitude to religion, the Church and faith, but also to esotericism or spiritual healing. The second are often as sharply critical of institutional religion as they are of alternative spirituality, as well as non-Christian religions.
Read about this research project on the website of the Swiss National Science Foundation: Belief and the ego-driven society