Although traditional places of worship are emptying, religious practices and beliefs continue to be upheld in Switzerland. Almost one in two people say they believe in a single God and one in four in a higher power of some form, according to a survey.
More than 20% of the population say that they do not have a religion, but only 12% say they are atheists.
These are some of the main conclusions of the religions part of the language, religion and culture survey 2014 conducted by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), which was published on Friday.
A majority of people surveyed had attended a religious service of some kind up to five times in the past year – and in most cases these were linked to a special event such as a wedding or funeral.
Women are more inclined than men to be religious or spiritual. In all, 35% of women said they prayed daily, compared with 20% men. Their beliefs were also more varied: for example, 58% women surveyed said they firmly or rather believed in guardian angels or supernatural beings who watch over us. Among the men, this was 37%.
Women were also more likely to belief in the abilities of faith healers and psychics, the survey found and go to therapists who offer a spiritual component.
Overall, religion and spirituality was found to play an important or very important role for more than half of respondents (56%) during times of crisis and also during illness (47%). Beliefs were also important in determining attitudes towards nature and the environment and bringing up children (43% and 47%). They were less important for work, political decisions or relationships.swissinfo.ch and agencies