Between Construction and Deconstruction of the Universes of Meaning

Research into the Religiosity of Academic Youth in the Years 1988 – 1998 – 2005 – 2017

by Sławomir H. Zaręba (Volume editor) Marcin Zarzecki (Volume editor)
Edited Collection 232 Pages

Table Of Content

List of contributors

Łukasz Budzyński, PhD, The Jacob of Paradies University – Gorzów Wielkopolski, the Department of Administration and National Security. Area of research interests: social capital, migration, identity and social security.

Marcin Choczyński, PhD, lecturer in the Department of Sociology of Work and Organization in the Institute of Sociology at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw (UKSW), secretary of ‘Academic Journal of Sociology’ and member of Research Laboratory of Polish Measurement of Attitudes and Values (Polish: PPPiW). Main research areas: sociology of religion, problems of structure, social change and revolution and sociology of music.

Elżbieta Firlit, sociologist with a post-doctoral degree, employed as a professor at the Sociology Unit of the Institute of Philosophy, Sociology and Sociology of Economics (Polish: IFSiSE) at SGH Warsaw School of Economics. Between 1987 and 2014, she cooperated as an academic with the Institute for Catholic Church Statistics SAC (Polish: ISKK SAC). Author and co-author of many research projects in sociology of religion, social attitudes and values and transformation of cultural identities in the contemporary world.

Andrzej Górny, PhD, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Silesia. His main research interests include sociology of religion, sociology of family, sociology of Internet and sociology of youth. His current research focuses on structures and functions of contemporary family structures and religiousness in modern Web society.

Andrzej Kasperek, assistant professor, the Faculty of Ethnology and Education,the University of Silesia in Katowice (Poland). His research interests include the sociology of spirituality, sociology of religion and reflection on contemporary culture.

Wojciech Klimski, PhD, assistant professor, the Department of Sociology of Religion at the Institute of Sociology, UKSW. Main research areas: sociology of religion, religious institutions in modern societies and issues in the field of tanatosociology and new spirituality.

Tomasz Michał Korczyński, PhD, works in the Department of Methodology of Research and Sociological Analysis, the Institute of Sociology at the Faculty of Historical and Social Sciences of UKSW. Main research areas: national stereotypes, youth sociology and sociology of knowledge.

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Andrzej Ochocki, full professor, doctor habilitated, sociologist of the Department of Sociological Research and Analysis Methodology, the Institute of Sociology, UKSW, lecturer of demography. Main research areas: contemporary demographic theories, foreign and internal migrations, global population processes, social policy towards the family.

Paweł Prüfer, doctor habilitated, associate professor, The Jacob of Paradies University – Gorzów Wielkopolski, the Department of Economics. Area of research interests: social development, sociological theories, social and economics ethics, sociology of religion and sociology of education.

Wojciech Sadłon, PhD, Institute for Catholic Church Statistics SAC. Main research areas: religiosity, social capital, third sector and Catholicism.

Maria Sroczyńska, post-doctoral degree holder, associate professor, the Faculty of History and Social Sciences, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, the Head of the Department of Sociology of the Family, Education and Upbringing in the Institute of Sociology. Her scientific interests focus on the field of sociology of religion, education and upbringing, family and intimacy.

Wojciech Krzysztof Świątkiewicz, full professor, doctor habilitated, sociologist, University of Silesia in Katowice, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra. Main research areas: sociology of culture, sociology of religion and sociology of family.

Agata Rozalska, MA, PhD student and academic in the Institute of Sociology, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw (UKSW). Main research areas: urban social movements, lifestyles and sociology of art. Member of Board of Warsaw Department and Main Board of Polish Sociological Association.

Katarzyna Uklańska, PhD, sociologist, lecturer in the Institute of Sociology, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw. Main research areas: sociology of education and young people, sociology of lifestyles and axiology in consumer society.

Sławomir H. Zaręba, full professor, doctor habilitated, sociologist, Head of the Department of Sociology of Religion, Dean of the Faculty of Historical and Social Sciences of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University. Main research areas: sociology of religion, culture, morality, youth and professional ethos.

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Marcin Zarzecki, PhD, sociologist of religion, methodologist of social sciences, statistics, assistant professor at the Department of Sociology of Religion, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Historical and Social Sciences, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw. Main research areas: research on social and religious movements, sociology of politics and economic sociology.

Sławomir H. Zaręba and Marcin Zarzecki

Homo consumens, homo eligens, homo creator – Processes of fragmentation of religious life among university students1

Abstract: The conducted survey is a diachronic measurement with statistical time series of years 1988-1998-2005-2017. In the measurement in 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2017 the research technique f2f audit PAPI was used. To include in the study 1067 university students, 97 student groups were drawn, including 55 groups in the second year and 42 groups in the fourth year of studies. The effective sample was n=2133 (rr=0,8) respondents, including n=1339 (rr=0,83) school students and n=794 (rr=0,74) university students. The survey uses the research tool, in which dimensions were primarily established by Charles Glock and Rodney Stark and a community component by Ohio Fukuyama. The term ‘global profession of faith’ was introduced by French sociologists Louis Dingemans and Jean Rémy.

Keywords: homo consumens, homo eligens, homo creator, dimensions of religiousness, methodology, sample, research, PAPI.

Analytical categories

Among young people, symptoms of social change emerge in multiple manners (see Mannheim 1992–1993, pp. 57–68). This observation by Karl Mannheim determined the concept of survey of social and religious attitudes conducted by the integrated research team of employees of the Department of Sociology of Religion in the Institute of Sociology at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw and Institute for Catholic Church Statistics SAC at the turn of April and May 2017. The title of the book is an intentional reference to the concept of social constructionism. That idea manifests itself in the subjective function of participants of an interaction who reconstruct social contexts in the course of the interaction on the basis of symbolic meanings. A reference store of knowledge that is used to interpret social reality is handed down through social activities (among others, through socialization in a family, religion, mass media and education system). As ←11 | 12→a result, one can participate in a collective world of ideas, notions, norms, values, symbols and signs, which serve to construct social reality, also the reality in which religion is a point of reference to inner experiences and a part of community life. Dominance of religious or non-religious rules governing structuralization of reality is determined by the effectiveness of socialization agendas. Construction and deconstruction of the world of meanings refer to the subjectivity of a human being and social construction of reality based on communication activities and interpersonal relations, reflectiveness and the construction of the world of social meanings. In that paper, it was assumed that sociologists are participants of such a process of the construction of the world, rooted in the same world of meanings and symbols, and in mechanisms of construction of social reality use gnoseological models, which enable them to ‘understand’ intentions hidden behind declared attitudes, opinions and judgments. As regards the conceptualization of cognitive aspects, it was assumed that axionormative profiles, outlooks and attitudes and opinions and activities of young people studying (either in a secondary school or at university) are determined by participation in the world of values, norms, senses and meanings, within which social and religious attitudes function. The dynamics of variability of the community of young people seems to correspond with an ideal typological model of mind of a postmodern man, that is, according to the metaphoric typology of the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, with ‘a life traveler’, ‘a tramp’ and ‘a player’ (compare Bauman 2000). According to Bauman, postmodernism is mainly about distant look at modernism with a simultaneous attempt at a mature recapitulation of achievements of a modern era (Bauman 1985, p. 39). However, postmodernism assumes within interpretation of collective identities also a kind of anthropology – its hallmarks can be found in the survey of contemporary young people. The idea of deconstruction of traditional systems of values and replacing them with diversity, ahistorism, presentivism and, in terms of religious experiences, reinterpretation of religious tradition in the context of independent needs without taking into account their historical and cultural development process leads to reviewing of the social world. In that review, moral norms and components of outlook become isolated and mosaic elements of a defragmented social society.

The model of a consumer society and commercial culture provides references of lifestyles, including religious attitudes which are a set of selectively chosen elements of the religious system, such as in the Catholicism of Poland. The category of homo consumens refers to the social segment in which consumerism is a dominant lifestyle widely interpreted as a criterion of civilizational development. Economies of affluent societies produce material goods and offer services which satisfy artificially created needs, also called status needs by sociologists (the idea of limitless consumption is ←12 | 13→defined as status symbolism). Consumer lifestyle consists in obtaining more or less useful material objects and modern technology products, as well as in searching for new experiences, also spiritual ones. Patterns of attractive social roles, strictly connected with those contemporary artefacts, are created by mass media, more generally speaking, by popular culture. Everyone can create his or her image and his or her identity. And thus, intellectual trends and quasi-religious movements which are associated with modernity, nonconformism, breaking with rigid frames of cognition and imposed outlook axioms and religious dogmas become more and more important (see Krasnodębski 1996). Religious doctrines become a commercial product on the market of human needs. It is a product subject to rules of free competition and that is why it must be served in as an attractive way as possible.

In a description of a community of young people, the analytical category homo consumens is connected with the category homo eligens. The representatives of young people function in the environment with a multitude and variety of possibilities, which encourages to constantly experience and search. Pluralism concerns not only the material aspect of consumerism, but also the world of ideas and religious beliefs. The pluralism of ‘spirituality’ and ideas complies with the postmodern demand for diversity and decentralization of traditional religious institutions. In postmodern societies emerge tendencies to subjective and selective treatment of truths of faith and sanctioned religious moral norms. Sociologist Peter L. Berger refers to the etymological meaning of the term ‘heresy’ and claims that heretic mentality becomes a dominant model of religious aspect of personality (see Berger 1990, p. 13n). The consequence of the process of privatization of religion among young people is the reduction of influence of institutionalized religion and marginalization of traditional religious organizations. As a result, the constant act of searching becomes more important than a final choice. Searching is a natural part of the cycle of psychophysical development of young people, but in postmodernism it has become a value itself. As interpreted by Baumann, an individual is a self-creating human in a constant process of interpretation of the environment and creation of his or her own identity (or many different identities) – homo creator. The author of the work ‘Postmodernism as a Source of Suffering’ uses a metaphoric pattern of personality – a ‘life tourist’ whose survival strategy and aim of existence is ‘not to be defined, to make every adopted identity only an outfit, not a skin, an outfit that does not fit too tight, to be able to get rid of it as easily as one takes off a sweaty shirt’ (Bauman 2000, p. 143). If there are no constant points of reference, an individual strikes a pose of a self-creator and takes responsibility for his or her independent decisions himself or herself. Therefore, there emerges a notion of ‘independence’ understood in an individual way: it is the independence of a tourist who thinks that ‘other people should keep away ←13 | 14→from his or her travelling and nobody should tell him or her when it is right or wrong to get one’s stuff together and hit the road’ (Baumann 2000, p. 144).

Dimensions of religiousness

The acceptance of the above conceptual assumptions as regards the survey of young people’s religiousness enhances the methodological conviction that there is no consensus on the operationalization of the term ‘religiousness’. The controversy mentioned results from not only the adoption of different methodological approaches, but also from antrophilosophical disputes in the scientific environment. However, to conduct a research process, it was necessary to conceptualize, explain and operationalize religiousness and to use a procedure that would allow to obtain valid and reliable indicators of the phenomenon. Operationally, religiousness is treated as an overall term for all attitudes to religious phenomena. To prepare a research tool, the logic of measurement of attitudes based on the definition of attitudes by Stefan Nowak was applied: ‘an attitude of a certain man to a certain object is the whole of relatively durable predispositions towards judgment of this object and emotional reaction to it or accompanied emotional and judgmental predispositions of relatively durable convictions about nature and qualities of this object, or relatively durable predispositions towards behaviour connected with this object’ (Nowak 1975, p. 23). Relative homeostasis between components leads to an entire, complementary and balanced attitude, while dominance of one of the components enables one to name three different attitudes: an intellectual attitude with dominance of the cognitive aspect; emotional and judgmental attitude, in which the affective component is dominant and action-oriented attitude, with dominance of the behavioral element. Such differentiation makes it easier to formulate simple models of religiousness, for example, intellectual attitude creates intellectual and inquisitive religiousness, emotional and judgmental attitude emotional and engaged religiousness and action-oriented attitude ritual religiousness. From that point of view, the entire attitude leads to mature and conscious religiousness.

The survey uses a research tool in which dimensions were primarily established by Charles Glock and Rodney Stark and a community component by Ohio Fukuyam. A parameter (or dimension) means a fundamental aspect of religiousness, whereas an indicator (or index) is a detailed feature that is used to measure the parameter (see Piwowarski 1996, p. 49). Dimensions were adapted to polish conditions by Rev. prof. Władysław Piwowarski, Rev. prof Witold Zdaniewicz and Rev. prof Janusz Mariański, who created jointly the ‘Questionnaire of Research of Religiousness’. The questionnaire uses a set of parameters created ←14 | 15→by Charles Glock and Rodney Stark. Yet in 1958, Charles Glock established four dimensions – ideological, experiential, ritualistic and consequential, and in 1962 he added the intellectual parameter. Thanks to the cooperation between Glock and Stark, the conception was developed and clarified (see Stark, Glock, pp. 182–187). According to the authors, all five dimensions of religious engagement can be found in all religions, but in research practice, one should specify individually and separately for every religion or denomination what indicators should be included in the parameters. In the ‘Questionnaire of Research of Religiousness’, two dimensions were added to five basic ones, that is global attitude to religion and community parameter. The term ‘global profession of faith’ was introduced by French sociologists Louis Dingemans and Jean Rémy to describe motivation and dynamics of changes of one’s individual religiousness and identification of individuals with religious groups of reference. Parameters and indicators enable one to study environmental forms of religiousness, as well as religion defined in an ecclesiastical way, that is, religion promoted formally and informally by the Roman Catholic Church and handed down through religious socialization by basic socialization agendas.

In this survey of social and religious attitudes of studying young people, to the research tool, religious dimensions adopted by forms of activity on the Internet were added. Based on the typology of religion by Chales Helland, the variables describing the categories online religion and religion online were included in the multiple-choice answers.


The methodology of the study assumed that research aims will be achieved through statistical calculations. The collected quantitative data were processed using IBM SPSS statistical software version 24 under UKSW licence. The recommendation of the method of the quantitative research was based on the assumption that the scope and kind of the obtained information should make it possible to generate multifactor statistical descriptions enabling one to explore, describe and explain. The conducted survey is a diachronic measurement with statistical time series of years 1988–1998–2005–2017. The first version of all-Poland sample of young students who study was prepared in 1988. It was updated in 1998. In 2017, due to the fact that vocational colleges (Polish: szkoły policealne) were closed down the sample was corrected by updating secondary/vocational schools (Polish: szkoły średnie i zawodowe) and universities maintaining an overall number of statistical nests (170). As regards universities, half of the respondents were students of the second year and the other half students of the ←15 | 16→fourth year. For a methodological reason, in the survey conducted in 2017 the schema was modified by the introduction of a selection of regional criterion (voivodeship). As in case of previous measurements, only full-time students of state universities took part in the survey. Such a decision was taken to maintain characteristics of samples from the previous research. In the measurements in 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2017, the research technique f2f audit PAPI was used. Pollsters were students of sociology, economics and Man in Cyberspace at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw.

On the basis of all-Poland structure of students of secondary/vocational schools and university students, it was agreed that in the overall sample of 2673 respondents there should be 1606 students of secondary/vocational schools and 1067 university students. To include in the survey 1606 students of secondary/vocational schools, 73 schools (Polish: oddziały) were drawn. To include in the study 1067 university students, 97 student groups were drawn, including 55 groups in the second year and 42 groups in the fourth year of studies. The effective sample was n=2133 (rr=0,8) respondents, including n=1339 (rr=0,83) school students and n=794 (rr=0,74) university students. In order to adjust the structure of the sample to the structure of the population, RAKE weights were used, and to meet ESOMAR and PKJPA standards, respondents’ answers were anonymous. The analyses included in the work consist of statistical distribution and contingency tables, along with correlation tests prepared exclusively for the subset of university students, excluding secondary school students. A separate monograph was devoted to the last mentioned group.

As far as university students were concerned, the faculties of studies were drawn (along with departments and university) and numbered from 1 to 97. If it was an odd number, the students of the second year were under study and if it was an even number, students of the fourth year. The frame for drawing was an alphabetical list of names of students in a group in which, depending on the number of students, a starting point was 2 (with a selection of people with even numbers), 3 (with a selection of people with a number which can be divided by 3) or 4 (with a selection of people with a number which can be divided by 4).


The research sample includes 60 % women and 40 % men. Among female and male students there are 34,2 % inhabitants of the country, 16,3 % inhabitants of a city with 50 000 inhabitants, 10,3 %- inhabitants of cities between 50 000 and 100 000 inhabitants, 13 % inhabitants of cities between 100 000 and 250 000 inhabitants, 10,8 % inhabitants of cities between 250 000 and 500 000 inhabitants ←16 | 17→and 15,4 % inhabitants of cities with over 500 000 inhabitants. Over 90 % respondents declared not being a member of a social or political organization, while 84,5 % respondents declared not being a member of a religious community or a church association. Nearly 1/4 of the respondents assessed material situation of their family as very good, 1/2 as good, over 1/4 as average, 3,5 % as bad and 0,8 % as very bad (see diagram 1).

65,7 % respondents represent mathematics and life sciences studies, including medical studies, and 34,3 % respondents are students of humanities, social or economic studies. The structure according to faculty of studies is shown in diagram 2.

Below there are tables of variables of differentiation of a sample according to religion identification (see Tab. 1), global attitude to religion (see Tab. 2) and religious practices (see Tab. 3) in time series compared with measurements from 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2017.

Tab. 1: Identification with religion in 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2017 (%). Source: Department of Sociology of Religion of UKSW and Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church SAC




Roman Catholic





Muslim, Buddhist


No answer

1988 (N=350)









1998 (N=523)









2005 (N=1086)









2017 (N=794)









Tab. 2: Attitude to religious faith in 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2017 (%). Source: Department of Sociology of Religion of UKSW and Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church SAC




Very religious


Indecisive, but attached to religious tradition



No answer

1988 (N=350)







1998 (N=523)








2005 (N=1086)








2017 (N=794)








Tab. 3: Attitude to religious practices in 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2017 (%). Source: Department of Sociology of Religion of UKSW and Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church SAC




Practise regularly

Practice irregularly

Practice seldom

No practice

Doesn’t apply

No answer

1988 (N=350)








1998 (N=523)








2005 (N=1086)








2017 (N=794)








The process of validation of the data was based on the findings in the SPSS data matrix alogical observations and variable values, patterns and trends of lack of data, as well as on the analysis of the distribution of variables. To identify anomalies, that is observations that diverge, a computer technique of set analysis was used. Additionally, procedural analysis of overlap was made in order to specify scale and cause of completeness of the frame, respectively (that is units ←17 | 18→that meet qualification criteria- which should be found in the frame, but were not included), creating the effect of ‘lack of overlap’ and sufficiency of the frame (that is units which should not be found in the frame as far as qualification criteria are concerned, but they were included). In the study, weighing (Polish: ważenie wieńcowe) was used. The idea behind that kind of weighing consists in declaring ←18 | 19→target status (both proportion and absolute numbers) of variables which are weighed. The program by a series of weighing and corrections of the results obtained to the targeted results (so-called iteration) achieves the status of a sample possibly the nearest to the status of the population. The analysis of the data was made by means of empirical frequency distribution tables and contingency tables. It is a classic way of analysis and reduction of data. The χ2 independence test was used to find statistically significant correlations between data and to measure the strength of correlations between variables, C Pearson and V ←19 | 20→Cramer contingency coefficients were used. In the procedure of crossing of the variables, Bonferroni correction was used.

The collective study published in 2018 consists of fifteen papers written mainly by well-known religion sociologists who represent various academic centers in Poland, whereas the given post-research collection of works includes abridged versions of the previously mentioned papers. It is worth adding that the order of chapters does not reflect the order of questions in the research tool, but is the effect of organization and aggregation of the issues discussed in three research areas: I. The Decalogue Toposes. Sense Worlds. New Morality, II. Postsacrum. Religious escapism. Hope metaphysics and III. Collective Identities. Social Trust. Passions.

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1 The articles were published in the paper Między konstrukcją a dekonstrukcją uniwersum znaczeń. Badania religijności młodzieży akademickiej w latach 1988–1998–2005–2017 ed. Sławomir H. Zaręba & Marcin Zarzecki (WWS: Warszawa 2018). The present edition in English contains new versions of the articles.

Wojciech Świątkiewicz

Christian Decalogue: Between acceptance and marginalization

Abstract: Attitudes towards the Decalogue, expressed either by the acceptance or rejection of its principles, constitute the signature of the transformation in Christian civilisation and culture. The author presents an argument about the deconstruction of the Decalogue which undergoes procedures of relativisation and is inscribed into cultural space transitioning from objective to subjective morality, from the morality of commands and proscriptions to the morality of casual choices, justified by the principles of situational conformity. Attitudes towards the Decalogue are the results not only of the consequence of selective choices and rejections, but also of subjective composition and casual structuring of the principles of the Decalogue. The level of acceptance of the commandments is relatively low, not only of those that apply to the principles of social morality, but more so those of family and sexual morality. On the one hand, this can be recognised as a manifestation of the culture of axionormative pluralism, but also as a manifestation of a specific twist in contemporary culture and an expression of the anomalies of social order. The Decalogue assumes the character of a reversed figure, marginalising the supernatural, as well as its religious roots in God’s creation. The reversed Decalogue shows up the cracks in the foundations of Christian civilisation and the lost experience of cultural identity. The chapter contains five points: The Decalogue in Christian tradition and its role in culture, The Decalogue accepted and rejected, The Decalogue of men and women, The Decalogue of those with a deep faith which they practice systematically and Conclusions.

Keywords: Decalogue, reversed Decalogue, morality, culture, religion, youth

Decalogue in the Christian tradition and its role in culture

Providing a set of normative principles regulating relations among people and between people and God, the Decalogue constitutes a foundation of Judeo-Christian civilization, manifesting not only its particular character but also distinctiveness from other civilizational circles. It defines the criteria of good and evil, order and chaos, the sacred and the profane, the rules of moral life and social roles; explains the sense of individual and collective life and shows the goal that man and Christian communities should pursue. It determines the founding values of human society. It is the principal and major source of the legitimization of social ordo, i.e. a Christian civilization finding its justification and excuse in the act of Creation, in the Biblical Books and in Tradition, of which the Church ←23 | 24→is the depositary and guardian. ‘The Decalogue contains a set of basic precepts and prohibitions on the basis of which the human personality, family coexistence and ties between small groups were formed. The Judeo-Christian values constituted the foundation of legislation regulating the order of most European countries and the rules of international law. These values represented the necessary binding element integrating human personalities and social groups’ [Pawełczyńska 2004: 91].

The Decalogue is the fundamental and unchangeable deposit of the Christian faith. Both the content of the commandments and their structure form the foundations of Christianity, and thus shape the profile of civilization growing out of the acceptance of the Decalogue as the axionormative basis, expressed in the principles of social order and the richness and diversity of Christian cultures and characters. “The Commandments of the Decalogue are primary norms of natural law that apply to everyone in the same manner. Although they were formulated with the use of concepts and language of a particular culture, nowadays they still provide an area of freedom for all, protecting the values and good of people, and thus enabling everyone to live a truly human life. The commandments of the Decalogue are formulated in general terms; they can be expressed more specifically in the form of a detailed code of conduct. They form the ethical foundation of individual and social life” [Mariański 2006b: 99].

The choice of the Decalogue is the choice of the Christian way of life. The acceptance of Ten Commandments and their implementation in the practices of everyday life can be considered as a fundamental measure of the state of Christianity as a religion, but also as a basic indicator of Christian civilization, regardless of divisions or confessional specificity. Throughout centuries, Christianity fused with the figures of culture, becoming a culture itself and shaping the projects and lifestyles of generations in the processes of socialization and upbringing. It was like air necessary to live in the obvious, natural and undoubtable world. The changes taking place in contemporary culture make this air thickened and marked by social differentiation, separating different spheres of life – religion, culture, work and family – in the axionormative and behavioural dimension. The changes also result in structural individualism with a wave of radical privatization of individual decisions, ambivalence and risk, chaos and randomness of the adapted life models. These models are not necessarily inherited but emerge following their own scenario; the choice has to be made without the reliance on the certainty of permanent values. Other effects comprise radical pluralism with the tolerance of conflicting values and norms, which gives the impression that everything is allowed, and disinstitutionalization with the growing claim for autonomy in relation to institutions – guardians of ←24 | 25→values and norms – in favor of their selective choice and adjustment to individual projects of life, which in particular refers to the delegitimization of the role and function of the Church. Many sociological studies conclude that in the age of modernity the need for a transcendent justification of the moral order is disappearing. People discover that they can live morally in a more individualized way, regardless of church structures or Christianity as an axiological system.

Values and moral norms legitimized by the Catholic religion are subject to relativization and marginalization; they are questioned and rejected. The extent to which the secularization of social life is manifested and the degree to which the mentality of individuals, particularly younger generations, is secularized, which primarily affects the realm of everyday life, and the morality of marital and family life seems to be a signature of contemporary culture [cf. Mariański 2017; Zaręba, Borowik 2016: 206; Sroczyńska 2013]. According to Wojciech Pawlik, “weakening the meaning of the Decalogue in social life does not mean […] radical axiological negation, it rather consists in relativizing meanings and scopes of application of particular norms. Interpreting the Decalogue in their own way, but without rejecting it, young people admit its importance as a certain moral constitution of our civilization, and still in everyday normative practices manage without directly referring to it” [Pawlik 2004: 172].

Decalogue accepted and rejected

Nearly 60 years ago, Karl Rahner put forward the thesis “Christianity is changing from being habitual to being Christianity by choice” [Rahner 1959: 33, quoted in Piwowarski 1996: 100]. In agreement with Zdzisław Krasnodębski, it can be added that “Christians in Europe have become accustomed to their cognitive and ethical minority status” [Krasnodębski 1996: 180], and the Christian Decalogue has been inscribed in general cultural, ideological or even political processes of relativization and delegitimization of Christian axiology.

The results of empirical sociological research conducted in the student youth environment presented in this study were focused on questions about accepting successively presented Commandments of the Decalogue. It should be emphasized that these were not questions about knowledge that are important from the cognitive, somewhat theoretical, point of view, but about acceptance that can be directly related to the practices of social life. It can hardly be assumed that the rejection of the Decalogue, i.e. the lack of acceptance of these precepts, will as if in defiance of the presented attitude be expressed in the lifestyles supposedly inspired by the norms of the Decalogue. The survey questions were ←25 | 26→followed by four possible answers by means of which the respondents could express their attitude towards each commandment. The formula of the question was as follows: “Think about each commandment and determine to what extent it is binding for you personally. Please use the following scale: 1. definitely binding, 2. partially binding. 3. definitely not binding, 4. hard to say”. Further analysis involved the answers in which respondents definitely accept or reject the precepts of the Decalogue. It was assumed that the other answers indicate attitudes that can be qualified as relativizing the commandments in different ways, with their acceptance being dependent on individual decisions justified by various situations and circumstances that were not the subject of this research. Therefore, it is not known what factors caused difficulties in answering questions or what circumstances determined only partial acceptance of the Decalogue.

However, the degree of accepting or rejecting the Decalogue can be regarded as the most important sociological indicator showing the extent of the secularization of mentality and social life. Various indicators of religious life and religious condition of analysed communities, discussed in the studies of sociologists of religion, usually refer to historically variable models of religious ecclesiasticalism, which is certainly built on the basis of the Decalogue, but is dressed in a variety of cultural costumes in which religion is expressed and expresses itself. Considering that, the Decalogue somewhat precedes culture, being its source and ultimate tool of legitimacy. As the foundation of Christianity, being pre-confessional and inter-confessional, it is the axionormative basis of all Christian denominations, embodying particularly for them the sociological principle of separateness from other religions and civilizations.

It can be argued that in the modern culture, the Decalogue is pushed into the market of ideas and values, the imperative of choice, the individualization of rituals and compulsive consumerism. It is becoming included in the world of media or internet paradise, newspaper astrology, pseudoreligious sects and illusions of projects of life as a cult of youth and everlasting entertainment. It is between acceptance and rejection, revealing the broken foundations of Christian civilization. The extent of these processes is shown in the table below.

Tab. 1: Decalogue: Between acceptance and rejection (in %). Source: Department of Sociology of Religion of UKSW and Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church SAC

Decalogue commandments

Definitely binding

Definitely non-binding

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.



Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.



Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.



Honour thy father and thy mother.



Thou shalt not kill.



Thou shalt not commit adultery.



Thou shalt not steal.



Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy .neighbour



Thou shalt not covet neighbour’s wife.



Thou shalt not covet neighbour’s slaves, animals or anything else.



The data distribution presented in Tab. 1 shows clearly that none of the commandments is fully accepted in the surveyed academic youth environment. The commandment protecting human life is accepted to the highest extent (83.9 %), but in this case it is not absolute acceptance, and nearly 3 % of respondents recognize that the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” is definitely not binding, which can be interpreted as rejecting the rule of absolute protection of human life. The first commandment is accepted “only” by 53.3 % of respondents, with ←26 | 27→nearly 16 % of the surveyed students considering it to be definitely non-binding. The rejection of this commandment is additionally emphasized by a strong lack of acceptance of the second commandment: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,” expressed by more than one-fifth of the respondents (22.4 %) and rejection of the commandments regarding the celebration of Dies Domini by one fifth. All the first three commandments regarding the relationship between God and man are characterized by the highest degree of rejection, incomparable to the extent of rejecting the other seven commandments of the Decalogue regulating relations between people in the sphere of general morality and the morality of sexual life. The empirical hierarchy of the commandments of the “new” Decalogue is shown in List 1.

List 1. Hierarchy of validity of the Ten Commandments with regard to the degree of acceptance of individual rules

1. Thou shalt not kill (83.9 %).

2. Thou shalt not steal (75.9 %).

3. Honour thy father and thy mother (73.8 %).

4. Thou shalt not covet neighbour’s wife (61.6 %).

5. Thou shalt not commit adultery (59.4 %).

6. Thou shalt not covet neighbour’s slaves, animals or anything else (53.4 %).

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7. Thou shalt have no other gods before me (53.3 %).

8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour (48.7 %).

9. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy (32.6 %).

10. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain (26.7 %).

The sociological research, the results of which are commented on in this study, not only shows the extent of acceptance, marginalization or rejection of the Decalogue, but also the degree of its reevaluation or – perhaps more precisely – reverse valuation. The order of social significance of the examined norms that the survey results show can be considered as an important indicator of secularization and laicization. The secularization here means that in the social space the significance of norms directly related to relations with God, i.e. religious norms, is marginalized. The principle of acceptance of the only God alone (“Thou shalt have no other gods before me”) is the only one that is slightly more accepted by the surveyed academic youth. More than three-quarters of the respondents think that two other commandments do not provide a premise affecting one’s life decisions or profiles of one’s personality, which is an important indicator of the advancement of secularization processes. In the mentality of the student community, the Decalogue takes the form of an inverted figure, marginalizing its supernatural, religious roots in the creative act of God. Commenting on similar tendencies in the answers of Polish secondary school leavers, Janusz Mariański concluded that “Polish youth has greater difficulties in comprehending the theological meaning of commandments defining duties towards God than duties towards one’s neighbours” [Mariański 2011: 195].

The Decalogue is treated more as a set of principles regulating relations between people than relation with God, who – in the perception of a large group of respondents – is erased from the consciousness and deprived of social meaning. In this sense, a significant percentage of the surveyed youth can treat the scale of acceptance of the Decalogue as the affirmation of the profane concept of life that has lost its religious legitimization. The surveyed students, with their declarations regarding the degree of acceptance of the Decalogue, are part of the trend of cultural transformations aimed at moving away from religious orientations and following increasingly secular axionormative references. We live in times defined by Benedict XVI in the following way: “God is out of sight for many people or has become an entity that leaves a person indifferent” [Benedict XVI 2011: 49]. The thesis of Benedict XVI perfectly reflects the sense of re-evaluating the meaning of the Decalogue in the consciousness and life attitudes of the academic youth.

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The Decalogue of women and men

General characteristics of acceptance of the Decalogue can be revealed taking into account certain social variables typically treated in sociological research as factors that may affect social religiosity profiles of the respondents.

Many sociological studies emphasize the fact that women are more involved in their religiosity with higher intensity of religious practices and religious sensitivity. It is interesting that the Decalogue of men and women has a similar structure of the commandments, only that the extent of their acceptance in each case is lower in the men’s environment than in the women’s environment. For women, the commandments are more binding than for men. Our research allows us to formulate the conclusion that religious sensitivity of men and women seems similar, but men slightly less incorporate the Decalogue into their own life projects. The thesis about the less significant role of the Decalogue in men’s life projects is confirmed by data showing the degree of rejection of the Ten Commandments. The Decalogue, rejected in the declarations of both men and women, has a similar order of commandments. It is noticeable that by far the highest degree of rejection in both groups of respondents comprises the commandments regarding the relationship between God and man. Men, much more strongly than women, refuse to accept these commandments and do not include them in their own life projects, thus rejecting God’s promised blessing to the thousandth generation1.

Similarly, men’s environment is characterized by much lower recognition of the commandments regulating the principles of sexual morality. In this respect, men show more disapproval than women for the commandments that forbid adultery, “the lust after a neighbour’s wife,” or even the commandment “Do not covet thy neighbour’s thing.” Also in relation to the other commandments regulating the principles of morality, men exhibit a somewhat more contesting attitude.

←29 | 30→

It may arouse astonishment that both men and women reveal attitudes of rejecting moral imperatives, seemingly culturally obvious and unmistakable, connected with respect for parents, truthfulness, inviolability of property and unconditional protection of human life. In the latter case, one can probably find connections between such an attitude and the consent to abortion or euthanasia. Challenging or rejecting the norms of natural law is an important sign in the social and cultural sense of departing from religious ethics at the level of specific moral norms.

The presented analyses can be concluded with a reference to the thesis formulated by Janusz Mariański: “The distortion of general moral norms and the loss of their obliging force, which means that the standards that underpin individual and social choices have been weakened, can be considered as a symptom of the growing moral crisis. […] Regardless of generational differences, one can speak of a tendency towards the liberal (permissive) society. We are observing the process of “defusing” moral judgments, which is in turn becoming the source of moral dilemmas, the crisis of identity, and even the loss of meaning of life” [Mariański 2011: 502].

The Decalogue of deep believers and regular practitioners

If the norms of the Decalogue are obviously the basis of the social order of Christian civilization, even if they are not directly associated with the confessions and religious practices of various Christian denominations, the more it can be assumed that it will be accepted in the environment of people declaring profound religious sensitivity and attachment to the Church expressed through systematic religious practices. In the perspective of sociological research on patterns of religious practices, understanding their regularity means, above all, respecting the commitment to celebrate Dies Domini, i.e. participation in the Sunday Holy Mass.

Tab. 2: Decalogue of “deep believers” based on “definitely binding” responses (in %). Source: Department of Sociology of Religion of UKSW and Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church SAC

Decalogue of deep believers

1. Thou shall not have other gods before me (87.1 %).

2. Thou shall not kill (82.8 %).

3. Thou shall not steal (82.8 %).

4. Honour thy father and thy mother (81.7 %).

5. Thou shall not covet neighbour’s wife (80.6 %).

6. Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy (77.4 %).

7. Thou shall not commit adultery(76.3 %).

8. Thou shall not covet neighbour’s slaves, animals or anything else (74.2 %).

9. Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour (63.4 %).

10. Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain (62.4 %).

With the assumption that the Decalogue is a founding value for the Christian community, it can justifiably be assumed that it will also be universally accepted as a recognized and declared value, and perhaps even inscribed in the practices of everyday life. All the more, these assumptions can be applied to those among the respondents who make declarations of deep religiosity. Based on the data in Tab. 2, it can be concluded that the declarations of deep faith are not unambiguously connected with considering the commandments of the Decalogue as definitely binding. Thus, a certain gap can be observed between the axionormative space of Christianity determined by the Decalogue and personal values and religious affiliations expressed in the declarations of deep faith. Nevertheless, it ←30 | 31→is worth noting that the Christian Decalogue retains the elements of its original structure without being subject to the rules of cultural reversal only for the students defining themselves as deeply religious. In the first place, as in the Decalogue of Moses, students who are deep believers place the commandment “You will have no other gods before me”, which is considered absolutely binding by 87.1 % of the respondents. 1.1 % of students who define themselves as deep believers treat this commandment as definitely not binding. The others considered them as partially binding (3.2 %), the same number of students chose the answer “hard to say” and 5.4 % failed to define their attitude. With reference to the next commandments, there is a specific reconstruction of their significance or the degree of their acceptance. It should be noted, however, that as shown in Tab. 2, students defining themselves as deep believers admit greater acceptance also of other moral principles than students for whom personal relationship with religious faith is not so important. Nevertheless, none of the commandments of the Decalogue found greater acceptance than the first one, having a fundamental meaning in the history of mankind.

The principle of the reverse Decalogue applies also to students who declare themselves as regular practitioners. The results of the research clearly show that regular religious practices, or more precisely systematic participation in the Sunday Holy Mass, and the self-classification of one’s religiosity as that of a deeply religious person clearly favor the recognition of the Decalogue as firmly binding. In no case, however, were any of the commandments unconditionally accepted as a binding norm. In the environment of deeply religious and systematically ←31 | 32→practicing students, the commandments “Do not kill” (91.3 %) and “You will have no other gods before me” (87.9 %) have the highest degree of acceptance, with the deep believers putting this commandment in the first place.

In the author’s opinion, the extent of rejecting the Ten Commandments referring to the relationship between man and God shows the level of religious sensitivity of the surveyed students and a degree of secularization processes which exclude the meaning and functions of the religious agent, or, in other words, the Personal God, from the consciousness of the respondents. The research results discussed here may also be an interesting premise for studying the manifestations of church religiosity and non-religious churchliness, which is referred to as belonging without believing. It is noteworthy that even systematic religious practices and self-declarations of deep faith do not lead to the full acceptance of the three divine commandments, and the reversed Decalogue, considered to be binding to a varying degree, does not have to be treated as religiously justified

Based on numerous sociological studies, including those of Janusz Mariański, Witold Zdaniewicz, Józef Baniak, Sławomir H. Zaręba, Leon Smyczek and Ondrej Štefaňak, it can be concluded that acceptance of the principles of the Decalogue increases together with the age of the generations, as Janusz Mariański indicated in the conclusions of his comparative studies already in 2006 [cf. Mariański, 2006a: 56; Zaręba 2003; Baniak 2008; Štefaňak 2013]. In the sphere of moral sensitivity of academic and secondary school students, the emphasis is shifted from the common good and the related social order to the good of the individual, which is often egocentrically focused on situational personal happiness and freedom from the commitment of permanent emotional obligations. This leads to the formation of an egoistic personality, to a large extent guided by social engineers of consumption and hedonistic nature, disregarding the interests of other persons or general social values in the undertaken activities [cf. Zemło 2006: 166]. Prefigurative generational transmission of the acceptance of the Decalogue precepts encounters, however, an intergenerational gap. The youth who either rejects the Decalogue or marginalizes it in a significant way, at the time of the transition to the world of adult social roles, will not refer to the Ten Commandments to find there the justification of their own life projects.


It can be concluded that with respect to the Decalogue, the attitudes of selective acceptance are adopted. Some commandments are accepted to a larger extent, others are recognised to a smaller degree, or even rejected. None of the commandments, however, received unconditional acceptance. The Decalogue has ←32 | 33→been inscribed in the culture of liquid reality, the signature of which, according to Peter Berger, is the heretical imperative of choice favoring the processes of moral anomie.

The attitudes towards the Decalogue reflect the social differentiation that makes various areas of social life independent of each other in the axionormative and behavioural order. The Decalogue is becoming one of many segments of cultural pluralism and life projects available at the marketplace of spiritual goods or religious services. It is subject to relativization, inscribing itself into the cultural spheres of the transition from objective morality to subjective morality, from the morality of the precepts and prohibitions to the morality of free choices justified by the principle of situational conformism.

The Decalogue is subjected to deconstruction, and the new order and structure of commandments – whose hierarchy is measured by the degree of their acceptance or rejection – exposes normative rules pertaining to the general morality of the social life and to a lesser extent to sexual morality. It is an inverted Decalogue, because the three Divine commandments, forming the axionormative basis of the entire Decalogue of Moses, have been marginalized and moved to the last positions or even rejected.

The marginalization of God’s commandments is accompanied by a specific redefinition of God as the provider of the Decalogue. In the literature reconstructing various aspects of religious experience and faith, the concept of “Christian” God is replaced by the sacred as a force, the power of a completely different order than natural forces [cf. Eliade 1999]. “The post-modern sacrum, due to the fact that it is strongly present in popular culture, is becoming a simulacrum; the sacred is neither <<true >>, nor<<pretended >>, but a textual simulation of religious traditions” [cf. E. McAvan 2012: 24; after: Mariański, Wargacki 2016: 20]. The Decalogue then loses its Divine Creator, and the issues of truth or falseness of religion are considered less important, marking a departure from religious ethics at the level of individual moral norms perhaps in the direction of culturally and situationally conditioned ethical imperatives.

The level of acceptance of all commandments is relatively low, also those that refer to the principles of social morality, and more so to family and sexual morality. It can be considered on the one hand as a manifestation of the axionormative pluralism, but on the other hand as a demonstration of a certain axiological twist of contemporary culture and display of social order anomie.

The reversed Decalogue shows the broken foundations of Christian civilization and the lost experience of one’s own cultural identity expressed in the formula etsi Deus non daretur. The reversed Decalogue, marginalizing or even rejecting God’s commandments, is losing its religious significance and becoming ←33 | 34→one of many civilization projects. The loss of memory and Christian heritage is accompanied – according to John Paul II – by practical agnosticism and religious indifference, “which makes many Europeans feel they live without spiritual background, like heirs who squandered the heritage left them by history […] therefore, it is not surprising if in this context a vast space has opened for the free development of nihilism in the field of philosophy, relativism in the field of the theory of cognition and morality, pragmatism and even cynical hedonism in the structure of everyday life. European culture gives the impression of ‘silent apostasy’ of a sated man who lives as if God did not exist” [John Paul II 2003].

Józef Baniak, the author of numerous sociological studies on the attitudes and religious behaviour of young people in both secondary schools and universities, formulates the thesis that the religiosity of a significant percentage of young Poles clearly differs from the Christian faith model, because they reveal selective, ambivalent, unorthodox attitudes towards this faith [cf. Baniak 2016: 48]. This conclusion can also be applied to the characteristics of the student environment covered by our research. The Decalogue dissolves in liquid religiosity and a liquid sacrum.

“It is true that one can believe without absolute certainty, one can believe, stuck in doubts and indecision, one can have strong moral views amidst religious doubts, but such attitudes can easily change into religious indifference and even into non-religious attitudes. Especially in the perspective of the liquidity and unpredictability of modern societies, liquid religiosity and liquid sacrum may tend to continue to disintegrate and deregulate. Sacrum is not disappearing, but taking on new, varied forms. The market of religion and spirituality, the market of the liquid sacrum is still significant. Christian Churches are standing a great chance, even if they have used it rather poorly so far” [Mariański, Wargacki 2016: 22–23]. The problem is, however, that also Christian Churches seem to be moving towards liquidity, and the doctrinal and institutional divergences and disputes between them do not favor treating the Decalogue as a world of universal axiology in the pluralism of contemporary culture. Churches feel an internal emphasis on the relativization of moral norms and principles. The model of a friendly Church as an inclusive institution ready to satisfy various social needs finds great acceptance among the faithful, but also the consent of its officers, giving way under the pressure of the liquid norms of moral culture, is leading towards non-denominational Christianity [cf. Mariański 2004: 131].


Baniak, J. Between bebellion and opposition and the need for acceptance and understanding. Crisis of personal identity and religious and moral awareness ←34 | 35→of junior high school students. Sociological study [in Polish], Wydawnictwo Homini, Kraków, 2008.

Baniak, J. The crisis of faith? Religious truths of Catholicism in the consciousness of secondary comprehensive school and university students. From acceptance to contestation [in Polish], Academic Journal of Sociology, No. 17 (4), 2016.

Benedict XVI, General audience on 11 May 2011, L’Osservatoro Romano 32, 7, 2011.

Eliade, M. Sacrum a profanum [translated into Polish by R. Reszke], Wydawnictwo KR, Warszawa, 1999.

ISKK, Annuarium statisticum ecclesiae polonia. AD 2018, 2018.

John Paul II Apostolic letter of John Paul II to young people from around the world on the occasion of the International Youth Year of March 31, 1985 [in Polish], L’Osservatore Romano 6, No. 1, 1985.

John Paul II Post-synodal apostolic exhortation ecclesia in Europa, 2003. Catechism of the Catholic Church [in Polish], –Pallottinum, Poznań, pp. 477–478, 2004.

Krasnodębski, Z. Postmodern cultural difficulties [in Polish], Oficyna Naukowa, Warszawa, 1996.

Mariański, J. Religiosity of Polish society in the European perspective. An attempt at sociological synthesis [in Polish], Zakład Wydawniczy Nomos, Kraków, 2004.

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Mariański, J. “Catholics’ attitudes towards the Decalogue and the norms of marital-family morality” in: Social and religious attitudes of the inhabitants of the archdiocese of Szczecin and Kamień [in Polish], ed. W. Zdaniewicz, S.H. Zaręba, Szczecińskie Wydawnictwo Archidiecezjalne „Ottonianum“, Szczecin, 2006b.

Mariański, J. Transformation of morality of Polish secondary school leavers in 1994–2009. Sociological study [in Polish], Wydawnictwo KUL, Lublin, 2011.

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McAvan, E. The postmodern sacred. Popular culture spirituality in the science fiction, fantasy and urban fantasy games, McFarland & Company Inc. Publishers, London, 2012.

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Pawełczyńska, A. Hydra heads. About the perversity of modern evil [in Polish], Wydawnictwo Test, Lublin, 2004.

Pawlik, W. “Between nomosos and anomie. Comments on the relativity of youth”, in: Worldview: Between transcendence and everyday life, ed. I. Borowik, H. Hoffmann, Zakład Wydawniczy Nomos, Kraków, 2004.

Rahner, K. Theologische Deutung der Position der Christen in der modernen Welt, in: Sendung und Gnade [translated into Polish], Innsbruck-Wien-Munchen, Tyrolia-Verlag, quoted in: Piwowarski, W. Sociology of religion, Wydawnictwo KUL, Lublin, 1959.

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Štefaňak, O. Moral values of Slovakian secondary school leavers [in Polish], Wydawnictwo Norbertinum, Kraków, 2013.

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1 Exodus, 20: 1 And God spoke all these words: 2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Andrzej Kasperek

Sense of meaning in the life of university students – Between continuity and change

Abstract: What has been undertaken in this chapter is the issue of life sense as an element of religious experience. Referring to the data collected in the studies conducted in 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2017 by the Statistical Institute of the Catholic Church, the author makes an attempt to answer the questions concerning the sense-creating significance of religious faith, the feeling of life sense, as well as the values which provide sense in respondents’ life. Particular attention is drawn to the comparison of research results from 1988–2017. What can be noticed in that period is a decreasing percentage of respondents seeing the sense of life in religious faith with a simultaneously increasing percentage of respondents viewing this sense beyond religious faith. However, in the analyzed period, the high rank attributed to family life and love as the values giving the sense of life has not changed.

Keywords: academic youth, feeling of sense, values providing sense of life, subjective well-being

A question about the meaning of life, which one asks oneself more or less often, appears in the life of almost every human being. It is a great philosophical and existential issue which touches upon life. An answer to the question about the meaning of life is important not only from the point of view of an individual. The very fact of making a sociological attempt at answering the question about the meaning of life and values that make one’s life meaningful should not come as a surprise if one takes into account that people who answer those questions function in certain sociological environments, always representing certain sociological and generation categories. A sociologist aims at answering the question how changing conditions of social, cultural, economic and political life influence the answer about the subjective sense of meaning of one’s life. It is a cliché to say that people ask a question about the meaning of life in so-called critical situations. Whether it is an illness, death of one’s loved one or any other kind of suffering, undoubtedly in such situations an individual is ‘shaken out’ from his or her daily routine. The social equivalent of a critical situation of an individual is a cross-society crisis (e.g. economic or political one). In such moments, it seems well-founded to treat the issue of the meaning of life as a kind of litmus paper of mental changes. The question about the meaning of life is inextricably linked ←37 | 38→with the question about purpose in life, values in life and understanding of happiness (Mariański 2013, p. 12).

For several dozen years, in psychology, one of its branches has been developing intensely, namely positive psychology (see Csikszentmihalyi, 2014; Seligman, 2002). The term ‘subjective wellbeing’, which positive psychology finds important, and deliberations about happiness and quality of life spread to other disciplines, including sociology. In the concept of post-materialist society, Ronald Inglehart puts an emphasis on popularization in the developed countries of ‘post-material’ orientation, in which self-expression and quality of life are key ideas (Inglehart 1971, pp. 991–1017). Also in sociological conception of post-material society, the aspect of quality of life is highlighted and it cannot be isolated from the issue of the meaning of life. In other words, also sense of meaning is a measure of an individual’s wellbeing.

‘From the sociological point of view, the meaning of life might be understood as some kind of the sphere of perception, experiences, judgments, individual life goals and human activities connected with a positive acceptance of life, ordered according to a hierarchy of goals and values, which are based on individual preferences and choices and widely-understood interpersonal communication consisting in cooperation and interaction. The meaning of life understood in that way takes place on the level of knowledge (cognition), judgments (passing judgments) and desires in a constant reference to a social structure that constitutes its context’ (Mariański, 1990, p. 120). The meaning of life treated as an element of an attitude (components: cognitive, emotional and behavioural one) touches upon the issue of continuity of intergenerational transmission of cultural heritage. Changes observed in the declarations about the meaning of life concern individuals and their ontogenetic development, but also social environments which those individuals come from. Transmission of faith is an important aspect of inheriting. The analysis of the questions concerning the meaning of life will be presented with reference to the survey conducted among university students in 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2017.

The presentation begins with the question in which respondents were asked to say what makes their life meaningful. The question about the meaning of life is a vital element of every man’s life. From the sociological point of view, it also constitutes one of the indicators of the parameter of religious experience, being an indicator of religiousness. First of all, the question in which relation to religion was exposed is analyzed.

Tab. 1: Role of religion in making one’s life meaningful in 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2017 (%). Source: Department of Sociology of Religion of UKSW and Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church SAC




Only religious faith

Not only religious faith, but also other things

Meaning of life outside religious faith

Hard to say

No answer

1988 (N=350)







1998 (N=523)







2005 (N=1086)







2017 (N=794)







Tab. 1 shows results of the survey conducted in the past 30 years. Importantly, the first of the series of surveys was conducted in the last years of the Polish People’s Republic. Since 1998, the number of respondents who perceive faith ←38 | 39→as the only source of meaning of life has been decreasing. The groundbreaking period turned out to be the period between 1988–1998 when there was a significant drop in the number of respondents who believe that particularly religion makes their life meaningful. Since 1988, there has been stabilization in the distribution of answers. Simultaneously, the percentage of respondents who see the meaning of life outside faith has increased. In the 1990s of the past century, there was a shift in declarations of some respondents towards finding the meaning of life not only in faith, but also outside it. However, faith was still an important element making one’s life meaningful, although not the only one anymore. To sum up, over the last 30 years in Poland, there have been a variety of changes (political, economic, social and cultural ones), which left imprint on the meaningful function of faith. However, the question remains whether it has more to do with the fact that the meaningful function of faith is decreasing or with the one that university students escape from the jurisdiction of religious institutions and look for meaning in ‘shrinking Transcendence’ (Luckmann, 1990, p. 138). What respondents’ fragmented answers about seeing the meaning of life outside religion have in common is ‘internalworldness’, imperative of ‘here and now’. Young respondents mainly associate the meaning of life with the following dimensions: 1) family life and the circle of friends, 2) love, 3) self-fulfillment and self-realization. It is noticeable that those answers are similar to the ones formulated by Thomas Luckmann in his work ‘Invisible Religion’. Importantly, Luckmann wrote in 1967 about modern religious topics such as among ←39 | 40→others: self-expression and self-realization, sexuality and familism (Luckmann 1996, pp. 145–152).

There is a clear correlation between seeing the meaning of life in religious faith (or outside it) and declarations about being religious. People who declared being very religious usually saw the meaning of life exclusively in religion (over one-fifths of those who said that they were very religious) and they also most often chose the answer ‘Not only religious faith, but also other things’. Simultaneously, respondents who declared being atheists said that they looked for the meaning of life outside religion (nearly three-fourths of atheists). Similarly, there is a correlation between the answer about religious practices and seeing the meaning of life in religious faith (or outside it): the more regularly one practices his or her faith, the more he or she sees the meaning of life in religion. Respondents who practice their faith seldom or do not practice at all more often look for the meaning of life outside religion. People who declare being very religious or religious more often perceive their life as meaningful and rewarding. People who are religious less often treat their life as meaningless and more often than people who are atheists, indecisive or indifferent think that their life is meaningful, as well as rewarding. Tab. 2 shows the results:

Tab. 2: Attitude to life and attitude to faith in 2017 (%). Source: Department of Sociology of Religion of UKSW and Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church SAC

Attitude to faith



Life is meaningless and one can lose faith in it

I don’t see too much meaning in my life, but I find it rewarding

Life is meaningful, but it is not rewarding for me

Life is meaningful and rewarding

Hard to say

No answer

Very religious








































The results given do not diverge from the data obtained from other surveys of young Poles. Janusz Mariański claims that the general conclusion that can be drawn from his surveys is that nearly half of the respondents found their life ←40 | 41→meaningful and rewarding ((Mariański, 2013, p. 92, Mariański, 2018, pp. 83–85). In that survey, the percentage was higher, that is 65 %. Mariański highlights the fact that there is a correlation between positive (approving) attitudes towards life and religiousness, above all between declaration of being very religious – a similar correlation was found in the survey of university young students in 2017.

The time of studies is the period when one looks for the answer about one’s life aims and about what is valuable. Contemporary young people make such existential choices in the pluralistic world. As Pete L. Berger said, what results from pluralism is so-called cognitive contamination (Berger, 2014, pp. 2, 5). Pluralism is the effect of interaction with various outlooks, religious traditions and cultures, so it may refer to such terms as ‘outlook mishmash’ or ‘religious mishmash’. In the works connected with the sociology of religion, Berger devoted a lot of space to the issue of choices, which have become a major principle of modern societies. Referring to the etymology of the term heresy (haeresis –choice), already in the 1980s of the past century he formulated a thesis about the presence of a heretic imperative in modern societies (see Berger, 1980). A pluralistic situation widens a range of choices for modern young people, simultaneously exposing them to a difficult situation of making choices in the world that offers a multitude of outlook ‘offers’. In the book In Praise of Doubt, Peter L. Berger and Anton C. Zijderveldem pay attention to the role of the expression religious preference in understanding a modern religious situation. As they notice, that expression stems from consumerism discourse (Berger, Zijderveld, 2009, pp. 17–18), while the consequence of the pluralistic situation is also the merging of the spheres of religion and consumerism. Cognitive contamination and religious preference are two sides of the same coin. The pluralistic situation is an important challenge for the sense of meaning and cognitive contamination is an element (a cognitive component) of the attitude towards the multitude of experienced kinds of outlooks or lifestyles (two other components of attitude which are related to the sphere of the meaning should not be forgotten).

Life choices are connected with religious and axiological preferences. Those choices reflect social changes, axiological reorientations, attitude to tradition and transmission of cultural heritage. Making choice of values understood as something that is valuable and worth realizing shows what in a given society remains long-lasting and what undergoes a metamorphosis. Simultaneously, the issue of values reveals their connection with the problem of meaning: values make one’s life meaningful and explicitly touch upon existential and par excellence anthropological issues. They are also an important sociological problem. The dynamics of changes over the years 1988–2017 is shown in diagram 1.

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Diagram 1 clearly shows which values respondents found the most meaningful. Unsurprisingly, love and family happiness (affiliation and stabilization values) were the most frequently chosen answers both 30 years ago and now. Over those years, it has also been clear which values have not been found meaningful by respondents: contrary to some clichés, young university students do not think that adventures or life without surprises (in a certain kind of ritualism) make their life meaningful. Although young university students in 2017, as expected, most frequently chose love and family happiness as values which make their life meaningful, it does not mean that the status of those values in their life has not changed. As compared with the surveys conducted in 1988, 1998 and 2005, those categories were quite significantly chosen less often. Simultaneously, there was a significant increase of a number of respondents who believe that finding their ←42 | 43→place in a society and the feeling of being useful make their life meaningful. Taking into account that that increase is accompanied by the decrease of the meaning attached to one’s own individuality and style (it has been already noted since 1998) and that having trust of others and friends has a high position, it might be said that choices reported by young university students do not confirm a stereotype of a young modern individualist or (in stronger words) of an egotist or a hedonist. According to over one-fourth of respondents, material status (money, well-being, comfortable life) is an important factor that makes one’s life meaningful. However, this value does not seem to be particularly important – in the ranking of the most important values in 2017, the category ‘money, well-being, comfortable life, decent material status’ was only on the 9th position (out of 15) and it was chosen as the most important value that makes one’s life meaningful by less than 3 % of respondents. Choices of the most important value that makes one’s life meaningful confirm the trend of decrease of the role of faith. In 1988, 44 % young university students believed that faith is a factor that makes one’s life meaningful, while in 2017, it was 21,9 %. There are also visible changes regarding the most important value that makes one’s life meaningful: in 1988, deep faith was on the third position (16,3 %), while in 2017, on the fifth place, but with a significantly lower number of respondents who chose it (5 %). As the data above show, there is a trend of decrease in the number of respondents who associate faith with the sense of meaning observed between 1988 and 2017.

The analysis of the data obtained over the years 1988–2017 should take into account the context, which might be described as ‘the time of permanent change’. Thirty years seem to be long enough to observe changes in the way people perceive such a subjective and intimate issue as the sense of the meaning in life. The tumultuous character of the present makes sociologists make an attempt at answering the question how that context of ‘permanent change’ leaves a stamp on the choices of the whole generation. What effects do the processes of pluralization, detraditionalization or secularization (or desecularization) have on the way young people see the meaning of life? Those processes, which are an important aspect of the context of ‘the time of ‘permanent change’, have an impact on the issue of the sense of the meaning of one’s life. The comparison of the data from the years 1988–2017 explicitly shows that there is a lower number of young university students who see the meaning in faith and a higher number of the respondents who seek for the meaning of life outside religion. That ‘shift’ of declarations does not necessarily confirm the secularization scenario understood as a decreasing influence of religion on social life. Different scenarios are also possible, such as the one that suggests that in case of some respondents it is rather more about the conversion from church religiousness (‘explicit religiousness’) to ←43 | 44→outside-church religiousness, which was called by Edward Bailey implicit religion (see. Bailey, 1997; Bailey, 1998).

The sense of meaning of life is an important factor of the quality of life, which has an effect on the well-being of an individual (subjective well-being, SWB). That category plays a more and more important role in the sociological reflection in which it is associated with the indicator of life satisfaction, and thus SWB is used in international comparative research. There are three main factors describing subjective well-being: 1) general level of life satisfaction, 2) frequency and intensity of experiencing positive emotions: pleasures and happiness, 3) relative lack of negative emotions (fear, anxiety, sadness) (Margitics, 2009, p. 24). Psychological research, mainly conducted within positive psychology, clearly shows that there is a correlation between the meaning of life and a sense of happiness (see Porczyńska-Ciszewska, 2013). High quality of life depends also on ‘a relative lack of negative emotions’. That aspect of subjective well-being pays attention to the challenges young university students, who are characterized by borderline character set in temporariness, will face. Due to their age, young people under study experience also negative emotions (anxiety, sadness). The tempestuous nature of society, unpredictability and the risk being part of their choices pose a challenge to the modern youth. The sense of meaning found either in religion or outside becomes an important factor of stabilization in times of tempestuous changes.


Bailey, E. Implicit religion in contemporary society, Kok Pharos Publishing House – Dutscher Studien Verlag, Kampen – Weinheim, 1997.

Bailey, E. Implicit religion: an introduction, Middlesex Press, London, 1998.

Berger, P.L. The many altars of modernity. Toward a paradigm for religion in a pluralist age, Walter De Gruyter, Inc., Boston – Berlin, 2014.

Berger, P.L. The heretical imperative: contemporary possibilities of religious affirmation, Anchor, New York, 1980.

Berger, P.L. and Zijderveld A.C. In praise of doubt. How to have convictions without becoming a fanatic, HarperOne, New York, 2009.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. Flow and the foundations of positive psychology: the collected works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Springer, Dordrecht, 2014.

Inglehart, R. The silent revolution in Europe: intergenerational change in postindustrial societies, American Political Science Review, No. 65 (4) (December), 991–1017, 1971.

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Luckmann, T. Shrinking transcendence, expanding religion? Sociological Analysis, No. 50 (2): 127–138, 1990.

Luckmann, T. Invisible religion. The problem of religion in modern society [in Polish], Zakład Wydawniczy „NOMOS“, Kraków, 1996.

Margitics, F. (2009). Handbook of new spiritual consciousness: theory and research, Nova Science Publishers, New York.

Mariański, J. In search of the meaning of life. Sociological and pastoral sketches [in Polish], RW KUL, Lublin, 1990.

Mariański, J. The meaning of life. Values. Religion. A sociological study [in Polish], Wydawnictwo KUL, Lublin, 2013.

Mariański, J. Religious and moral condition of high school students in 1988–1998–2005–2017 (report from all-Poland sociological survey) [in Polish], Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek, Toruń, 2018.

Porczyńska-Ciszewska, A. Personality traits and a sense of happiness and meaning of life [in Polish], Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego, Katowice, 2013.

Seligman, M. Authentic happiness: using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment, Free Press, New York, 2002.

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Paweł Prüfer and Łukasz Budzyński

Constancy in changeability – Attitudes and judgments of some moral attitudes

Abstract: The subject of the chapter is the analysis of the moral attitudes of young people in the perspective of the dynamics of social change based on the results of empirical research. Attitudes towards homosexuality, euthanasia, prostitution, cloning, in vitro fertilization, adoption of children by same-sex couples and gender reassignment were analysed. Moral evaluation of young people towards particular social phenomena differ in the areas of constancy and variability.

Keywords: moral attitudes, social change, youth


Not only observation of social life, but above all the effect of the diagnosis of humanistic coefficient prove the changeability of society, quite often in its fundamental aspects (Woźniak 1998, p. 57). The way social beings describe and explain both their own and other existential context is likely to reflect the actual state of that society. Declared attitudes, decisions taken and formulation of one’s own opinions about personal attitudes and decisions made by other people largely reflect an axionormative system and are manifestations of values that one experiences and follows.

The conducted survey, which is the subject of the present analysis, reflects the dynamics of social life and depicts a certain set of moral and social behaviors, as well as attitudes to them. The attitude of young people towards homosexuality, euthanasia, prostitution, cloning, in vitro fertilization, adoption of children by same-sex couples or a sex change characterizes the dynamics of social changes and flexibility of some social attitudes, but also a certain permanent trend in the description of the social world. The moral dimension of social life clearly shows that an individual in his or her being and relations with other people is a kind of moral project (Brovedani 1999, p. 113), which is systematically, but at the same time spontaneously, prepared and in exactly the same manner realized.

1 Same-sex relationships

Any moral attitudes and life choices which seem to diverge from so-called norm and are the manifestation of different than universally accepted lifestyle evoke ←47 | 48→various social attitudes. Generally speaking, it might be either acceptance or lack of acceptance. As regards the latter, it often means lack of respect for different decisions and people who think and behave differently. Piotr Sztompka claims that a ‘healthy society cannot do without respect’ (Sztompka 2015, p. 251). On the other hand, lack of acceptance is not tantamount of lack of respect. Curiously, the survey ‘Young People and Values 2017’ gives evidence that over one-third of respondents (36,4 %) think that a same-sex relationship is acceptable. As compared with the survey conducted in 2005 acceptance of it increased by 10,2 percentage point, which is quite a significant rise in this group.

As regards the results of the survey from 2017, the analysis was deepened by taking into account distribution of judgments of same-sex relationships depending on social and demographic factors. First of all, the analysis proved that there is a statistically significant correlation between sex and judgments of same-sex relationships (χ2(4, N=783) = 27,358; p=0,000). It shows that women more often that men declare that same-sex relationships are acceptable (40,9 % and 31 % respectively). Secondly, it might be noted that there is a statistically significant correlation between place of permanent residence and assessment of same-sex relationships (χ2(20, N=778) = 53,611; p=0,000). The biggest approval of such relationships was reported by respondents who live in cities with over 500 000 inhabitants (51,7 %) and the smallest one by those who live in the country (23,7 %). Thirdly, the survey revealed that judgment of same-sex relationships also depends on religious attitudes such as attitude towards religion (χ2(16, N=784) = 142,374; p=0,000) and attitude towards religious practices (χ2(16, N=769) = 136,191; p=0,000).

The lowest acceptance of same-sex relationships was reported by people who declare being very religious or religious (8,6 % and 27,2 %, respectively), while the highest acceptance was indicated by atheists and those who declare being indifferent (75,3 % and 55,8 %). Similarly, the lowest acceptance of same-sex relationships was noted among respondents who practice their faith regularly or irregularly (18,3 % and 20 %), whereas the highest acceptance among those who practice their faith seldom or do not practice (43,3 % and 65,1 %). It is worth quoting Janusz Mariański’s remark, who perceives religious faith as the primary life power (Mariański 2014b, p. 195), which modifies and orients – although not always to the same extent and with the same dynamics – certain views and life attitudes.

Additionally, the analysis of the results of the survey concerning acceptance or lack of acceptance of same-sex relationships revealed that there is a statistically significant correlation between the type of studies (humanities-social-economic major or mathematics and life sciences, including medical studies) and approval ←48 | 49→of the mentioned phenomenon (χ2(4, N=794) = 2,534; p=0,638). In case of relation between assessment of financial situation of the respondent’s family and judgment of same-sex relationships (χ2(16, N=779) = 36,518; p=0,002), minimum theoretical size for cells exceeded permissible 20 %, which without certain aggregation operations on categories makes it impossible to use the results of the chi-square test.

2 Euthanasia (ending life on patient’s request)

The issue of euthanasia is one of the trouble topics both discussed and raised in public sphere, but also looked into in ethical discussions in scientific and academic discourse. The main argument against euthanasia is based on the belief that every human being has a right to life and therefore admissibility of euthanasia would be a kind of travesty of justice (Papal Council Iustitia et Pax 2005, p. 101). In the survey conducted in 2017, approximately one in three respondents (30,2) declared that euthanasia (ending life on patient’s request) is permissible. As compared with 2005, when such a view was expressed by approximately one in five respondents (19,9 %), there is a clear rise of approval of euthanasia by 10,3 percentage point.

Like in case of views concerning same-sex relationships, the analysis of the results of the survey conducted in 2017 was deepened to discover potential correlations with social-demographic variables. First of all, it was noted that there is a statistically significant correlation between the place of permanent residence and attitudes to euthanasia (χ2(20, N=778) = 44,231; p=0,001). The lowest number of respondents who are for euthanasia is among people who live in the country, while the highest number is among those who live in cities with over 500 000 inhabitants. Secondly, it was proved that there is a statistically significant correlation between attitudes to euthanasia and respondents’ religiousness. The difference is the effect of attitude to religion (χ2(16, N=784) = 213,514; p=0,000), but also the declaration about religious practices (χ2(16, N=769) = 207,580; p=0,000). People who declare being very religious believe that euthanasia is definitively impermissible. Most religious and indecisive respondents who are attached to religious tradition declare that agreement on euthanasia depends on a situation (‘it depends’). Respondents who are indifferent or atheists predominantly declared that euthanasia is permissible. A similar pattern is evident in case of religious practices. Respondents who practice their faith regularly declare predominantly that euthanasia is impermissible. Among respondents who practice their faith irregularly or seldom there are more answers that it depends on a situation, while people who do not practice or are atheists declare that euthanasia ←49 | 50→is permissible. Therefore, it proves the theory of Italian sociologist Roberto Cipriani, who in his publication outlining the idea of so-called diffused religion claimed that religion still plays a strategic role in a variety of contexts of one’s individual and social life, having influence on moral choices and declarations (Cipriani 1988, p. 10).

The analysis based on chi-square test revealed that neither sex (χ2(4, N=783) = 8,815; p=0,066) nor field of study (χ2(4, N=794) = 1,297; p=0,862) correlates significantly with attitudes towards euthanasia. In case of the assessment of material situation of a respondent’s family and his or her attitude to euthanasia (χ2(16, N=779)= 37,301; p=0,002) minimum theoretical size for cells exceeded permissible 20 %, which without certain aggregation operations on categories makes it impossible to use the results of the chi-square test. However, it does not mean that euthanasia as a particularly sensitive problem, touching upon above all conscience of a human being, would not evoke certain attitudes or generate such views depending on various cultural, socialization, educational and outlook factors. It is worth noticing that transformations within society, particularly in some geographic and cultural spheres, influence specific attitude to life. Its value is measured by one’s lifestyle (Wikan 2002, p. 141).

3 Prostitution

Young people as a significant category of sociological research and above all an important social group often provoke to raise questions about factors that determine moral behavior. For example, Sheldon Ungar claims that issues concerning young people are connected with the analysis of so-called moral panic (Unger 2008, p. 907). It is believed that young generation has as a principle certain moral sensitivity and quite often it turns out that a situation looks different than one could think relying on unjustified generalizations, which show only advanced moral relativism. Both the survey conducted in 2005 and the current one from 2017 showed that there is a relatively low percentage of young people who approve of prostitution (12,7 % and 16,6 % respectively). However, in the period between surveys there was a slight increase of the number of people who declared that prostitution is permissible (increase by 3,9 %). Interestingly, at the same time the number of people with opposite view that is of those who stigmatize impermissibility of prostitution rose (increase by 1,9 %). According to this group of respondents, a lot depends on a context. This phenomenon might be explained by the fact that between surveys, the number of respondents who answered ‘it depends’ when asked about their view of prostitution rose by 2 percentage points.

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In accordance with the adopted approach, statistical analysis was extended by distribution of views of prostitution depending on selected social and demographic factors. Firstly, it was noted that sex is correlated with attitude to prostitution (χ2(4, N=783) = 66,755; p=0,000). The analysis revealed that women evidently more often than men believe that prostitution is impermissible (57,7 % and 29,4 % respectively). Secondly, it was also shown that there is a statistically significant correlation between place of residence and attitudes to prostitution (χ2(20, N=778)= 33,252; p=0,032) – the most negative attitude to prostitution was characteristic of people who live in the country. Curiously, the most positive attitude to prostitution was reported in big cities with over 500 000 inhabitants, but also in medium-sized cities, that is those between 100 000 and 250 000 inhabitants (25,8 % and 24,8 % respectively). It is worth mentioning a trend that was described by Anthony Giddens: ‘Prostitution is a phenomenon that comes along with decline of small communities, development of large anonymous cities and commercialization of social relations. In small traditional communities, sexual relationships were under control due to the inability to hide them. Newly built cities make it easier for people to make anonymous social contacts’ (Giddens 2012, p. 597). Another correlation that should be highlighted is the correlation between attitude to prostitution and attitude to religion (χ2(16, N=784) = 156,441; p=0,000), but also the one between attitude to prostitution and attitude to religious practices (χ2(16, N=769) = 145,436; p=0,000). In both cases, it is a negative correlation, that is the more religious a respondent declares being and the more regularly he or she practices his or her faith, the lower the acceptance of prostitution.

Nearly all modern societies are characterized by a tendency to professionalism, development and gaining new skills. A vital role plays here a fundamental tendency to strive for education. Young people are put under education pressure (Baczko-Dombi, Zółtak 2012, p. 62), but they also make such choices themselves. Such a trend shows that there is a greater awareness and more prominent opportunities to make one’s own choices and shaping of one’s own life. However, the very fact and kind of educational development does not always directly and unquestionably cohere with one’s moral views. The conducted survey proved that there is a statistically significant correlation between type of studies and attitude to prostitution (χ2(4, N=794) = 0,617; p=0,961). In case of the assessment of material situation of a respondent’s family and his or her attitude to prostitution (χ2(16, N=779)= 32,656; p=0,008), minimum theoretical size for cells exceeded permissible 20 %, which without certain aggregation operations on categories makes it impossible to use the results of the chi-square test.

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4 Cloning (genetic research on human embryo)

It seems that there have not been many sociological studies devoted to cloning. The very idea of cloning seems to be rather provocation than the subject of real and serious discourse. Permissibility of cloning and acceptance of promoting it might be perceived as one of many aspects of modern and sophisticated forms of manifesting competences of a modern human and his wide and various possibilities. The origin of it might be varied and is based on the heterogeneous idea of a human being and society. In the entry ‘sociobiology and morality’ extracted from ‘Lexicon of Morality Sociology’, edited by Janusz Mariański, Jacek Śliwak refers to one of the provocative views of sociobiologists: ‘… there is no evidence that a human deserves a special ontological status different than social animals… a human is nothing, but only one of many animal species that live on this planet’ (Śliwak 2015, p. 718).

In the survey conducted in 2017, approximately one in five respondents indicated that cloning (genetic research on a human embryo) is permissible. As compared with 2005, it is an increase of acceptance by 6,8 percentage point.

Very interesting data emerged from the diversification of views on cloning from 2017 based on selected social and demographic factors. Firstly, it was found that there is a statistically significant correlation between sex and attitude to cloning (χ2(4, N=783) = 22,394; p=0,000). 26,2 % of men felt that cloning is permissible. 15,7 % of women were of the same opinion. Secondly, chi-square tests showed that religiousness significantly correlates with attitude to cloning. It refers to both attitudes to religion (χ2(16, N=784) = 130,920; p=0,000) and religious practices (χ2(16, N=769) = 126,108; p=0,000). Among respondents who declare being very religious or religious, approximately one in ten respondents believed that cloning and genetic research should be permitted (10,8 % and 10,6 % respectively), while of the opposite opinion were four in ten respondents, who declare being indifferent (38,9 %) and nearly half of atheists (48,1 %). Simultaneously, 9,2 % of respondents who practice their faith regularly believe that cloning is permissible, 13 % of those who practice their faith irregularly are of the same opinion, and 42,5 % respondents who do not practice their faith approve cloning.

As the analysis revealed, neither place of permanent residence (χ2(20, N=778)= 22,502; p=0,314) nor type of studies is significantly correlated with the attitude to cloning. In case of the assessment of material situation of a respondent’s family and his or her attitude to cloning (χ2(16, N=779)= 38,631; p=0,001), minimum theoretical size for cells exceeded permissible 20 %, which without certain aggregation operations on categories makes it impossible to use the results of the chi-square test.

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Cloning seems to be for respondents an unpredictable social phenomenon with unknown scenarios that are hard to imagine. It might be seen as an idea of a modern human to even more modernize society. It evokes fear, risk and uncertainty. As the authors of ‘Reflexive Modernization’ notice, a modern human uses his inner reserves, but cannot maintain or revive them (Beck, Giddens, Lash 2009, p. 228). Cloning might be a kind of ill-considered idea that is supposed to deal with that incapability. Regeneration, modification, multiplication and improvement of a man are connected with fear of self-annihilation and hope that a new model of a human might be created. As it was described by Jan Szczepański years ago, suppression, composure, stop and indifference are synonymous with deadness (Szczepański 1980, p. 178). Natural and constant tendency of humans to prolong their life – probably at the expense of its duplication – contrasts with also natural tendency to annihilation.

5 In vitro fertilization

In vitro fertilization, as any other morally important issue concerning a human, arouses controversy, although arguments for the need of the procedure seem to be signs of collective empathy. This kind of authentication and reproduction of feeling of community, which is natural for human beings, is a part of interpersonal relations that is of moral space (Sztompka 2016, p. 153). A person who matures or is nearing the end of this process (assuming that maturing is associated with becoming adult) creates and crystallizes his or her identity, but above all achieves the stage of shaped (and constantly being shaped) integration with the social world (Tillmann 2006, p. 234). The survey concerning in vitro fertilization revealed that over half of the respondents approve this procedure (56,4 %).

The analysis of the attitude to in vitro fertilization was extended by search for correlations with social and demographic variables. First of all, there is a statistically significant correlation between place of permanent residence and attitude to IVF (χ2(20, N=778) = 33,458; p=0,030). The lowest percentage of respondents approving in vitro procedure was among those who live in the country (48,1 %). The greatest approval of IFV was reported among respondents who live in the biggest cities that is those with over 500 000 inhabitants. Secondly, chi-square tests showed that also religiousness is correlated with attitude to IVF. There is a statistically significant correlation between an attitude to religion and view on in vitro fertilization (χ2(16, N=784) = 138,643; p=0,000). There is the lowest acceptance of IVF among respondents who declare being very religious or religious (29 % and 48 %, respectively), while it is the highest among those who declare being indifferent or atheists (76,8 % and 86,4 %). Similarly, there is a statistically ←53 | 54→significant correlation between attitude to religious practices and attitude to the IVF procedure (χ2(16, N=769) = 154,655; p=0,000). Among respondents who practice their faith regularly (34,2 %), practice irregularly (53,6 %) or practice seldom (68,8 %), the IVF is the least approved, whereas among those who do not practice their faith (84,9 %) and declare being atheists it is the most approved (83,1 %).

Sex is not significantly correlated with attitude to in vitro fertilization (χ2(4, N=783) = 5,094; p=0,278). No significant correlation between type of studies and attitude to IVF was found either (χ2(4, N=794) = 6,318; p=0,177). In the case of the assessment of material situation of a respondent’s family and his or her attitude to IVF (χ2(16, N=779)= 28,019; p=0,031), minimum theoretical size for cells exceeded permissible 20 %, which without certain aggregation operations on categories make it impossible to use the results of the chi-square test.

IVF procedure seems to be perceived by young people in a manner that does not distinctly reveal moral criticism. It is hard to discern visible contrasts as regards attitudes or moral judgment. The survey found that religion that one believes and practices is a significant factor contributing to negative attitude to in vitro fertilization. If that is the case, the issue of moral permissivism widely discussed in literature (also in sociological publications) does not apply, because only for a small group of respondents IVF procedure is real evil. If one adopts Hanna Świda-Ziemba’s view that moral permissivism means acceptance of norms, but also tolerance of breaking them (Świda-Ziemba 2002, p. 438), in case of IVF, the acceptance is quite high. IVF is a manifestation of a kind of ambivalence – it is judged as morally wrong, but at the same time not against norms.

6 Adoption of children by same-sex couples

Society is a relational reality. It ultimately means that the reality itself and through new constant aspirations for building relationality anew in interpersonal space generates dynamic interaction network. Observation of social life leads to the conclusion that an individual naturally and potentially aspires for making relations with others and building communities and societies. Therefore, as Pierpaolo Donati believes, both human activities and observation of them should be looked at from the relational point of view (Donati 2013, p. 9). Thanks to such an approach, also observation and sociological analysis become a part of activities aiming at enhancing relational social system and relational functioning of an individual (Santambroggio 2012, p. 25).

An attempt at adopting children, also in case of same-sex couples, is the symptom of relational tendencies of people interested. The conducted survey ←54 | 55→revealed quite a specific picture of human aspirations and activities along with their judgment, which is governed by the logic mentioned. One in five respondents (21,5 %) said that adoption of children by same-sex couples is permissible. 46,5 % respondents were of the opposite opinion.

As a next step, views of adoption of children by same-sex couples were compared with social and demographic variables. Firstly, sex is significantly correlated with an opinion about adoption of children by same-sex couples (χ2(4, N=783) = 15,456; p=0,004). More women than men believe that such adoption is permissible (24,5 % and 17,9 %, respectively). Secondly, place of residence significantly correlates with an opinion about adoption of children by same-sex couples (χ2(20, N=778) = 46,172; p=0,001). The lowest acceptance of such a decision is among respondents who live permanently in the country (13,5 %), while the highest acceptance was noted among those who live in the cities with over 500 000 inhabitants (32,5 %). It is worth mentioning that people who live in the country are still greatly attached to preacher’s and pastoral work (Bukraba-Rylska 2008, p. 514), according to which obviously adoption of children by same-sex couples is treated rigorously and explicitly critical (when that issue is raised). Thirdly, there was found a statistically significant correlation between religiousness and opinion about adoption of children by same-sex couples. The correlation is observed both among religious respondents (χ2(16, N=784) = 107,661; p=0,000) and those who practice their faith (χ2(16, N=769) = 123,340; p=0,000). In both cases, among people who declare being more religious and practicing more frequently, there is a lower acceptance of this phenomenon. This fact might confirm the conclusion made on the basis of the conducted research several years ago by Janusz Mariański that there is a specific situation among young people: lack of attachment to religion, but at the same time its presence (Mariański 2011, p 405). It would mean that view of certain phenomena is influenced by religion, even if one is not aware of it and does not consider it explicitly in that manner.

Additionally, the analysis proved that there is no significant correlation between type of studies and attitude to adoption of children by same-sex couples (χ2(4, N=794) = 4,196; p=0,380). In the case of the assessment of material situation of a respondent’s family and his or her attitude to adoption of children by same-sex couples (χ2(16, N=779)= 29,273; p=0,022), minimum theoretical size for cells exceeded permissible 20 %, which without certain aggregation operations on categories makes it impossible to use the results of the chi-square test.

It is worth mentioning that a desire to have a baby is usually preceded by a decision to cohabit (Giza-Poleszczuk 2005, p. 266). In case of bringing a baby to life it is more than understandable. However, the issue seems to be more ←55 | 56→debatable when it concerns same-sex people. Potentially, adoption becomes somehow the only way to expand one’s family.

7 Sex change

The category of sex is the issue that appears in various contexts and with reference to the related terms in sociological analysis. Despite the popular and intuitive perception of it, sex is a complex and multi-faceted structure encompassing various scopes and levels of phenomena [Sekuła-Kwaśniewicz 2000, p. 123). Thanks to the conducted study, at least several interesting conclusions connected with sex change might be drawn, namely approximately two in five respondents (41,1 %) think that sex change is impermissible, while approx. one in five respondents (21,4 %) believe that sex change is permissible.

The view on sex change is diversified by the selected social and demographic variables. Firstly, sex is significantly correlated with an opinion about sex change (χ2(4, N=783) = 26,559; p=0,000). More women than men accept sex change (25,3 % and 16,3 %, respectively). Secondly, permanent place of residence is significantly correlated with the attitude to sex change (χ2(20, N=778) = 54,701; p=0,000). Among inhabitants of the country 12,8 % respondents approve of sex change, while among those who live in the cities with over 500 000 inhabitants, it is 34,2 % respondents. Thirdly, chi-square tests proved that there is a statistically significant correlation between view on sex change and attitude to religion (χ2(16, N=784) = 130,971; p=0,000) and with attitude to religious practices (χ2(16, N=769) = 151,857; p=0,000). Yet again, it was confirmed that people who are more religious and who practice their faith more regularly are less eager to accept sex change.

No significant correlation between type of studies and attitude to sex change was found (χ2(4, N=794) = 8,489; p=0,075). In the case of the assessment of material situation of a respondent’s family and his or her attitude to sex change (χ2(16, N=779)= 27,787; p=0,034), minimum theoretical size for cells exceeded permissible 20 %, which without certain aggregation operations on categories makes it impossible to use the results of the chi-square test.

Sex change, as well as other moral and social phenomena presented and analyzed in this chapter, confirms important observations formulated accurately by Janusz Mariański: ‘Pluralism or relativism of moral values in a society is a fact, not a norm or an ideal’ (Mariański 2014b, p. 208). The sociologist from Lublin formulates such a thought having in mind above all certain values. As it seems, it is also true about concrete phenomena and attitudes which reflect those beliefs and moral rules. They are a fact, which is particularly for a sociologist an ←56 | 57→important and cognitively valuable material, whereas for practitioners of social life they might be a concrete socialization and education challenge. However, this challenge does not seem to be easy due to the fact that it concerns intense sensitive and flexible reality which is, as Alberto LoPresti said, ‘a global nervous system’ (LoPresti 2008, p. 106).


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Maria Sroczyńska

Deligimitization of religious dimension of marital and family intimacy in students’ evaluation

Abstract: This chapter discusses the attitudes of Polish students to the normative dimension of marital and family intimacy. The evaluation covers five issues: premarital sexual intercourse, the use of contraceptives, marital infidelity, divorce and termination of pregnancy. The results of the survey research performed in 2017 on Polish students were compared with the outcome of the dynamic research conducted on the academic youth since the late 1980s. Marital and family morality based on values and principles referring to the authority of Roman Catholicism is undergoing significant changes. On the one hand, the individualization and subjectivization of the content related to intimate life and on the other hand the revitalization of moral categories perceived primarily as individual responsibility and less frequently as a part of a religious system are observed. Therefore, it would be worthwhile to compare the results of the conducted research with the students’ moral evaluations formulated against the background of other societies and the religious cultures prevalent in them.

Keywords: marital and family intimacy, Polish students, moral evaluation, religious norms

Introduction – religion and morals in the postmodern world

Scholars studying social life, especially its axionormative sphere, agree that social control systems such as religion, morality, law, customs and fashion are partially autonomous and partially interdependent [cf. Mariański 2008]. The concept of intimacy, related to the most inner, personal and private sphere and intended for the closest persons, is connected with the axionormative dimension regulating the realm of eroticism, sexuality, love, and hence also the marital and family life. According to Anthony Giddens, the socio-cultural processes related to postmodernism have resulted in a far-reaching emancipation in this area, both in the context of absolute meanings with a religious background and social conformities internalized by individuals. In consequence, a growing interest in the concurrent love model and the so-called pure relations can be observed [Giddens 2007]. Nowadays, there is an increasing, even though not fully realized, heterodoxy (understood as views and activities different from the doctrine of faith propagated by a given religious institution) and growing ←59 | 60→relativistic tendencies. Religion and morals are increasingly forming separate systems for regulating human behavior. On the other hand, although to a lesser extent, there is a visible shift towards rudimentary content, perceived as objective determinants of a valuable individual life and social order. As is rightly claimed by Zygmunt Bauman “…human reality is unordered and ambiguous, and also moral decisions, unlike abstract ethical principles, are ambivalent” [1996: 45]. These problems, coexisting with the sociological narration, are defined on the one hand through the prism of institutionalization and privatization of religion and morality, and on the other by the processes of secularization, desecularization, and marketization [Pollack, Müller, Pickel 2012; Sroczyńska 2017:7-13].

In the Polish society, they used to be connected with systemic transformation and are presently associated with the dynamics of reflexive modernization [Beck, Giddens, Lash, 2009]. Only a decade ago, the most probable scenario was that of a relative stabilization of references between the religious and moral spheres [Mariański, 2001, 2004, 2006: 81–91]. Today one can observe tendencies separating those systems, which results in an increasing importance of decisions based on the autonomous conscience criteria. The individualization trend largely reduces the differences between men and women (especially in younger age categories) and promotes “situational tinkering” in the area of religious and moral meanings [Trzebiatowska, Bruce 2012; Mariański 2012].

The tendencies to absolutize the moral content are far less common, which implies their relation with religious values. Globalization and modernization produce a landscape of contradictions – on the one hand the sacrum is dispersed and on the other it emerges in non-religious areas, whereas the strong emphasis on an individual’s self-fulfillment is accompanied by the need for bonds and shared emotions (negotiation model).

Characteristics of research

The research proper was conducted at the Department of Sociology of Religion at the Institute of Sociology, in cooperation with the Institute of the Catholic Church Statistics of the SAC, at the turn of April and May 2017. It covered only full-time studies in state universities. This decision was made to preserve the characteristics of the samples in comparative diachronic studies. In all the surveys in 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2017, the research type f2f of the auditory type PAPI was applied. The effective sample was n = 794 (yy = 0.74) students. In order to match the sample structure to the population sample, the rim weighting of the RAKE type was used [Zarzecki 2018].

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The analyzed sample of 2017 is dominated by women (59.2 %) with 40.8 % of men, students of mathematical and natural sciences (including medicine) account for 65.7 % of the respondents and students of humanities and socio-economic sciences represent 34.3 % of the group. Almost half of the respondents come from the rural environment and from small towns with up to 50,000 inhabitants; nearly every seventh student represents a metropolitan agglomeration, and every eighth one – a city with 100,000 to 250,000 inhabitants. The number of residents of large cities (up to 500,000) and small cities (50–100,000) is slightly smaller; they are represented by every fifth respondent. Although the parents’ education structure still shows higher figures for mothers, the declarations of the respondents show that these differences have flattened. These issues correspond with the evaluation of the family’s financial situation – almost 70 % of respondents define it as very good or good and every fourth person declares that their living standard is average. The vast majority of the youth belongs to the Roman Catholic Church (84.5 %), and every tenth person does not identify themselves with any denomination. Only few respondents declare their relationship with another confession (2.1 % in total), as well as with minority groups. Nearly 60 % of respondents regard themselves as believers (including 11.7 % of deep believers), 17 % are undecided but attached to a religious tradition whereas 12 % are indifferent. One in ten students admits to be a non-believer. Most of the respondents participate in a religious worship either systematically (every third respondent) or non-systematically (every fourth respondent). Nearly 20 % of the academic youth participate in religious practices rarely and slightly over 13 % do not do it at all. Thus, slightly over one third of students have significantly weakened or broken off the ritual bond with the religious community.

Normative dimensions of marital and family intimacy in the evaluation of students

One of the issues dealt with in the research “Youth and Values 2017” was an attempt to operationalize moral evaluations in the context of behaviours violating the normative order of the intimate sphere, identified with the model of Roman Catholic religion. The opinions concerned five issues: sexual intercourse before marriage, the use of contraceptives, marital infidelity, divorce and termination of pregnancy.

The highest rates of moral liberalism concern the use of contraceptives and sexual intercourse before marriage. In each case, approx. two thirds of students find these activities acceptable. It highlights clearly the transformations that the contemporary form of intimacy has undergone, manifested as a detachment of ←61 | 62→sexuality from marriage, procreation and the traditional family. Out of the surveyed issues being in contradiction to the teaching of the Catholic Church, it is the use of contraceptives and pre-marital sex that received the highest acceptance of students.

Divorce is accepted by every third respondent; the majority of students connect the breakdown of a marriage with the relativization of moral evaluation (almost half of the indications). On the other hand, within the “cultural obviousness” is a negative evaluation of marital infidelity (declared by 80 % of respondents), perceived as an act that undermines the essence of sexual, emotional and psychological bond between partners. Thus, students, in the vast majority, do not approve of actions violating both religious and secular criteria of goodness in interpersonal relations. Termination of pregnancy, on the other hand, does not evoke such unambiguous reactions; it is unacceptable for every third respondent whereas almost half of the surveyed students believe the evaluation of abortion depends on special circumstances (as can be presumed – allowed by the law in force in Poland)1. Only every sixth respondent supports the pro-choice attitude as far as the possibility of terminating pregnancy is concerned. Whether the conception of human life is attributed to the sphere of the sacrum or to secular values has a significant impact on the way in which members of a given society evaluate abortion.

The interpretation of the system of research variables provides a context for the emergence of interesting relations. Women slightly less commonly than men approve of pre-marital sex (difference of 4 p.p.), at the same time more often indicating the category “it depends”. In the case of divorce, female students indicate the option “it depends” more often than male students, with the difference of 10 percentage points, at the same time being less strict in their evaluations. As far as the place of permanent residence is concerned, the number of opinions that accept premarital sex (contradictory to the teaching of the Church) increases together with the transition from small (60 % indications in rural communities) to larger communities, remaining a “cultural obviousness” in metropolitan agglomerations (almost 82 %). The use of contraception is evaluated in a similar way, whereas the lowest rate of non-acceptance of pre-marital sex occurs in medium-sized cities with 100,000 to 250,000 inhabitants (4.0 %). The orthodoxy ←62 | 63→of religiously motivated views related to the acceptability of divorce is particularly evident in the case of people from smaller local communities. Then, students assessing the financial status of their families as very good are also those who indicate the unacceptability of premarital sex (approx. only 12 % of acceptance), whereas those with poor financial situation are the least strict (85 % of acceptance). With regards to contraceptives, one can observe the fear of an unwanted pregnancy complicating the difficult life situation of young people, anticipated by some respondents. On the other hand, a better assessment of the financial condition of one’s own family favours a more positive attitude towards divorce, but in this case, the opinions are divided (people assessing this condition as very good most strongly accept the indissolubility of marriage). Marital infidelity is regarded as unacceptable by women more often than by men (85 % and 75 %, respectively), by respondents studying mathematical and natural sciences more often than by those studying humanities and social-economic sciences (the difference of seven p.p.), by people with a permanent place of residence in smaller local communities – in villages and cities with up to 100,000 inhabitants, and by those whose families have a good financial situation. In a rural environment, only 10 % of students recognize the possibility of a pregnancy termination (and 40 % of respondents oppose it), while in the largest cities (over 500,000 inhabitants) the attitudes are to the largest extent antagonized – permissivism or moral rigorism are manifested by every fourth respondent. Attitudes that accept the possibility of abortion in special circumstances are most commonly manifested by people from small and medium-sized cities, ranging from 50,000 to 250,000 of residents.

An important role in assessing sexual relation before the church wedding, the use of contraceptives or divorce is played by two basic aspects of institutionally oriented religiosity – the attitude to faith and religious practices [cf. Zaręba, 2008: 286–295], which is also confirmed by the study of 2017.The growing distance to the faith is accompanied by the acceptance of premarital sex, but a clear qualitative “leap” can be observed between those declaring themselves as believers and the other categories of respondents. The contradictory positions in the assessment of marital infidelity is especially evident between respondents who are deep believers, believers and undecided (over 4/5 of respondents in each category) and people who are religiously indifferent and non-believers, whose strict indications are lower by approx. 20 percentage points on average. The evaluation of abortion reveals a downward trend with regard to connecting religious faith with moral rigorism – the deep believers outnumber non-believers nearly ten times (59 % and 6 % respectively). The degree of liberalism with regard to abortion increases when respondents are less involved religiously (however, the ←63 | 64→persons indifferent in matters of faith express less acceptance of pregnancy termination than the undecided ones).

There is a similar tendency in the case of those involved in religious practices, although dedication in this area is not as much correlated with the acceptance of the sixth commandment as the religious faith. Among those regularly participating in Sunday mass and religious holidays there is a significant difference of views; nearly two fifths accept departure from the religious norm, almost every fourth is against such a departure, and almost every third person makes the opinion dependent on the wider context. Non-practitioners do not manifest rigorous attitudes, and only every eleventh respondent participating in worship has rare moments of doubt in this matter, e.g. in relation to important religious holidays or rites of passage (weddings, funerals). Thus, religious identification on the level of faith appears to be a more important correlate of morality and customs than the fact of ritual involvement. In the group of deep believers, only every third person allows the use of contraceptives, while among non-believers this applies to over 90 % of respondents; in the opposing categories: “systematic participation in religious practice” and “no participation in religious practice”, the differences are smaller and concern 40 percentage points. In the case of divorce evaluation, faith and religious practices correspond with each other having similar values; therefore, the smaller the ritual activity of the examined youth, the more common the liberal attitude to divorce (it refers to nearly two fifths in the group of regular practitioners and to over 90 % of non-practitioners). There is also a visible linear decrease in moral rigorism in the context of marital infidelity – the differences between regular practitioners and non-practitioners amount to over 20 p.p. (91.3 % and 69.8 %, respectively). The decline in the level of participation in religious worship favours decrease in orthodoxy in the evaluation of abortion (while 58 % systematic practitioners evaluate it in accordance with the Church teaching, the number of non-practitioners amounts to merely 12 %). The acceptability of pregnancy termination increases with young people drifting apart from religious practices.

Attitudes of students to selected norms of marital and family morals in the context of dynamic researches

An interesting aspect of the discussed subject matter is connected with the possibility of studying both the continuity and the change in students’ opinions in 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2017, seen from the perspective of dynamic researches2.

Tab. 1: Evaluation of sexual relation before the church wedding in the years 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2017 (%). Source: Department of Sociology of Religion of UKSW and Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church SAC

Year of research


No answer


It depends


Hard to say

1988 (N=350)






ISBN (Book)
Publication date
2019 (December)
Religion in Poland Social research E-religion Social constructionism Morality and values
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 232 pp., 11 fig. b/w, 90 tables

Biographical notes

Sławomir H. Zaręba (Volume editor) Marcin Zarzecki (Volume editor)

Sławomir Henryk Zaręba is a sociologist, Full Professor, Head of the Department of Sociology of Religion and Dean of the Faculty of Historical and Social Sciences of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw. His main research areas include sociology of religion, culture, morality, youth and professional ethos. <B> Marcin Zarzecki</B>, Ph.D., is a sociologist of religion, methodologist of social sciences and statistics. He is Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Historical and Social Sciences of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw. His main research areas include social and religious movements, sociology of politics and economic sociology.


Title: Between Construction and Deconstruction of the Universes of Meaning