According to a new Pew Research Center analysis which includes surveys in 34 countries, almost nine in ten Greeks believe their culture is superior to others, even though they recognise that “modern Greek people are not perfect”.
The survey focused on religion, national identity and attitudes towards religious minorities.
In terms of “cultural superiority” Greece sits at 89 per cent, Russia and Bulgaria at 69 per cent, Norway scored 58 per cent, Poland 55 per cent Italy, Austria and Portugal 47 per cent, UK and Hungary got 46 per cent.
Less than half of Germans – a 45 per cent -Germans feel they are “better than other cultures”, 36 per cent of the people in France, in Sweden only a 26 per cent feels “superior” and in Spain 20 per cent gave that response.
Their perception of “cultural superiority” as it is referred to in the study is not in regards to economic performance but rather connects to the glorious past of Ancient Greece.
The majority of modern Hellenes – both in Greece and in the diaspora – perceive themselves to be direct descendants of the heroic or philosopher ancient Greeks and believe in “racial purity”.
“When we were building the Parthenon, the others were on trees eating acorns”, many participants seemed to agree.
Meanwhile, a whopping 76 per cent of the Greek that participated agred that “being a Christian and especially Orthodox is very important for being truly Greek”.
“Although Greece has long been aligned with the West, it aligns more with Central and Eastern Europe than with Western Europe on religion, nativism and social issues,” writes Pew Research Center.
“When it comes to public attitudes on religion, national identity and the place of religious minorities, Greeks, like their neighbors to the East, hold more nationalist and less accepting views than do Western Europeans”.
“Greeks appear to recognise this,” the survey continues, “Seven-in-ten agree with the statement: ‘There is a conflict between our country’s traditional values and those of the West’. And a majority of Greeks hold at least some affinity toward Russia: Seven-in-ten adults say a strong Russia is necessary to balance the influence of the West.”