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← Norway abolishes state sponsored Church of Norway

Aztek's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Aztek

I applaud this move, and am waiting eagerly for the same thing to happen soon here in Finland. We essentially have the same situation with a state sponsored church. According to the article, 79 % of Norwegians are registered members of the church. That figure stood out, because the same figure in Finland is almost the same: 77,2 %.

However, I do fear a little what the result of a move like this will be. Many people have pointed out that one of the reasons for why the US is so religious is because they don't have "one official state religion". As a result all religious denominations have to compete for members and do aggressive marketing, resulting in many people being convinced by religious ideas. On the other hand, the population in Finland has been apathetic towards religions for a long time because most are automatically baptised into this one "official" church, like it's a ritual unifying the people. Because of this, people don't have to put an effort into belonging to the church. They don't have to think, live or care about their "faith". This leads to people simply slipping away from their habitual belief. The church doesn't mean anything to people, it's just there, and people belong to it because of tradition.

The church hasn't had to do anything to retain members, because they joined pretty much automatically. But if it suddenly has to wake up and work to get members without the help of a link to the government, it means heavier emphasis on proselytizing and marketing. And all the other religions want to have a piece of the market too. My fear is that this might lead to a larger percentage of hardcore believers.

Tue, 15 May 2012 17:30:00 UTC | #941639