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God enjoying a renaissance

After years of purgatory, the man upstairs is in fashion again


Churches and pews may continue to remain empty, but more and more Danes are turning to religion and God in their quest to unlock life's fundamental questions (Photo: Colourbox)

January 5, 2014
07:03

by Christian Wenande


Despite pews sitting empty and churches closing due to dwindling membership, a significant number of Danes still say they believe in some kind of higher power.

According to a YouGov survey undertaken for Søndagsavisen newspaper, 41 percent of people believe in a god while a further 15 percent said that they wouldn't reject the existence of God.

Peter Lüchau, a sociologist and lecturer at the University of Copenhagen, said that religion is not something Danes are overly vocal about.

“Danes are surprisingly religious, but it’s not something that most Danes actively relate to. Religion has become a set of norms that is not flaunted and something that people have with themselves and their families,” Lüchau told Søndagsavisen.

It also appears that Danes become more religious the older they get. Fifty percent of people over the age of 50 are believers, compared to 32 percent of people aged 18-34.

READ MORE: Sorry God, Danes are just not that into you

A spiritual renaissance 
Lüchau said that the survey results showed that religious and spiritual thought is once again gathering some momentum after experiencing a bit of a national crisis.

“In the 60’s we expected religion to become extinct. People believed that if we became effective enough and had enough science, we could explain everything,” Lüchau said. “But slowly people came to believe that science does not hold all the answers and now we have reached that point again where people look to religion for answers to the fundamental questions in life.”

READ MORE: State church loses record number of members

Less religious in the capital
The survey also revealed that women are more religious and more likely to believe in life after death than men. Some 45 percent of women believe in God, compared to 37 percent of men, and 47 percent of women believe in an afterlife, compared to just 26 percent of men.

The survey also found that people were more religious in the rural areas of the nation. In the Copenhagen and northern Zealand regions, just 33 percent of people said that they were religious, compared to the around 45 percent of people in Jutland and on Funen.

READ MORE: City's homeless get a final resting place to call their own

Atheists on the rise
The news follows in the wake of Statistics Denmark’s revelations in 2013 that while 79.1 percent of the population of Denmark are members of the Church of Denmark (folkekirken), just three percent of the population regularly attends church services.

Moreover, a TNS Gallup survey for Berlingske newspaper in October showed that one fifth of the Danish population are atheists.

According to a 2012 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 16 percent of the world's population – 1.1 billion people – are atheists, making atheism the third-largest 'belief' on the planet.



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