For the first time ever, the number of Norwegians that says they do not believe in God has surpassed the number of those that says they do. This means atheism in Norway has finally reached a national record that is now well up in the double digits.
According to a new socio-cultural study, which was conducted by Ipsos MORI for Norwegian Monitor, those responding with “no” or “don’t know” when asked if they believe in God comfortably outnumbered those who said “yes”. The annual survey, involving as many as 4,000 Norwegians, revealed that outright atheists, who simply dismiss the notion of God, now enjoy a strength of 39 percent of the country’s total population as opposed to 32 percent of believers, with the remaining 23 percent saying they do not know.
This particular survey was first conducted in 1985, when half of all respondents had said they believe in God and only 20 percent had said they do not.
As unlikely as it may seem, Norway was once an extremely religious country but things have changed dramatically over the last few decades. Having been described as one of the “eight best countries for atheists”, along with Denmark, Sweden and the Czech Republic, Norway’s socially just government seems to have effectively replaced God in the lives of most Norwegians.
While Norway did make some progress in this direction in 2012 by eliminating Lutheranism as its official state church, nobody thought the rise of atheism would be so well paced.
“The Evangelical Lutheran religion will no longer be the state’s official religion,” the parliament had written in a statement at the time, which implied that the church would receive public funding on par with other religious and faith-based institutions.
Norway’s decline in religiosity has however remained consistent. Last year only, the number of atheists in Norway equaled the number of believers for the first time in its history, thus setting a new record for atheism in the country. Now it seems they have gained a clear superiority, at least as far as numbers are concerned.
The survey also showed that women are more likely to believe in God than men and the older generations are more likely to identify as believers that the younger generations.
This trend also suggested that religious affiliation would continue to fall in Norway.
Photo Credits: Strange Notions