A large portion of the Netherlands’ population believes that religion should not be practiced in the public sphere, with most Dutch suggesting politics and education in particular should be rid of religion.
A new study, titled “God in the Netherlands”, suggests that over 68 percent of Dutch do not adhere to one particular church, 25 percent identify as Christians, five percent as Muslims and two percent as followers of other non-Christian beliefs. With almost a quarter of the population identifying as atheist compared to 14 percent in 2006, 31 percent consider themselves spiritual as opposed to 40 percent 10 years ago. The number of those who believe in some kind of superior being has also dropped to 28 percent this year from 36 percent in 2006, and as much as half the population recently admitted to never praying.
The role that religion plays as a social binder has also witnessed a drop; with only 25 percent of the population now saying morality would disappear with the omission of God as compared to 40 percent a decade ago.
A fall in religious belief was also noticed among Christian churches. While Roman Catholic churches have been sensing a lack of faith with only 13 percent Catholics still believing in the concept of heaven and hell and less than half still considering Jesus the Son of God, secularization may seem less noticeable but is still present among Protestant churches. Even though Protestants are aware of a drop in church membership, church attendance and faith within the congregation is still more or less the same. Reportedly, as much as 77 percent of Protestants continue to believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ.
“God in the Netherlands” is a study that has been conducted once every 10 years since 1996, with over 2,100 Dutch being questioned about their faith and what role religion plays in their lives.
Photo Credits: Netherlands Mission