Seventy-five percent of Church of Sweden members do not believe in Jesus, and 15 percent claim to be atheists, according to a recent survey.
The study, dubbed ‘Member 2010’, was undertaken with 10,000 churchgoers over the course of the past year.
“It’s not very high,” Church of Sweden analysts Jonas Bromander admitted to The Local in reference to the number of Jesus believers. “It’s not really a problem; rather, it’s a by-product of the secularisation in Swedish society which has taken place over many years,” he added.
The study also found that 25 percent of respondents categorised themselves as agnostic, meaning almost half of the church members surveyed are at least unsure that God exists. The probe concluded that younger parishioners were the most likely to doubt their faith.
Bromander, however, remains unconcerned, pointing out to The Local that church membership does not require belief in any particular religious figure.”Many are members, not for religious reasons, but because of the role the church plays in society, or because it serves as an organisation which maintains Swedish traditions,” he said. “In fact, there are many members who would rather that we focus more on our social work in Sweden than on Sunday services.”
Backing up this claim, most of the survey’s respondents said they are members of the Swedish Church because they, “have a little faith, because the church does good work in society and stands for important traditions,” adding, however, that they think the church “isn’t especially relevant for them personally.”