Normally I wouldn’t have taken the time to write up such a quick, trivial diary — but the “0.0%” figure was just too good not to share with you all in the US.
Some background: Unlike the US, Iceland doesn’t have separation of church and state. There is a national church, which has a number of benefits. All religions get (significant) state support, in accordance with their membership — a starting priest gets nearly double the salary of a starting nurse. Children at birth are automatically enrolled in the religion of their parents. Schools are visited by religious figures. Even our national anthem, Lofsöngur, is a hymn (and probably has the most depressing, self-deprecating lyrics of any national anthem -comparing the country to a tiny flower with a quivering tear that prays to God then dies. ;) )
Despite all of this, Iceland is a rather non-religious country, with a (comparatively) low belief in a “personal god” (but moderately high beliefs in a spirit of nature or life force to the universe). Church attendance rates are very low. And the rate of religiousness only keeps dropping, as a new poll reveals.
Conducted for Siðmennt (the Icelandic Humanist Association) by the polling firm Maskína, it surveyed 821 individuals, of which most questions were responded by over 100 individuals under age 25. The results continue earlier trends, but are most notable with the younger generations. Some of the results of the poll:
- Literally zero percent — not a single respondent — under the age of 25 answered the question “How do you believe that the world was created” with the answer “God created it”. 93,9% said that it was created in the Big Bang, 3,1% said other, and 3,0% said they weren’t sure. Among the general population, 17,7% said that they believed that God created it.
- 40.5% of under-25s, when asked about their religion, responded that they are trúlaus (lit. “religion-free”), compared to 42.0% who said Christian. This compares to 22,6% and 68,8%, respectively, of the general population.
- Despite 42% of under-25s identifying as Christian, only 17.4% identified themselves as religious (46,4% in the general population). A later question found that many (33% of under-25s) consider themselves trúlaus but follow Christian traditions (so-called “cultural” Christianity)
- A different question asked people’s views on God. None of the under-25s responded simply “I believe in God”. 49,1% chose that there’s no way to know the existence or nonexistence of god (agnostic), 26,9% said that God is a concept that humans have created (atheist) plus an additional 4,5% who answered “trúlaus”. 6,0% said that they believe in God “in accordance with the Bible”, an additional 6,0% said they believe in such a biblical God plus other higher powers, 3,0% just in other powers, and 4,5% said that they had an opinion not listed. In the general population the figures were agnostic: 36,2%; atheist, 18,7% + 1,6%; God as in the Bible, 17,3%; that plus other powers, 15,6%; just other powers, 1,7%; and other, 8,9%.
- 74,1% of under-25s are supportive of establishing the principle of separation of church and state, while 25,9% are neutral. 0,0% are opposed to it. Among the general population, the numbers are 49,0%, 32,2%, and 18,8%, respectively.
No long elaborate commentary needed on this one. The times, they are a-changing...