bookmark_borderGod in Denmark and Britain

Aztec Gods
Originally uploaded by Dunechaser

Mailund posted a link to an article about attitudes to religion in Denmark, Britain and the US.

It’s the author’s idea that the UK is “somewhere between the United States and Denmark when it comes to religion”.

I must admit this surprised me a bit. In my experience, although there are possibly relatively more religious people in the UK than in Denmark, there are also many more declared atheists.

In Denmark, almost everybody is a member of the state church and would go there for christenings, confirmations and weddings, and possibly for Christmas, even if they don’t really believe in God.

In the UK, lots of people never ever go to church, and they’re most certainly not a member.

Based on this, it was interesting to look at the figures quoted in the article.

The author’s hypothesis seems to be supported by questions like “don’t believe in life after death”, “strongly disagree that politicians who don’t believe in God are unfit for office” and “attend religious service once a week or more”, for which the UK is neatly placed between Denmark and the US.

But on the other hand, Denmark is in the middle when it comes to questions such as “never think about meaning & purpose of life” and “a religious person”.

I guess this has something to do with averages. If we look at church attendance, Denmark is full of people who go once or twice a year, whereas the UK consists of 15% believers who go to church all the time and 85% who never go.

Danes also want everybody to be equally vague about religion, which is why they don’t want religious political leaders (but I suspect they’d also be much more suspicious of strongly atheist politicians than people in the UK).

And whereas many Britons are so atheist they never think about the meaning of life, much fewer Danes would be this radical, just as Danes wouldn’t like to describe themselves as irreligious – so long as they don’t need to go to church too often.