- Religion in Europe
thumb|250px|Predominant religious heritages in Europe
Religionin Europe history, and its various faiths have been a major influence on European art, culture, philosophy and law. The majority religion in Europe is Christianity. Many countries in the Southeast, however, have Muslim majorities. Other religions including Hinduism, Buddhismand Judaismexist but in much smaller numbers. Europe being largely a secular region also has the largest number and proportion of irreligious, agnostic and atheistic people in the Western world, with a particularly high number of self-described non-religious people in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, and Sweden.
Little is known about the
prehistoric religionof Neolithic Europe. Bronze and Iron Age religion in Europe as elsewhere was predominantly polytheistic ( Ancient Greek religion, Ancient Roman religion, Celtic polytheism, Germanic paganismetc.). The Roman Empireofficially adopted Christianity in AD 380. During the Early Middle Ages, most of Europe underwent Christianization, a process essentially complete with the Christianization of Scandinaviain the High Middle Ages. The emergence of the notion of "Europe" or " Western World" is intimately connected with the idea of " Christendom", especially since Christianity in the Middle East was marginalized by the rise of Islamfrom the 8th century, a constellation that led to the Crusades, which although unsuccessful militarily were an important step in the emergence of a religious identity of Europe. At all times, traditions of folk religionexisted largely independent from official denomination or dogmatic theology.
Great Schismof the 11th and Reformationof the 16th century were to tear apart "Christendom" into hostile factions, and following the Age of Enlightenmentof the 18th century, atheismand agnosticismbecame widespread in Western Europe. 19th century Orientalismcontributed to a certain popularity of Buddhism, and the 20th century brought increasing syncretism, New Ageand various new religious movements divorcing spirituality from inherited traditions for many Europeans. The latest history brought increased secularisation, and religious pluralism. [Henkel, Reinhard and Hans Knippenberg "The Changing Religious Landscape of Europe" edited by Knippenberg published by Het Spinhuis, Amsterdam 2005 ISBN 9055892483, pages 7-9 ]
theismis losing prevalence in Europe in favour of atheism, and religion losing prevalence in favor of secularism. European countries have experienced a decline in church attendance, as well as a decline in the number of people professing a belief in a God. The [http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_225_report_en.pdf Eurobarometer Poll 2005] found that, on average, 52% of the citizens of EUmember states state that they believe in a God, 27% believe there is some sort of spirit or life Force while 18% do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God or Life Force. 3% declined to answer. According to a recent study (Dogan, Mattei, Religious Beliefs in Europe: Factors of Accelerated Decline), 47% of Frenchmen declared themselves as agnostic in 2003.This situation is often called " Post-ChristianEurope". A decrease in religiousness and church attendance in western Europe (especially Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlandsand Sweden) has been noted, but there is an increase in Eastern Europe, especially in Greece and Romania (2% in 1 year). The Eurobarometer poll must be taken with caution, however, as there are discrepancies between it and national census results. For example in the United Kingdom, the 2001 census revealed over 70% of the population regarded themselves as "Christian" with only 15% professing to have "no religion". It should be noted that the majority of those that purported to be "Christian" did so nominally. This does not indicate any belief or non-belief in a deity.
The following is a list of European countries ranked by religiosity, based on belief in a god, according to the [http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_225_report_en.pdf Eurobarometer Poll 2005] . The 2005 Eurobarometer Poll asked whether the person believed "there is a god", believed "there is some sort of spirit of life force", "didn't believe there is any sort of spirit, god or life force".
[http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_225_report_en.pdf Eurobarometer Poll 2005] Country Belief in a god Belief in a spirit
or life force
Belief in neither a spirit,
god or life force
Vatican City 100% 0% 0% Turkey 95% 2% 1% Malta 95% 3% 1% Cyprus 90% 7% 2% Romania 90% 8% 1% Greece 81% 16% 3% Portugal 81% 12% 6% Poland 80% 15% 1% Italy 74% 16% 6% Ireland 73% 22% 4% Croatia 67% 25% 7% Slovakia 61% 26% 11% Spain 59% 21% 18% Austria 54% 34% 8% Lithuania 49% 36% 12% Switzerland 48% 39% 9% Germany 47% 25% 25% Luxembourg 44% 28% 22% Hungary 44% 31% 19% Belgium 43% 29% 27% Finland 41% 41% 16% Bulgaria 40% 40% 13% Iceland 38% 48% 11% United Kingdom 38% 40% 20% Latvia 37% 49% 10% Slovenia 37% 46% 16% France 34% 27% 33% Netherlands 34% 37% 27% Norway 32% 47% 17% Denmark 31% 49% 19% Sweden 23% 53% 23% Czech Republic 19% 50% 30% Estonia 16% 54% 26%
The decrease in theism is illustrated in the 1981 and 1999 according to the
World Values Survey. [World Values Survey, [http://margaux.grandvinum.se/SebTest/wvs/country_data_analysis?target=8 Religion and morale: Believe in God] . Accessed 2007-07-25] , both for traditionally strongly theist countries (Spain: 86.8%:81.1%; Ireland 94.8%:93.7%) and for traditionally secular countries (Sweden: 51.9%:46.6%, France 61.8%:56.1%, Netherlands 65.3%:58.0%). Some countries nevertheless show slight increase of theism over the period, Italy 84.1%:87.8%, Denmark 57.8%:62.1%. For a comprehensive study on Europe, see Mattei Dogan's "Religious Beliefs in Europe: Factors of Accelerated Decline" in "Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion". Turkeyand Maltaare the most religious countries and Czech Republicand Estoniaare the least religious countries in Europe.
The vast majority of religious Europeans are
Christians, divided into a large number of denominations. Roman Catholicism is the largest denomination with adherents mostly existing in Latin Europe, Irelandand the Visegrád Group, but also the southern parts of Germanic Europe. Protestantismand Eastern Orthodoxyare organized into many churches, the largest of which are:
*Eastern Orthodoxy (the churches are in
full communion, i.e. they see each other as local churches, members of a single religious body)
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Albanian Orthodox Church
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Church of Greece
Cypriot Orthodox Church
Romanian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
list of Reformed churches, Porvoo Communion)
Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church
Danish National Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church—Synod of France and Belgium
Evangelical Church in Germany
Reformed Church in Hungary
Church of Sweden
Swiss Reformed Church
Church of England
Church of Ireland
Scottish Episcopal Church
Church in Wales
Lusitanian Catholic Apostolic Evangelical Church
Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church
United Reformed Church
Evangelical Presbyterian Church in England and Wales
Church of Scotland
Presbyterian Church in Ireland
Methodist Church of Great Britain
Protestant Church in the Netherlands( Neo-Calvinism)
Baptist Union of Great Britain
Baptist Union of Sweden
Seventh-day Adventist Church
There are numerous minor Protestant movements, including various Evangelical congregations,
Jehovah's Witnessesand others.
Except for the
Iberian Peninsulawhere various Muslim states existed before the Reconquista, Western Europe has no Islamic tradition. The Muslim population in Western Europe today is mostly a result of migration accounting for between 7% and 8% of the population in France, 5.8% in the Netherlands, 5% in Denmark, just over 4% in Switzerlandand Austria, and almost 3 per cent in the United Kingdom. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4385768.stm Muslims in Europe: Country guide] , BBC News, 23 December 2005, accessed 3 May 2007] In Eastern Europe/Russia, Muslims make up 70% [ [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/al.html#People CIA - The World Factbook - Albania - People] ] of the population of Albania, 40% [ [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bk.html#People CIA - The World Factbook - Bosnia and Herzegovina - People] ] in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 33,3% [ [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/mk.html CIA - The World Factbook - Macedonia ] ] in Macedonia, 92% in Kosovo, about 20% [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4385768.stm#serbiamontenegro Muslims in Europe: Country guide - Serbia and Montenegro] ] in Montenegroand 12% [ [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bu.html CIA - The World Factbook - Bulgaria ] ] in Bulgaria and between 15-20% of the population of Russia. Islam has been a factor in the cultural development of Eastern Europe/Russia.
The Jews were dispersed within the Roman Empire from the 2nd century. At one time Judaism was practiced widely throughout the European continent; Throughout the Middle Ages, Jews were frequently accused of ritual murder and faced
pogroms and legal discrimination. The Holocaustperpetrated by Nazi Germanydecimated Jewish population, and today, France(1%Fact|date=October 2007 of the French population, or 4%Fact|date=October 2007 of the worldwide Jewish population) is the one and only European country with a Jewish population in excess of 0.5%Fact|date=October 2007 of the total population. Other European European countries with notable Jewish populations include Germany, the United Kingdom, Russiaand Italy.
Roma Peoplespread through out Europe, roughly 8,840,000 - 13,540,000 people.
Buddhismthinly spread throughout Europe and growing rapidly in recent years, about 3 million. [cite web|url=http://www.vipassanafoundation.com/Buddhists.html|title=Vipassana Foundation - Buddhists around the world] [cite web|url=http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhistworld/to-west.htm|title=BuddhaNet - Buddhism in the West] In Kalmykia, Tibetan Buddhismis prevalent.
Hinduismmainly among Indian immigrants in the United Kingdom. In 1998 there were an estimated 1.4 million Hindu adherents in Europe. [cite web|url=http://www.adherents.com/Na/Na_306.html|title=Hinduism>]
Sikhism, nearly 1 million adherents of Sikhism in Europe. Most of the community live in United Kingdom(750,000) & Italy(70,000). Around 10,000 in Belgium & France. Netherlandsand Germanyhave a Sikhpopulation of 12,000. All other countries have less than or 5,000 Sikhs.
below one million adherents:
Neopagan movementsin some countries, notably in Germanic Europeand the Baltic states(the UK, German-speaking Europe and Scandinavia).
* Rastafari, communities in the
United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and elsewhere.
Jainism, small membership rolls, mainly among Indian immigrants in the United Kingdom.
Bahá'í Faith, upwards of 60, 000, with populations of several thousand in Russia, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Albania, et al.
Voodoo, mainly among black Caribbeanand West African immigrants in the United Kingdomand France.
* Traditional African Religions (including
Muti), mainly in the United Kingdomand France.
Animism, Christian Scientists, Gnosticism, Paganism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mennonites, Moravian Church, Mormonismor Latter-day Saints, Pantheism, Polytheism, theological relativism, Scientology, Seventh-day Adventists, Universal Life Church, Unitarians, Hare Krishna, Wiccan, and Zoroastrianism.Fact|date=July 2008
Europe has a large and growingFact|date=January 2008
atheistand agnosticIrreligous population with 18% on average answering the question I do not believe in a spirit, God or life force in [http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_225_report_en.pdf The Eurobarometer Poll 2005] . The largest non-confessional populations (as a percentage) are found in the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Swedenand the former Sovietcountries of Belarus, Estonia, Russiaand Ukraine, although most former communistcountries have significant non-confessional populations.
A number of countries in Europe have official religions, including
Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, the Vatican City(Catholic), Greece(Eastern Orthodox), Denmark, Iceland, Norway(Lutheran), and Britain(Anglican). In Switzerland, some cantons are officially Catholic, others Reformed Protestant. Some Swiss villages even have their religion as well as the village name written on the signs at their entrances.
Georgia has no established church, but the
Georgian Orthodox Churchenjoys "de facto" privileged status. Much the same applies in Germany with the Evangelical Church and the Roman Catholic Church. In Finland, both the Finnish Orthodox Churchand the Lutheran Church are official. England, a part of the UK, has Anglicanismas its official religion. Scotland, another part of the UK, has Presbyterianismas its national church, but it is no longer "official". In Sweden, the national church is Lutheranism, but it is also no longer "official". Azerbaijan, France, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spainand Turkeyare officially "secular".
Religion in the European Union
List of religious populations
Islam by country
Buddhism by country
Hinduism by country
Judaism by country
Protestantism by country
Roman Catholicism by country
* No Faith by Country
Major world religions
Religion in Asia
Religion in North America
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