Being Christian in Western Europe

PF_18.05.29_westernEurope_featuredSource: Pew Research Center

Western Europe, where Protestant Christianity originated and Catholicism has been based for most of its history, has become one of the world’s most secular regions. Although the vast majority of adults say they were baptized, today many do not describe themselves as Christians. Some say they gradually drifted away from religion, stopped believing in religious teachings, or were alienated by scandals or church positions on social issues, according to a major new Pew Research Center survey of religious beliefs and practices in Western Europe.

Yet most adults surveyed still do consider themselves Christians, even if they seldom go to church. Indeed, the survey shows that non-practicing Christians (defined, for the purposes of this report, as people who identify as Christians, but attend church services no more than a few times per year) make up the biggest share of the population across the region. In every country except Italy, they are more numerous than church-attending Christians (those who go to religious services at least once a month). In the United Kingdom, for example, there are roughly three times as many non-practicing Christians (55%) as there are church-attending Christians (18%) defined this way.

Non-practicing Christians also outnumber the religiously unaffiliated population (people who identify as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” sometimes called the “nones”) in most of the countries surveyed.1 And, even after a recent surge in immigration from the Middle East and North Africa, there are many more non-practicing Christians in Western Europe than people of all other religions combined (Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.).

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3 replies

  1. In my Christian family we were nine siblings. Only one followed our father’s Christian path. Or one and a half, a second sister used to go sometimes with the ‘following sister’. All others called themselves Christian and went to church only: 1 their own baptism 2 marriage 3 baptism of their children 4 funeral. In other words 7 out of 9 never went for a normal church service.

    • I think very much the ‘average’ of the whole country. Just sort of lost interest. Not really any deep thoughts.

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