The non-religious Swiss increases in size

25% of the Swiss are non-religious

A March 31st report by Swissinfo.ch (31st March, 2011) carried news of a survey indicating that one in four Swiss citizens chose to describe themselves as ‘non-religious’. This was significantly up from the 1% who claimed to be non-religous in 1970 and the 11% who did so in the year 2000.

The Natural Science Foundation funded survey was carried out by Lausanne University professor Jörg Stolz and Münster University professor Judith Könemann, who suggested caution in interpreting the data. They pointed out that these unaffiliated individuals ‘might believe in God or be alternatively spiritual.’

The survey polled 1,229 people and a further 73 in-depth interviews produced a categorisation of people as one of four types: distanced (64%), institutional (17%), secular (10%), and alternative (9%). Institutionals represent the active churchgoers whilst the majority ‘distanced’ group attended occasional church services but did not consider religion to be very important in their lives. Most ‘alternatives’ were women and interested in’meditation, reincarnation and herbal remedies’.

Commenting on the findings, Markus Ries, a theologian at Lucerne University, predicted that in 25 years time there would be much more plurality regarding religious and non-religious practice, mirroring the increasing plurality in society at large.

In 2000, 161,075 people or 2.2% of the population belonged to so-called free churches (non-state recognised Christian denominations). For the moment Switzerland remains a Protestant country with 32% of the population claiming allegiance, a slim 1% ahead of the Roman Catholic population.

Further information about the changing face of religion in Switzerland and a number of useful links to the websites of various Swiss Churches is available by following this link.

Explore posts in the same categories: atheism, non-religious, religion, secularisation, Switzerland

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