Religion in Europe
Religion in Europe has been a major influence on art, culture, philosophy and law. The largest religion in Europe for at least a millennium and a half has been Christianity. Three countries in Southeastern Europe have Muslim majorities. Ancient European religions included veneration for deities such as Zeus and Odin. Modern revival movements of these religions include Heathenism, Rodnovery, Romuva, Druidry, Wicca, and others. Smaller religions include Judaism, Dharmic religions, and some East Asian religions, which are found in their largest groups in Britain, France, and Kalmykia.
Little is known about the prehistoric religion of Neolithic Europe. Bronze and Iron Age religion in Europe as elsewhere was predominantly polytheistic (Ancient Greek religion, Ancient Roman religion, Finnish paganism, Celtic polytheism, Germanic paganism, etc.). The Roman Empire officially adopted Christianity in AD 380. During the Early Middle Ages, most of Europe underwent Christianization, a process essentially complete with the Christianization of Scandinavia in 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 Islam from 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 religion existed largely independent from official denomination or dogmatic theology.
The Great Schism of the 11th and Reformation of the 16th century were to tear apart "Christendom" into hostile factions, and following the Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century, atheism and agnosticism became widespread in Western Europe. 19th century Orientalism contributed to a certain popularity of Buddhism, and the 20th century brought increasing syncretism, New Age, and various new religious movements divorcing spirituality from inherited traditions for many Europeans. The latest history brought increased secularisation, and religious pluralism.
European countries have experienced a decline in church membership and church attendance. A relevant example of ongoing trend is Sweden where the church of Sweden, previously the state-church until 2000, claimed to have 82.9% of the Swedish population as its flock in 2000. Surveys showed this had dropped to 72.9% by 2008. However in the 2005 eurobarometer poll only 23% and in the 2010 eurobarometer poll only 18% of the Swedish population said they believed in a personal God.
Gallup poll 2007–2008 
Eurobarometer poll 2010 
The Eurobarometer Poll 2010 found that, on average, 51% of the citizens of EU member states state that they "believe in God", 26% "believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" while 20% "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-Christian Europe". A decrease in religiousness and church attendance in western Europe (especially Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden) has been noted, despite a concurrent increase in Eastern Europe, especially in Greece (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", though the wording of the question has been criticized as "leading" by the British Humanist Association. Romania, one of the most religious countries in Europe, witnessed a threefold increase in the number of atheists between 2002 and 2011, as revealed by the most recent national census.
The following is a list of European countries ranked by religiosity, based on belief in a God, according to the Eurobarometer Poll 2010. The 2010 Eurobarometer Poll asked whether the person believed "there is a God", believed "there is some sort of spirit of life force", or "didn't believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force".
there is a God"
|"I believe there is some
sort of spirit or life force"
|"I don't believe there is any sort
of spirit, God or life force"
|Turkey (not in EU)||94%||1%||1%|
|Croatia (not in EU)||69%||22%||7%|
|Switzerland (not in EU)||44%||39%||11%|
|Iceland (not in EU)||31%||49%||18%|
|Norway (not in EU)||22%||44%||29%|
The decrease in theism is illustrated in the 1981 and 1999 according to the World Values Survey, 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 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. Turkey and Malta are the most religious countries and Estonia and Czech Republic are the least religious countries in Europe.
Abrahamic religions 
Baha'i Faith 
There are an estimated 5,000–6,000 Bahá'ís in Germany. Including Iranian Bahá'í refugees and convert Danes, the modern community was[when?] about 330 Bahá'ís in Denmark. The Association of Religion Data Archives (relying mostly on the World Christian Encyclopedia) estimated 4,900 Bahá'ís in Italy in 2005. In 2004, there were about 5,000 Bahá'ís in the United Kingdom.
The vast majority of theist Europeans describe themselves as Christians, divided into a large number of denominations. Christian denominations are usually classed in three categories: Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism (a diverse group including Lutheranism-Zwinglianism, Calvinism-Presbyterianism, and Anglicanism as well as numerous minor denominations, including Baptism, Methodism, Evangelicalism, Pentecostalism, etc.).
Throughout most of its history, Europe has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture, The Christian culture was the predominant force in western civilization, guiding the course of philosophy, art, and science.
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Roman Catholicism is the largest denomination with adherents mostly existing in Latin Europe (which includes France, Italy, Spain, Southern [Wallon] Belgium, Portugal and, Romania), Ireland, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Western Ukraine, and the Czech Republic, but also the southern parts of Germanic Europe (which includes Austria, Luxembourg, Northern [Flemish] Belgium, Southern and Western Germany, and Liechtenstein).
- Eastern Orthodoxy (the churches are in full communion, i.e. the national churches are united in theological concept and part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Eastern Orthodox Church)
- Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
- Russian Orthodox Church
- Serbian Orthodox Church
- Romanian Orthodox Church
- Church of Greece
- Bulgarian Orthodox Church
- Georgian Orthodox Church
- Cypriot Orthodox Church
- Albanian Orthodox Church
- Polish Orthodox Church
- Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia
- Turkish Orthodox Church (unrecognized by other Orthodox churches/schismatic)
- Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric (unrecognized by other Orthodox churches/schismatic)
- Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchate (unrecognized by other Orthodox churches/schismatic)
- Montenegrin Orthodox Church (unrecognized by other Orthodox churches/schismatic)
- Protestantism (see list of Reformed churches, Porvoo Communion)
- Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church
- Danish National Church
- Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
- Evangelical Lutheran Church—Synod of France and Belgium
- Evangelical Church in Germany
- Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Hungary
- Church of Sweden
- Swiss Reformed Church
There are numerous minor Protestant movements, including various Evangelical congregations.
Islam came to parts of European islands and coasts on the Mediterranean during the 8th century Muslim conquests. In the Iberian Peninsula and parts of southern France, various Muslim states existed before the Reconquista; Islam spread in southern Italy briefly through the Emirate of Sicily and Emirate of Bari. During the Ottoman expansion, Islam was spread into the Balkans and even part of central Europe. Muslim have also been historically present in modern-day Russia, beginning with Volga Bulgaria in the 10th century and the conversion of the Golden Horde to Islam. In recent years, Muslims have migrated to Europe as residents and temporary workers.
Muslims make up over 98% of the population in Turkey, 90% in Kosovo, 40% in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 70% in Albania, 33% in Macedonia, 19,11% in Montenegro, between 10 and 15% in Russia, 9% in France, 8% in Bulgaria, 6% in the Netherlands, 5% in Denmark, just over 4% in Switzerland and Austria, between 3 and 4% in Greece and almost 3% in the United Kingdom. And over 1% of Italy.
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 Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany decimated Jewish population, and today, France is the home of largest Jewish community in Europe with 1% of the total population. Other European countries with notable Jewish populations include Germany, the United Kingdom, and Russia.
During the Enlightenment, Deism became influential especially in England and France. Biblical concepts were challenged by concepts such as a heleocentric universe and other scientific challenges to the Bible. Notable early deists include Voltaire.
The trend towards secularism during the 20th century has a number of reasons, depending on the individual country:
- France has been traditionally laicist since the French Revolution. However, since the French state does not collect any statistics on religiosity, there are no official figures on the recent development of religious demographics.
- Much of Eastern Europe was secularized as a matter of state doctrine under Communist rule. Albania was an officially (and constitutionally binding) atheist state from 1967 to 1991. The countries where the fewest people reported a religious belief were the Czech Republic (19%, traditionally Catholic) and Estonia (16%, traditionally Lutheran). Other post-communist countries, however, have seen the opposite effect, with religion being very important in countries such as Romania and Poland.
- The traditionally Protestant countries have seen a general decrease in church attendance since the 1970s. This concerns Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.
The trend towards secularism has been less pronounced in traditionally Catholic countries. Greece as the only traditionally Eastern Orthodox country in Europe which has not been part of the communist Eastern Bloc also retains a very high religiosity, with in excess of 95% of Greeks adhering to the Greek Orthodox Church. The trend is also visible in the decrease of the importance of marriage: in 2011, 39.5% of births in the European Union were outside of marriage. Several countries in Europe recorded a majority of births outside of marriage in 2011 - these include Iceland (65.0%), Estonia (59.7%), Slovenia (56.8%), Bulgaria (56.1%), France (55.8%), Norway (55.0%), Sweden (54.3%). These countries tend to be less religious ones (less than half of the population believing in God) whereas half of the European population believes in God.
According to Pew Research Center survey in 2012 religiously unaffiliated (include agnostic and atheist) make up about 18.2% of Europeans population. according to the same survey religiously unaffiliated make up a majority of the population only in two European countries: Czech Republic (75%) and Estonia (60%).
During the late 20th and early 21st centuries, atheism or agnosticism has increased, with falling church attendance and membership in various European countries. The 2010 eurobarometer poll found that on total average, of the EU27 population, 51% "believe in a God", 26% believe in "some sort of spirit or life force" and 20% had neither of these forms of belief. Across the EU, belief was higher among women, increased with age, those with strict upbringing, those with the lowest levels of formal education and those leaning towards right-wing politics.:10-11
A 2010 Eurostat Eurobarometer poll, revealed that 51% of European Union citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", whereas 26% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 20% that "they do not believe there is a spirit, God, nor life force". Results were varied widely between different countries, on the one end 94% of Maltese respondents stating that they believe in God and on the other end only 16% of the people of Czech Republic stating the same.
Wicca (English pronunciation: //) is a modern pagan religion. Developed in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a retired British civil servant named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft", and its adherents "the Wica".[non-primary source needed] From the 1960s onward, the name of the religion was normalised to "Wicca".
Dharmic religions 
Hinduism mainly among Indian immigrants. Growing rapidly in recent years, notably in the United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands. In 1998, there were an estimated 1.4 million Hindu adherents in Europe.
Sikhism has nearly 1 million adherents in Europe. Most of the community live in United Kingdom (750,000) and Italy (70,000). Around 10,000 in Belgium and France. Netherlands and Germany have a Sikh population of 12,000. All other countries have 5,000 or fewer Sikhs.
Other religions 
Other religions represented in Europe includes:
- Beliefs of the Romani people
- Unitarian Universalism
Official religions 
A number of countries in Europe have official religions, including Liechtenstein, Monaco, the Vatican City (Catholic); Greece (Eastern Orthodox); Denmark, Iceland and the United Kingdom (England alone) (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 Church enjoys de facto privileged status. Much the same applies in Germany with the Evangelical Church and the Roman Catholic Church, the Old Catholic Church, and the Jewish community. In Finland, both the Finnish Orthodox Church and the Lutheran Church are official. England, a part of the United Kingdom, has Anglicanism as its official religion. Scotland, another part of the UK, has Presbyterianism as its national church, but it is no longer "official". In Sweden, the national church used to be Lutheranism, but it is no longer "official" since 2000. Azerbaijan, France, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain and Turkey are officially "secular".
Rastafari, communities in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and elsewhere. Traditional African Religions (including Muti), mainly in the United Kingdom and France, including West African Vodun and Haitian Vodou (Voodoo), mainly among West African and black Caribbean immigrants in the UK and France.
See also 
- "Special Eurobarometer, biotechnology, page 204" (PDF). Fieldwork: Jan-Feb 2010.
- Christianity in Europe → 46% Catholics of all 76.2% Christians is about 35% in total, 35% Orthodox of all is about 26.7% in total and 18% Protestants (other traditional Christians) of all is about 13.7% in total.
- The 2005 Eurostat Eurobarometer poll states 18% of irreligious.
- http://www.pewforum.org/uploadedfiles/Topics/Demographics/Muslimpopulation.pdf Islam in Europe states 3.2% Muslims in European Union, but non-European Union countries harbour even more Muslims so percents go to about 5.2%.
- Henkel, Reinhard; Knippenberg, Hans (2005). Knippenberg, ed. The Changing Religious Landscape of Europe. Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis. pp. 7–9. ISBN 9-055-89248-3.
- Church attendance faces decline almost everywhere retrieved 3 July 2011
- (Swedish) Svenska Kyrkan Statistiek pagina Medlemmar 1972-2008 excel file
- Eurobarometer Poll 2005
- Gallup Poll
- Census 2011
- "Tot mai mulți români „s-au lepădat” de Dumnezeu. HARTA ATEILOR din România Citiţi mai mult: Tot mai mulți români „s-au lepădat” de Dumnezeu. HARTA ATEILOR din România - Social > EVZ.ro http://www.evz.ro/detalii/stiri/tot-mai-multi-romani-s-au-lepadat-de-dumnezeu-harta-ateilor-din-romania-1014215.html#ixzz2PUnVRlWg EVZ.ro". December 04, 2012. Retrieved April 04, 2013.
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- Religiously Unaffiliated
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