Only 1 week left for the official religion of Norway


Eugene Volokh, who writes the excellent legal blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, is aghast at the notion that some politicians in Norway believe the Lutheran Church should always be part of the Norwegian government.

At issue is Norway’s decision to eliminate the Lutheran Church as the official religion of Norway. The decision takes effect next Friday, the National Post reported last month.

“The Evangelical Lutheran religion will no longer be the state’s official religion,” parliament wrote in a statement, pointing out that the church would receive public financing “on par with other religious and belief-based societies.”

It stressed though that “the Norwegian Church will continue to have a special basis in the constitution and the state will be built upon ‘our Christian and humanistic heritage’.”

The Norwegian Church, which supported the change, counts nearly four million of Norway’s 4.7 million inhabitants as members.

Those numbers might be skewed a little bit, though, because membership in the church is almost automatic:

Traditionally, every citizen of Norway became a member of the Church of Norway upon baptism. 79 percent of Norwegians are registered members, but only about 20 percent make religion a large part of their lives and only two percent attend church regularly, according to 2009 and 2010 data. A 2002 study done by Gustafsson and Pettersson revealed that 72 percent of Norwegians “do not believe in a personal God.”

  • Jim Shapiro

    “Traditionally, every citizen of Norway became a member of the Church of Norway upon baptism.”

    As a recovering catholic, I can empathize with that type of church “membership”. 🙂

    OK, so 98% of Norwegians aren’t church-goers, and 72% are either agnostic or atheist?

    Then how in hell can they by all accounts have the most highly developed socio-economic system in the world?!?


  • Jim Shapiro

    And The Volokh Conspiracy blog is a wet dream for law school dropouts with an information addiction like yours truly. Thanks!

  • andy


    Regarding your first post, I had the exact thoughts.

    Also, I’m a recovering Catholic as well. I’ve been on the wagon for nearly 20 years now.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Andy – One day at a time, friend. Because everyday, you’ll be tempted to return to the comfort of irrational beliefs and the profoundly hypocritical structure that promotes them.

    OK, maybe not. 🙂