From Iceland — Lutheran Minister Questions Poll's Results

Lutheran Minister Questions Poll’s Results

Published January 17, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Jonathunder/Wikimedia Commons

A minister has put forward that it is a false dilemma to choose between the Big Bang or God creating the universe.

Rev. Þórhallur Heimisson said in a sermon he gave today at Breiðholtskirkja church that the results of the newest poll from the Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association (Siðmennt) does not necessarily indicate Icelanders are leaving Christianity or the church, RÚV reports. In fact, he said, one of the key questions of the poll presented a false dilemma.

In reference to a question about the origin of the universe, which asked, “How do you believe the world was created?”, respondents were given a choice between the Big Bang, that God created the universe, that something else entirely was responsible, or that the respondent has no opinion. Þórhallur said the question is confusing, because he personally believes in both the Big Bang and that God created the universe; that God initiated the universe through the explosive creation of matter.

He added furthermore that believing God created the universe is not the same as taking the Old Testament literally by believing, for example, that the world was created in six days, or that the planet is only a few thousand years old.

As famously noted, one result of the poll showed that no Icelanders under the age of 25 believe God created the universe. This result he did not dispute, but lamented that it is a sign that the education about Christianity that ministers give children about to receive confirmation (usually around the age of 13) is not sinking in and is not speaking to them. For this, he apologised to the young people in attendance.

The results of the poll, revealed at a conference hosted by Siðmennt last Wednesday, show that the majority of Icelanders do not consider themselves religious. Only 46% said they believed in some kind of religion, which is the lowest percentage since polling on the subject began. 30% said they were not religious, and 23.7% said they could not say if they were religious or not.

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