From Iceland — Church Membership Taking A Dive, Pagans Increasing

Church Membership Taking A Dive, Pagans Increasing

Published March 25, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Church membership has declined by about 10% since 2009, but registered pagans are on the rise.

Vísir reports that Statistics Iceland has released some new figures on Icelanders and their registration in various religious organisations.

According to their data, membership in Muslim organisations changed very little between this year and the last. During this time, nine people left the Muslim Society of Iceland, and they now number 475 registered members. At the same time, one person joined the Islamic Cultural Centre of Iceland, and they now have 390 registered members.

A much larger decrease in registration was found at the National Church. 71.6% of Icelanders are registered in the organisation, but this is down from about 80% in 2009. In fact, between 2011 and 2015 alone, some 4,500 Icelanders left the church.

Paganism, by contrast, has seen an increase in numbers. Registered members of the Zuists have increased by over 3,000 over the past year. The faith professes worship of the ancient Sumerian gods, but also promises to refund government religious subsidies to its members. At the same time, members of the Ásatrú Society – which follows the rites and ethics of the Old Norse gods – have also increased, by over 500 members.

Icelanders decidedly outside of any religious organisation also increased, by over 700 between the years. About 6% of the nation are now not affiliated with any religious organisation.

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