A Norwegian church’s attempt to improve religious tracking and update records of members via a website launch majorly backfired.
After only 24 hours of the site becoming active, nearly 11,000 people deregistered from the church. Now nearly a month later, the church has lost around 26,000 members, with the numbers increasing rapidly.
In contrast, only around 2,000 people have used the site to sign up as part of the church.
A recent survey questioned around 4,000 Norwegians about their belief in God. When asked, "Do you believe in God?" almost 39 percent of the people replied “no” while 37 percent gave a positive answer. The remaining 23 percent said they “didn’t know.”
Polls have repeatedly showed that a large number of Norway locals do not believe in a higher power. Even among people who are actually are part of a church or religious group, a significant number of them are inactive members.
Most Norwegians identify as evangelical Lutherans, a branch of Protestant Christianity that stems from theology of Martin Luther.
“We were prepared for a significant number of resignations and have great respect for the individual's choice,” said Helga Haugland Byfuglien, the leading bishop of the Norwegian churches Episcopal forum.
She also proposed that “the number of withdrawals must be seen in relation to the large number of members of the Norwegian Church.”
Research shows that with the increasing popularity of science and more information about evolution coming to light, a large number of people are moving toward atheism. Even many people who associate with a particular religion do so because of societal pressures or because it is considered the “right thing to do” more than anything else.