What percentage of Christians share their faith

On the occasion of Easter, SPIEGEL conducted a survey to clarify how things are in Germany with beliefs. Particular interest was given to information about the faith of church members in the core content of the Christian religion. The results show that the religious worldview of the church members only partially coincides with the ideas of the clergy. The ideas of an immortal soul, life after death, the existence of angels, devils and hell are not a majority. *

The generally asked question “Do you believe in a God?” Traditionally has the majority answer “Yes”. However, this majority has decreased since 2005 (66 percent “yes”) to 55 percent in 2019.

The majority in West Germany, which was 86 percent in 1989, has also decreased to 63 percent. However, it is (2019) also a quarter of Catholics and a third of Evangelicals who do not answer the question about “a God” with “yes”. The fact that 20 percent of non-church members who are viewed as “non-denominational” also believe in a God will be due to the unspecific nature of the general question.

In terms of party preferences, two thirds of the CDU / CSU supporters profess a god, while there is no majority for a god among the SPD supporters. (The other party preferences are only to be seen with the reservation of the small number of cases.)

If one expands the question of further "supernatural" elements in Christian doctrine, the overall belief in "miracles" is more pronounced than in a god. Two thirds of Germans (66 percent) are of the opinion that miracles exist, while only a good half (55 percent) believe in a god.

While the majority of church members said they believe in miracles and a god are equal, it is the non-denominational people who, with a high proportion of miracle believers (51 percent), bring this point of view to 'the top'.

The idea of ​​an immortal soul finds a narrow majority overall (46 percent), also among church members, just as the idea of ​​life after death only has a narrow majority among Catholics (53 percent). All other ideas (angel, devil, hell) are seen as a whole, no longer socially acceptable for a majority.

If one concentrates the clarification of the connection with the teachings of the churches on the persons who have professed to believe in a God, around a quarter of Catholics and Protestants no longer believe in the triune God of the Bible, as do more than a third of them Church members disagree that Jesus was God and man in one person.

Core elements of the Christian doctrine of the faith are also not generally recognized. 61 percent of Catholics and 58 percent of Evangelicals believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. And the idea that God created everything there is is still shared by 47 percent of Catholics and 49 percent of Evangelicals.

The certainty of life after death is no longer believed by the majority, both in the West (52 percent) and in the East (71 percent). Especially the elders of the 65-year-olds-and-older have no faith in it (66 percent), as do large parts of the church members.

The situation is very different when it comes to believing in miracles, since a total of two thirds of Germans confirm that miracles exist. The differences between East and West are just as slight as the differences between the age groups and the members of the two Christian denominations. Above-average approval ratings (more than 70 percent) are expressed by women, Catholics and CDU / CSU supporters.

A look at the denominations suggests that the proportion of church members is too high, which suggests that the proportion of the younger age group is also too low. If this is the case, the proportion of 18-39 year-olds would be more distant. For this age group, the Social Science Institute of the EKD published the study “What defines my life” on the worlds of life and beliefs of young adults in Germany in 2018. One of the conclusions of the study director about the 19-27-year-olds is: “It is a - perhaps the first - really post-Christian generation. God has largely disappeared. ”In this respect, the distance would appear even stronger overall.

What is remarkable about the SPIEGEL survey is that the proportion of women and men for the non-denominational is in the same range (33 and 30 percent), as is the proportion of non-denominational (32 percent) among people with an SPD- Party preference.

Conclusion

The survey clearly shows once again how very traditional, Christian beliefs are no longer shared by church members. This gap has been known for a long time, and it shows once again that in Germany there are considerable discrepancies between formal religious membership and personal belief. In this respect, this study is a further confirmation of the IfW survey from March 2019 "Religion and Alienation in Germany" and the SINUS study on "Catholics and Church Membership 2018", in which around 40 percent of Catholics are presented as alienated from their religion and church.

(CF)

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* FoWiD thanks SPIEGEL for kindly sending the survey results.