Netherlands homes more atheists than believers, according to Ipsos

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|(Photo: Michiel Verbeek)

There are more atheists than believers now in the Netherlands for the first time in recent history, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos.

According to the NL Times, around 25 per cent of the population are atheists while only 17 per cent still believe in the existence of God. However, the majority of the people – a substantial 60 per cent – are on the fence with it comes to faith.

They are torn between believing and not believing in God, and they consider themselves as either agnostics or “something-ists.”

Around 53 per cent of the respondents in the Ipsos survey, however, still believe in life after death while over 40 per cent consider themselves to be “spiritual persons”.

A different study conducted by the Social and Cultural Planning Office (SCP) also revealed that belief in God is waning among Netherlanders. However, during the last survey it conducted in 2012, there were still more believers than non-believers.

Pyschologist Joke van Saane attributed the further decrease of faith in God to modern beliefs and man’s selfishness, and technological developments having an impact on traditional patterns of belief.

“It used to be that your village, your family or your church determined who you are,” she told Trouw. “Now you can be someone on Facebook without traditional links.”

What surprised researchers was the fact that there were more believers among the young than the elderly, something Van Saane said was probably to do with younger people desperately seeking for spiritual guidance or something to hold on to.

Researchers said it was too early to draw conclusions from the poll and that further research needed to be done.

A 2012 poll if 51,000 people across 57 countries found that atheism as a self-description was growing the fastest in Asian and European countries, although it noted that the total number of atheists had grown globally by almost 10 per cent.

Most of the world’s population, however, still considers itself religious – 59 per cent.

“There is a notable decline across the globe in self-description of being religious,” the researchers behind the RedC Opinion Poll said at the time.

Source: Christian Today

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