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Le paysage religieux de la Suède

Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland have historically formed a Protestant Nordic Region. Since the time of the Reformation, the Lutheran national church has been dominant in Sweden, counting the vast majority of the population as members. Alongside other European countries, Sweden has passed through a process of secularisation by which the state as well as the individual has liberated themselves from the former power of the Church. Sweden is often referred to as one of the most secularised countries in the world as regards regular participation in worship and belief in traditional church teaching (Zuckerman 2008). However, the Swedish religious situation is complex, most clearly highlighted by the prevailing high level of membership of the Church of Sweden, and the relatively high level of participation in religious life rites in the context of the majority church (See section “Social and religious data – Principal religions and denominations – The Church of Sweden”).

This complexity of high levels of secularisation in some respects and at the same time high levels of religious affiliation in other respects is similar to the situation in the other Nordic countries and is sometimes called a Nordic Paradox (Bäckström, Edgardh and Pettersson 2004). But the Swedish religious landscape is slowly changing due to high levels of immigration during the last twenty years. Today more than 22% of the Swedish population is born abroad or are children with both parents born abroad. Religion migrates along with people and especially the increasing presence of Muslims change the religious scene. In the suburbs of major cities the situation is quite different from the general national situation, and cannot be regarded as secularised in the same way. Here the presence of other religions as well as other Christian denominations shows that Sweden is part of a global world of diverse religions and cultures (Andersson and Sander 2005). So the image one gets of religion in Sweden today depends on the researcher’s choice of indicators as well as the choice of geographical area. However, more than fifteen years after the separation between Church and state in year 2000, the Church of Sweden still retains a dominant role on the Swedish religious scene.

D 9 mars 2016    APer Pettersson

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