Germany and religion

Parent Category: ROOT Published: Monday, 15 March 2021
Germany flag

Religion in Germany

 

Germany has experienced more than 1300 years of Christianity and it is still the dominant religion in this country.

However, the number of the German population that is practicing Christianity decline with every passing year. Given the rich and long history that German people had with Christianity, it is still present in their cultural heritage.

 

Demographics of religion

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Around 36% of the German population is not religious. From the rest of the population, most have adopted Christianity. Christianity is the most widespread religion in the whole of Europe.

The second-largest religion is Islam, and only a small part of religious groups in Germany include Judaism.

 

Christianity in Germany

Christianity is the most widespread religion in Germany. 54 percent of the German population have adopted Christianity as their religion.

This number is mostly split between the Catholic Church and the Evangelical Church. Around 28% of those who believe Christianity belongs to the first religious group and 26% belong to the second group.

In the country, the Orthodox Church constitutes around 2 percent of the German population. The rest of the minority churches in Christianity form around 1 percent of all Christians in Germany.

 

Minority religions in Germany

Apart from Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism are the most common minority religious groups in Germany.

The second-largest religion In Germany is Islam. Around 5% of the whole German population is Islam. And almost all of these people have a full or partial foreign background.

Most Muslims in Germany are Turkish, Kurdish, Iranian, Palestinian, or Bosnian. They are organized in decentralized organizations all over German territory.

The third-largest religious group in Germany is Buddhists. Around 270’000 Buddhists live here.

In contrast, only around 0,1% of people in Germany have adopted Judaism.

Nowadays, there are about 100’000 members of Judaism in Germany. Before the anti-Semitic Nazi regime got rid of most of the Jews, Germany had over 600’000 Jews.

 

Non-religious people in Germany

The religious demographics in Germany vary largely depending on regions and age. Younger people seem to be less engaged with any religion.

For example, in a study that was done in 2006, it was revealed that 28 percent of Germans younger than 25 years admitted not believing in any religion.

The majority of the population in major cities like Berlin or Hamburg also admit to being non-believers. In contrast, around 60 – 80 percent of the population in rural regions are religious people.

 

History of religion

Due to the historical events, one can find regions throughout the whole of Germany where specific religious denominations have formed.

During the Protestant Reformation initiated by Martin Luther in 1517, German Christians were divided between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

The locally adopted branch of Christianity was based on the preferences of local rulers. Therefore, many areas in the South and West have become Roman Catholic. On the other hand, regions in the North or East are mostly Protestant.

Protestants were mostly brought to Germany after the population movement begun following the Second World War.

Judaism holds a long history in Germany. Jews have been living in Germany since 321 AD. For more than one millennium, the two nations of Germans and Jews were living together relatively peacefully. Once the religiously motivated persecution began, Judaism in Germany became overshadowed by the Holocaust.

In contrast to Judaism, Islam was introduced in Germany only recently. This happened when the foreign workers and refugees migrated to Germany after World War Two.

 

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Influence of religion

With the religion statistics in Germany, you might think that Germany is a highly religious country. However, every year the number of people who actually attend religion-related activities are rapidly declining.

For example, Christianity is seemingly losing its influence over German society. Only under 10 percent of Christians go to church on a regular basis.

However, looking at the tax revenue it becomes obvious that major Catholic Churches in Germany still holds a wealth of influence despite the decline in attendance.

In 2016, the Catholic Church paid a record-breaking 6.1 billion Euros in church tax.

Today you can tell that Christianity is hard-wired into the German culture and society. The influence of the church is hard to miss. Public holidays are often based on catholic and Protestant beliefs.

Even more, many church representatives hold seats on supervisory boards across many influential organizations. This makes Christianity the most influential religion in Germany and many other countries as well.

 

Overview of religion in Germany

Overall religion in Germany is dominated by those who have committed to Christianity. Only a small part of the whole German population belongs to Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism. These four religions are the most common in Germany.

Even though a major part of the population is religious, the number of people practicing it regularly decreases.

This means that in the future, there might be a decrease in the influence of religion over society. However, today Christianity holds significant power over the German people.