The religious landscape has changed during the past thirty years in the Nordic countries. Immigration from Western and non-Western countries and the decline in membership in the national churches are some of the major factors that have resulted in profound religious changes.
First of all, it is of great significance to map the changes in religious diversity that have taken place in the Nordic countries during the period of study.
These faith communities and worldview associations operate at the level of civil society in their everyday activities. It is, therefore, important to analyze the relationship various majority and minority faith communities, as well as worldview associations, have to society in general and to each other. To what degree do they contribute to building bridges to others (bridging social capital), and to what degree do they contribute to isolation (bonding social capital)? More specifically, we would like to see how these communities look at society and important social issues. How do they view each other? How do they view their own role in society? Do they engage in activities with other communities? In this area, we will study majority churches, churches outside the majority churches, and immigrant religious communities (Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, etc.).
Some of the indicators that will be studied the respective years 1988, 1998, and 2008 are:
Mapping the religious landscape
Give an overview of the general situation.
The membership in registered faith and worldview communities, 1988-2008
Describe the changes that are taking place within the majority churches
The participation in rites of passage in the majority churches. 1988-2008
Defections from the majority churches during two periods: 1988-1997, 1998-2007
Map the religious diversity.
Number of registered faith communities in each country since 1980s.
Registered Christian faith communities outside the majority churches. 1998-2008
Registered faith communities outside Christianity
Describe alternative spirituality and new religious movements in each country
Overview of New age magazines subscribers
Alternative spiritual organizations
Alternative spiritual businesses
Give an overview of the interfaith organizations that are formed during 1988-2008
Views on relations between majority/minority faith and worldview communities
Top-level statements made in public or in various documents published by these communities for the three selected years, 1988, 1998, 2008. Some of the issues included are:
Gender and sexual equality
Other faith communities
Their social and political role
Views on relations between majority/minority faith and worldview communities among the national elites of these communities (including holistic spirituality if possible)
Lars AHLIN (Denmark)
Inger FURSETH (Norway)
Kimmo KETOLA (Finland)
Annette LEIS-PETERS (Sweden)
Bjarni Randver SIGURVINSSON (Iceland)
Pål REPSTAD (Norway)
KIFO, INSTITUTT FOR KIRKE-, RELIGIONS- OG LIVSSYNSFORSKNING
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