Some British Christians seem to imply that the UK’s Christian heritage will be undermined by remaining in the EU. It would be naïve to ignore the fact that the political leadership of the EU, like all political leadership might go wrong, or become undemocratic. But it is not true to say that the EU is less Christian than the UK. In the following statistics many of those claiming to be Christian may, of course, not be practising. Nevertheless the comparison of percentages in the various countries is useful in answering the question “Is the UK more Christian than the rest of Europe?”

 

According to the 2011 Pew Forum, the percentage of people calling themselves Christians in a number of other countries is greater than in the UK. The UK had 72.6%. Italy had 85.1%, Spain 78.6%, Greece 89.5%, Ukraine 83.8%, Poland 94.3% and Romania 99.5%. Other countries included Germany with 70.8% and France with 63%.[i]

 

A 2012 Eurobarometer Poll found that 72% of EU population call themselves Christians.

 

A 2010 Eurobarometer Poll found the following percentages of population don’t believe there is “any sort of spirit, God or life force”

Greece 4%

Poland 5%

Italy 6%

Austria 12%

Portugal 12%

Spain 19%

Denmark 24%

UK 25%

Germany 27%

Netherlands 30%

Sweden 34%

France 40%.

 

Some British Christians point to the rich Christian tradition of the UK but don’t seem to realise that other EU countries also have state churches.

 

England has an established state Christian Church, the Church of England, of which the Queen is the supreme governor on earth and similarly Scotland has the Church of Scotland. But the following EU countries also have state churches:

Armenia (Orthodox)

Denmark (Lutheran)

Finland (Lutheran and Orthodox)

Greece (Orthodox)

Greenland (Lutheran)

Iceland (Lutheran)

Liechtenstein (Catholic)

Malta (Catholic)

Monaco (Catholic)

Switzerland (Catholic and Protestant according to canton)

Vatican City (Catholic)

 

Norway had a state church until 2012 but the monarch must still be a Lutheran. Sweden ceased to have a state church in 2000. The Spanish state church was disestablished in 1978. Austria has no state church but regards the church and state as partners.[ii] Germany and Italy have no state church. France and Belgium are secular.

 

The issue isn’t whether the UK is more Christian than the EU but rather that the whole of Europe needs an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Revival.

 

[i] Global Christianity – A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population, Dec 2011. See http://www.pewforum.org/2011/12/19/global-christianity-regions/

[ii] http://www.austria.org/religion/

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