Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Christianity in Switzerland: Part II

In my previous blog entry, I introduced here the group of 113,000 followers of "Free Christian Communites" as part of Swiss Protestantism.

Question: What is it that made them multiply by a factor of 2.6 x within 30 years?

Let's look at it closer as published in 2005 by a survey of the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (SFSO) called "Religionslandschaft in der Schweiz" (Religious Landscape in Switzerland). Against the trend, the Methodists decreased by 30 percent to leave roughly 8,400 members remaining.

Methodists -- 8,400 Trend: stagnating or declining
Evangelicals -- 31,800 Trend: multiplying (slowing down in the 90ies)*
Pentacostals -- 20,100 Trend: multiplying (slowing down in the 90ies)*
Others -- 52,700 Trend: stagnating *(e.g. Salvation Army, Baptists)
Total -- 113,000 Free Christian communities
Compare 2 400,000 Protestants of "Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche"!
[* These 3 groups were compared with old data from "Operation World" (officially no separate data available from SFSO before year 2000)].

Official answer: (Extract from SFSO conclusions, "Religionslandschaft in der Schweiz")

Today, there is a trend for the faith communities to deteriorate. (They stop monopolizing an entire region). An analysis of the results of the four past census (1970-2000) brings us to the conclusion that the main reason for the change of the religious landscape is of social nature rather than a religious one. Two strongly growing groups seem to offset this general trend.

The boom of Evangelica (and Pentecostal) groups and the Jehovah's Witnesses seems to be due to a change of the religious affiliation. In both cases, members of one of the dominating denominations have turned their backs against their church in order to join a group with a clearer testimony of Christianity.

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