[dropcap]R[/dropcap]EYKJAVIK, ICELAND – No young Icelanders believe that God created the Earth, according to a recent survey.
Nearly 90 per cent of all Icelanders were religious believers only 20 years ago. Today, less than 50 per cent are.
With its growing number of nonbelievers, Iceland is distinct from much of the rest of the world, a Gallup International and WI Network of Market Research poll found.
In fact, internationally, those younger than 34 tended to be more religious than older citizens – especially in Africa and the Middle East, where eight out of 10 people consider themselves to be religious.
“Secularisation in Iceland has occurred very quickly, especially among younger people,” said Bjarni Jonsson, the managing director of the Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association, an atheist nongovernmental organisation.
“With increased education and broad-mindedness, change can occur quickly,” he added.
Solveig Anna Boasdottir, a professor at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Iceland, agreed that scientific progress had changed religious attitudes in the country.
However, she said that about 40 per cent of the country’s younger generation still consider themselves Christian – although none of them believe God created the Earth.