Enshrined in Sweden’s constitution is the right to religious freedom. This is a right which is observed at all levels of national operations in Swedish society in order to provide Swedish citizens with comfortable and fair environments in which to practice their respective religious beliefs. The major religion in Sweden today remains the Church of Sweden, with 63.2% of the population adhering. However, irreligion is also on the rise in the country.
Over the years, the freedom of worship has evolved considerably to catch up with the ever-changing religious landscape in the country. The worship of pagan gods was practiced in the early 11th Century before the introduction of the Christian faith through the Roman Catholic Church. Gusta Vasa, the King in the year 1530, proclaimed that the Lutheran Church would be the recognized state religion, which heightened the level of religious intolerance in Sweden. The diverse religious groups in Sweden have brought about the incorporation of other practices in the Christian faith, as evidenced in the Christian holidays where other religious traditions are welcome in the society
Major Religions in Sweden
Church of Sweden - 63.2%
With a population of more than 6 million members, the Lutheran Church of Sweden prides itself on being among the three largest churches in the world. In more recent times between the years 2005 and 2015, the church has suffered a significant loss of more than 730,000 church members, which accounted for 11% of the entire church population. To counter this high number of loss, the Lutheran church has tried to alter some of their core beliefs on issues to make them more progressive.
Unaffiliated - 28.4%
Across the whole world, one of the countries where it is most acceptable for one to be practice atheism is Sweden due to the high level of acceptance there for those who profess a lack of belief in established religious systems. Fueling this trend is the general thinking in the Swedish society that religion only exists for ceremonial roles. The opening of a purely atheist cemetery was done to cater for the growing numbers of atheist in the country. The unaffiliated account for 28.4% of the total population in the country.
Other Protestant - 3.8%
In Sweden, Christians who do not belong to the Church of Sweden and are not Catholic account for 3.8% of the population. These include evangelical churches, Calvinist, and Pentecostal denominations among others.
Islam - 1.4%
Muslim Swedes make up around 1.4% of the population. This number has grown slightly over recent years due to an increase in immigration.
Departure from Fundamental Lutheran Beliefs in Swedish Society Today
Despite Sweden being among the nations with the highest prevalence of atheism, it is a country that is far from an irreligious society. It is evident that most of the liberal Christians in Sweden are creating gray areas in their religious practices, and openly adapting to the secularized society. All of these alterations are ultimately compromising the original fundamental religious beliefs that were once widely accepted in the predominately Lutheran Sweden of years past.