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Religion in Norway. NORINT 0500 Norwegian life and society 18.02.2013 Anne Hege Grung. In this lecture:. Religion in Norway in a historical perspective: State and Church Religion in contemporary Norway: Religious pluralism, inter-religious interaction and current developments.

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religion in norway

Religion in Norway

NORINT 0500 Norwegianlife and society


Anne Hege Grung

in this lecture
In this lecture:
  • Religion in Norway in a historical perspective: State and Church
  • Religion in contemporary Norway: Religious pluralism, inter-religious interaction and current developments
the king and queen appointed by the presiding bishop of the church of norway 1991
The king and queenappointed by thepresidingBishopoftheChurchofNorway (1991)
the church of norway
The Church of Norway
  • From the Norwegian constitution:

Original §2: ”Den evangelisk-lutherske tro forbliver statens offisielle religion. De Innvaanere som bekjenner seg til den forplikter aa oppdra deres barn i samme.”


Revised §2: "Værdigrundlaget forbliver vor kristne og humanistiske Arv. Denne Grundlov skal sikre Demokrati, Retsstat og Menneskrettighederne." § 16: "Alle indvaanere af Riget have fri Religionsøvelse. Den norske Kirke, en evangelisk-luthersk kirke, forbliver Norges Folkekirke og understøttes som saadan af Staten. Nærmere Bestemmelser om dens Ordning fastsættes ved Lov. Alle Tros- og Livssynssamfund skal understøttes paa lige Linje."

norwegian legislation on religion and religious freedom
Norwegianlegislationon religion and religiousfreedom:
  • 1814: The ChurchofNorway a statechurch, Lutheranismofficial religion
  • Jews and Jesuitswere ’not allowed’ to enterNorway (changed for Jews in 1851, for Jesuits in 1956).
  • 1842: ”Konventikkelplakaten” (1741) dismissed – it becameallowed for religiousgatherings and meetingsbeyonttheclergy’scontrol
  • 1845: Allowed for other Christian denominations to establishthemselves in Norway

1969: ”Lov om trudomssamfunn og ymist anna” established full freedom of religion in Norway, including

- The right to establish faith and life-stance communities, the right to convert (after the age of 15), the right to organize meetings and gatherings and to free speech

2013 suggestions for a new profile in official policy towards faith and life stance communities
2013: Suggestions for a newprofile in official policy towardsfaith- and life-stancecommunities
  • A committeestablished by thegovernment suggests:
  • Thatgovernmentalfinancial support of all registeredfaith and life-stancecommunitiescontinue
  • Thatreligiouslybasedsymbols is allowed in thepoliceforce and for judges in court (turban, hijab)
  • That all marriagesshould be conducted in a civil manner beforereligiousmarriageceremonies (voluntary)
in the constitution
In theconstitution:
  • Suggestions to replace ’kristne og humanistiske verdier’ (’Christian and Humanist values’) with a more neutralvaluequalification
  • Or to mentionotherreligioustraditionsexplicitly (Islam, Judaism, Buddhism etc.)
  • The labour party (Arbeiderpartiet) has just statedthattheexistingformulationshould be ’protected’ (Helga Pedersen, Vårt Land 12 February)
religion in norway statistics
Religion in Norway - statistics
  • Basedonmembershipnumbers

ChurchofNorway: 3,83 mill/78% (2011)

  • In 1998: 94% (In Oslo: 64,7% (2009))

Other Christian denominations: 289 000 (2012)

Islamicfaithcommunities: 112 000 (2012)

  • In 1990: 19 000

Buddhism15 000, Hinduism 5 600, Baha’i 1000, Judaism115*, Sikhism1 100 (2012)

in English:

*The previousyear it was 819

the religious plural norway
The religious plural Norway
  • Emerged from the mid 1980’s
  • Caused primarily, but not only by (work) immigration
  • Norway as part of a broader European religious and cultural pluralization process

The Council for Religious and Life Stance Communities

The Council for Religious and Life Stance Communities in Norway was established on the 30th of May 1996. The goals of the Council for Religious and Life Stance Communities are defined in the statutes:

To promote mutual understanding and respect between different religious and life stance communities through dialogue;

To work towards equality between various religious and life stance communities in Norway based on the United Nations covenants on Human Rights and on the European Convention on Human Rights;

To work, internally and externally, with social and ethical issues from the perspective of religions and life stances.

member communities
Member communities:
  • The Bahá’í Community of Norway
  • The Buddhist Community of Norway
  • The Catholic Church in Norway
  • The Christian Community
  • Christian Council of Norway
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons)
  • The Church of Norway
  • Gurwara Sri Nanak Dev Ji (Sikhs)
  • The Holistic Community
  • The Islamic Council of Norway
  • The Jewish Communities in Norway
  • The Norwegian Humanist Association
  • Norwegian Hindu Culture Centre
  • Sanatan Mandir Sabha, Norway (Hindu)
pluralism secularity and dialogue
Pluralism, secularity - and dialogue?
  • Howsecular is theNorwegiansociety?
  • And – canNorway be categorized as a religiously plural society?
  • Understandingpublicspace as secular – access for all, onequalfooting, withconversationsusingcommon/sharedlanguage and arguments? (Cf. O. Leirvik: ”Religionsdialog, sekularitet og eit felles forpliktande språk” (Interreligiousdialogue, secularity, and a sharedlanguageofcommittment) (Bangstad, Leirvik, Plesner:2012)
current developments
Current developments:
  • Secularization
  • Pluralization
  • Polarization and dialogue – identity politics vs. shared community values
  • Religious affiliation as an identity marker in Norway today?
  • Being a Lutheran Christian and a Norwegian is not equivalent anymore