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Survey: No Great Changes in Finnish Religious Attitudes

No great changes have taken place in religious attitudes and practices in Finland in the past quarter of a century. According to the World Values 2005 survey, Finnish values have changed in a more individual-oriented direction. The study found that nearly two thirds of people identify themselves religious, just over one third as non-religious, and three percent as committed atheists. Nearly half of Finns believe in one God, and nearly one third in some kind of spirit or life force. Only seven percent do not believe in the existence of any God, spirit, or life force. Compared with rest of the 80 countries taking part in the World Values study, Finns rank below the average in their religiosity. Of the countries surveyed, Iraq is the most religious; nearly every Iraqi considered religion to be 'very important'. The biggest change to have taken place in Finland was in participation in religious events. Only 14 percent said that they took part in religious observances at least once a month. Values More Individualistic The survey also revealed that Finnish values put a greater emphasis on the personal than before. Of all values, health was seen as most important by 43 per cent of respondents. Of all sectors of life, family and friendships were the most important. Nine out of ten Finns saw the family as a very important part of life. Friends were seen as very important by two out of three Finns. Confidence in the key social institutions remains strong. Finns place their greatest trust in the police, the Defence Forces, and the courts. The Lutheran Church was the fourth-most trusted institution, along with the UN and the national government. The 63 percent ranking of the national church was the highest in a quarter of a century.

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