52% of Dutch are non-religious, many raised religiously “interested in modern spirituality”

A report of the Social and Cultural Planning Office shows that only 33% say they believe in God. But “believers experience more meaningfulness than non-believers”.

Evangelical Focus

CNE.news, SCP · AMSTERDAM · 06 APRIL 2022 · 13:30 CET

A church in Amsterdam. / Photo: <a target="_blank" href="https://unsplash.com/@leabalazs">Lea Balazs</a>, Unsplash, CC0.,
A church in Amsterdam. / Photo: Lea Balazs, Unsplash, CC0.

According to a research of the Dutch Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau (Social and Cultural Planning Office, SCP), around 70% of the population in the Netherlands no longer believes in God.

CNE News informed that the Dutch newspaper Nederlands Dagblad reported that the SCP research shows that 52% of the 4000 respondents identify as atheist or agnostic. Another 16% “orientate themselves towards of contemporary spirituality (contemporary spirituals)”, while 33% say they believe in God.

One of the SCP researchers, Willem Huijnk told the Nederlands Dagblad that “people who are interested in modern spirituality often have been raised religiously”, so that “the youngest generation, who has not been raised with religion at all, will, as we expect, sooner become agnostic or atheist”.

Christianity is no longer the influential, social factor and the axis of the personal lives of families as it was before”, points out SCP.


Meaning of life

The report also analyses the philosophy of life and sense of purpose of the different groups. “Believers and contemporary spiritualists experience more meaningfulness than non-believers”, it states.

The SCP explains that “atheists and agnostics often indicate that they are not particularly interested in the meaning  of life. This does not mean that they are less happy, but that instead of searching for the meaning of life, non-believers search for meaning in their own lives”.

“Developing themselves, caring for others, having intense experiences and feeling part of a greater whole, are ways in which they give meaning to their lives” adds the report.

It also warns that “this may lead to a greater mental burden and a possible increase in problems associated with this, such as burn-outs”.


Fighting discrimination

The report concludes encouraging politicians “to focus on mutual understanding and acceptance and to promote a society in which everyone can fully participate. For this, it is important that the government, but also employers take action against discrimination or an unsafe social climate”.

Furthermore, “schools can also be a place where people meet and where pupils learn to deal with opinions and values that are different from their own”, points out SCP.

You can see the full report here (in Dutch).

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