Sweden is in the red

It’s fairly well known that Sweden is a pretty secular place. If you’ll click through here you’ll see that four years ago I wrote about a map that showed the countries where the evangelical church is growing. All over the world. There were also a handful of countries where the evangelical church was growing but not quite as fast as the host population (the UK being one of those) and then there were about 4 countries where the evangelical church is declining (and Sweden is one of those). So I wrote about living in the red zone.

Then this week as I was researching a talk I came across another coloured map of the world – this time showing the world’s least religious countries. Take a look.

There aren’t too many countries in red. See the one at the top? That’s Sweden.

The article said this about Sweden:

Sweden’s top spot among the world’s least religious nations is astonishing, as well. The Scandinavian country has increasingly become more secular in recent years and observers have noticed a disconnect between the popularity of religious traditions such as Christmas or Easter and true religious commitment.

I’m not exactly sure why it’s astonishing because Sweden has been an increasingly secular place for a very long time whereas China is becoming more Christian. Globally we need to keep this in perspective: there are ten times as many Christians in China as there are people in Sweden but locally it’s a bit of a downer.

What this means is that in the country where I live and especially the city where I live there is the combination of an strengthening secularism and a declining evangelicalism. This is true of may Western nations but it seems as though Sweden is out in front.


“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” – you’re doing that – and there will be fruit!

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