The current evaluation of a survey on the religiosity of people in Germany and their wishes for their respective churches shows what an easy game it is to place a new “interreligious” theology.
Inhalt / Content
The (miserable) state of affairs
Things are not going particularly well for the Protestant churches in Germany. The “refugee numbers” from this institution are considerable. The fact that there is a certain level of helplessness in the umbrella association EKD about effective countermeasures can be clearly seen in the very unorthodox approach of hiring consultants from business (Info).
The EKD investigates the current status of the (miserable) situation with regular surveys based on the so-called “Church Membership Survey (KMU), now the KMU6. Since 1972, the umbrella organization of Protestant churches has updated the data every 10 years. The results are now available and The presentation of the numbers is accompanied by a psychologically constructive optimism (Source). 5,282 people were surveyed with a catalog of 592(!) questions. The stated average age of the respondents was 49.8 years, which is already in the upper age range.
Of those surveyed, 43 percent had no religion, 23 percent were Protestant and 25 percent were Catholic. 2 percent belonged to the free churches, 2 percent also belonged to the “post-migrant Christian communities” (e.g. Orthodox churches) and 5 percent of those surveyed belonged to the non-Christian religions (e.g. Islam).
The EKD summarized the “most exciting results” from the current survey. Accordingly, more than three quarters of all Protestant church members are satisfied with the current direction of reforms in the church. Regardless of denomination, there is great support for ongoing ecumenism and cooperation between churches. Those surveyed had expectations for more commitment from the church beyond the religious sphere.
The proportion of those who expect more interreligious commitment from their church is therefore 75 percent. The proportion of 80 percent of Protestant respondents who see fundamental changes as necessary for their church in order to still have a chance of existence in the future is also clear. 96 percent of Catholics are of the same opinion.
Bravely seize the opportunity
The EKD council chairwoman Annette Kurschus probably has no other choice than to respond to these very meaningful survey results with abstract formulations:
“The results of the KMU help us to make groundbreaking decisions to shape the church convincingly. I am certain: the church does not suffer change, it shapes it – inspired, active and creative.“
The EKD sees “inspired, active and creative” change as an opportunity. The survey found that people’s resistance to fundamental changes in the church was very low. Those responsible in the church should use this to “courageously” promote the “already inevitable change in the church”.
Easy game for the church
The church has an easy time with such requests. As early as 2024, the proportion of non-religious people in Germany will be greater than the proportion of church members. Even within the Protestant Church, around a third of the members describe themselves as non-religious. The picture in the entire population is similar, in which non-religiosity already describes the majority. Almost a third (32%) of those surveyed describe themselves as “unreservedly non-religious”. Only 13 percent consider themselves religious.
On a scale from 1 (not religious) to 10 (religious), 32 percent rated themselves at “1”, just 4 percent at “9” and only 3 percent at “10”. Almost two-thirds (67%) of respondents never pick up a Bible. Only 32 percent pray at least several times a year and 47 percent do not pray at all.
Religion hardly plays a role anymore
Religion plays no role whatsoever when it comes to sexuality for 79.5 percent of those surveyed. Religion also plays no role in the topics of work, career (73.6%), politics (69.4%), raising children (44.2%) and dealing with difficult situations (48.6%). When things get difficult in one’s own life, religion seems to play a role again for many people, because with a proportion of 12.9 percent who attribute great importance to religion when difficulties arise, this is the largest of the categories surveyed Group.
The church president of the EKD, Dr. Volker Jung has a “smooth” answer for people’s obviously low level of religiosity:
“Many people don’t see themselves as religious people. That’s why many people don’t have an unsatisfied religious longing. This makes it all the more important to listen to the life questions that people ask and to have a conversation about them.“
Given such conditions, it is of course easy to undertake any radical reforms that aim to further exclude the gospel. Why, as an institution that still describes itself as a Christian, gospel-based church following in the footsteps of Luther, tell people about the Word of God if they don’t want to hear it? Then you tell non-religious people what concerns them in everyday life and this is where the interface to the general political agenda can be found.
New theology satisfies itching ears
The so-called Protestant churches no longer see themselves as connected to the Gospel in their role as Christian institutions, but rather as having a duty to satisfy people’s “itchy ears”. This means you can kill two birds with one stone. You show yourself to be empathetic and understanding and in this way you can also fuel the new “agenda” of the replacement religion “preservation of creation”. This new theology is congruent with the “climate protection programs” in the secular world (Info). The church follows the same path and can therefore provide much-needed spiritual support to those who are frightened and seeking consolation.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2 Timothy 4:3
Bible verses from King James Version