Alexis Tsipras was sworn in as Greece’s first openly atheist leader and is one of many European leaders who don’t believe in God, including those from France and Croatia.
Alexis Tsipras, who was just sworn in as Prime Minister of Greece, will go down the books of history as the first Greek Head of Government to take a purely political oath, one totally free from religious pledges.
Reuters noted that Tsipras took a very surprising turn when he opted for a civil oath, over a more traditional biblical one.
Though the ceremony was presided over by an Archbishop, Tsipras requested that it not be religious in nature as he is an atheist.
This makes Tsipras the country’s first openly atheist leader.
This also brings the number of popular European Leaders that have climbed to the apex of public service despite not believing in God to three: the other two being Francois Hollande of France, and Zoran Milanović of Croatia.
Through an analysis of public speeches and statements made by European Leaders, Quartz was able to lump Hollande and Zoran Milanović alongside Tsipras, in terms of religious beliefs.
“I have reached a point where what is clear to me is the conviction that God doesn’t exist, rather than the contrary,” Hollande told a journalist back in 2002.
Francois Hollande was also noted to have told a Catholic that he doesn’t practice religion. “I respect all faiths. Mine is not to have one,” he said.
Though Francois Hollande was brought up in a family strongly rooted in Roman Catholicism, he jettisoned the faith much later.
Most surprising as an atheist leader is Zoran Milanović, who was somehow able to find his way to the top, despite the fact that 90% of the total Croatian population is dominated by Catholics.
Milanović’s stand as an atheist is one that has seriously irritated religious leaders across the country, as Milanović never attends church on religious holidays.
Beyond France and Croatia, just recently, Simonetta Sommaruga, the sitting President of Switzerland, has reportedly left the Catholic Church. She presently describes her religious status as “searching.”
The UK might soon join the league of countries headed by an atheist Leader. This is so, as Ed Miliband of the Labour Party, who is potentially the next Prime Minister, was caught on record saying he doesn’t believe in God.
Though the seemingly increasing number of Heads of Government that are atheist might make it seem the whole block of European Leadership is drifting towards the atheist pole, there are much more Leaders who have openly and firmly proclaimed Christianity to match the numbers on the flipside.
An example is Angela Merkel of Germany, who has declared “I believe in God and religion is also my constant companion, and has been for the whole of my life.”
Norway is another shining example of a European nation headed mostly by Christians. There are presently 17 out of 18 ministers in government who said they belonged to the Lutheran church.
After all has been said and done, the emergence of a self-proclaimed atheist Tsipras as Prime Minister is something of remarkable significance.
Could this mean that more atheist leaders are to come, given a good portion of the general European population doesn’t believe in God?
Time, as they say, shall tell.