Pagan Religion Ásatrú Grows in Iceland While National State Church Wanes

Only 33 percent of the members have trust in the Church.

Iceland’s National State Church is hemorrhaging members while the pagan religion, Ásatrú, continues to gain members. The National State Church has been losing members in recent months, with 2,029 members departing the church in 2018 alone. While there are many reasons that people have chosen to leave the largest religious organization, it appears as though growing dissatisfaction with the church leadership is responsible for most departures.

It appears most people believe the leadership of the church is out of touch with the common people, and are using their office to enjoy the perks of being a leader. Instead, many people feel as though they should be focusing more on the challenges that are facing the congregants. One particularly annoying element for many worshippers was a comment from Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir, the Bishop of Iceland, who complained that her room and rent in a mansion were not much of a perk at all. She had to share her kitchen with others.

Even though two out of every three Icelanders are registered members of the church, the loss of over 2,000 people is still a significant blow to the church. Losing members is not the only issue that is facing the church, though. A loss in the trust towards the leadership is also causing people to take a less active role in the church. Only 33 percent of the members of the church expressed trust in the church which reflects a significant decrease.

As the power of the church continues to fade, more people are turning to the pagan roots of the country and embracing Ásatrú. The congregation in this church has grown almost 10 percent in just the first nine months of 2018. That is a significant rate of growth for a church in a nation that has a remarkably low number of people who are religious. In fact, almost none of the population under the age of 25 believes that there is a deity responsible for the creation of Earth as we know it.

All in all, it is clear that the religion of Ásatrú is growing while the Iceland National State Church is fading, reflecting an overall trend towards secularization in the modern day.


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