Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Miksi suomalaiset eroavat evankelis-luterilaisesta kirkosta?

List of Authors: Äystö Tuomas, Koivula Aki, Wessman Anna, Kyyrö Jere, Hjelm Titus

Publication year: 2022

Journal: Yhteiskuntapolitiikka

Volume number: 87

Issue number: 2

Start page: 129

End page: 140


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Membership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is on the decline. However, little is known about people’s subjective reasons for leaving the Church. This article analyses data collected by the service, which provides an easy way to disaffiliate online. Between 2011 and 2020, almost 4,000 people stated their reasons for leaving the Church when filling out the disaffiliation form. We have categorized these reasons and analysed them, controlling for time of disaffiliation, age and gender.

The reasons that stood out in the analysis were financial and utility reasons, i.e. payment of the church tax and perceived lack of value for money. The next most important category of reasons was related to beliefs and the Church’s doctrine. Our study both challenges and confirms several claims in the research literature and public debate on disaffiliation. Most clearly, lack of faith is not the most prevalent subjective indicator of disaffiliation, as has been suggested in previous research. Similarly, disaffiliation is not mainly the outcome of disaffiliation surges associated with particular events. The few peak events related to religious or value-based reasons do not offset the consistently higher number of financial reasons throughout the period under study. In terms of age and gender, our research confirms much of the current literature: Men under 35 are most likely to disaffiliate from the Church, chiefly for financial reasons.

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Last updated on 2022-14-04 at 11:38