Greenbelt Interfaith News
    World News

    December 1997

    Results Presented of the Inquiry on Faith in the Netherlands
    Golden Compass

    During a November 8 symposium on "God in the Netherlands" in Hilversum, the first results of the inquiry on faith in the Netherlands were presented. The inquiry concludes that the majority of Dutchmen have turned away from the idea that there exists a personal God, taking care of the life of people. They also don't get the message about the "traditional" Christian faith.

    7.2 million people in the Netherlands (around 47% of the 15.5 million) call themselves Christian. 24% of them agree with the idea of a personal God, while 60% of them believe that the Bible is only partially – or not at all – the word of God.

    The biggest group of Christians is the Roman Catholics, with 3,255,000 confessing themselves to Catholicism. But they are also the most "liberal": only 32% of them see the Bible as the word of God. The Dutch Cardinal Simonis regretted during the radio program "Kruispunt" the fact that secularization has become most pervasive among Catholics. He said that the cancellation of catechization at school must be seen as one of the most important reasons for this trend. Some of the views held by Catholic Dutchmen are completely in opposition to the official church teaching: 85% of the Catholics believe there are no reasons why women couldn't become priests, while 80% of them are not opposed to contraception.

    62% of the 2,170,000 Dutch Reformed see the Bible as the word of God; 77% of the 1,240,000 Dutch Reformated have the same opinion. Although church involvement has decreased, appreciation for the church is high. 80% of Dutchmen want the church to continue giving a vision on actual issues.

    On the occasion of the 250th broadcast of the TV program "Kruispunt TV" and 40 years of RKK broadcasting by the Roman Catholic Church, "Kruispunt" undertook this inquiry among 1300 Dutchmen on the role of faith and the church.

    Information in this article was taken from RKK, KRO, and IKON.

    HOME December 1997 Index