An article that recently appeared in Folkekirken’s Inter-Church News (Folkekirkens Mellemkirkelige Råd) summarizes startling results from a Rambøl Analysis published in the Jutland Post. Apparently only 48% of Danes over age 17 believe that Jesus was crucified and only 26% that Jesus rose from the dead. Among them, more women than men and more seniors than the rest of the population, believe the crucfixion and resurrection were real events. The strongest percentage for belief in the resurrection came from North Jutland (37%) and the weakest from the Copenhagen area (18%). If four out of five seniors call themselves “believers,” one wonders how younger people skew the overall results.
Responding to the Rambøl Analysis, professor Hans Jørgen Lundager Jensen at Aarhus University opined, “I thought the Danes would be even more skeptical about a supernatural event. On the other hand I’m also surprised that so many are skeptical about the crucifixion, which in no way breaks with our concept of a realistic event. But in my experience belief is not a permanent dimension.”
Dr. Marie Vejrup Nielsen, who produced the Religion in Denmark 2010 report, stated that “Danes are not particularly atheist or traditionally religious. They just do what suits them. They accept the religious offers that are tended and they don’t mind the church being among the tenderers. They just don’t use them.”
Peter Luchau, a sociologist of religion from the University of Southern Denmark, commented on a recent book, Minor and Major Changes: Danish Values Since 1981, saying that “Figures in the book show that 72% of Danes call themselves ‘believers,’ and we ought to take that seriously. We know that Danes are fine with God and life after death, but that’s about it. We generally like things that offer hope.”
Luchau concludes, “We have become individualized, and no one any longer tells us what to believe or not to believe. But we have no idea what we actually mean by a ‘believer.’ The collectivity of faith has disappeared. There is no doubt that young people are less religious than the over-65s, but there is no saying that this trend will increase. Today there is no youth rebellion involved in being a non-believer, so there may well be a change in the next generation.”
For the Bible-believing and committed Christian, it would appear that apostasy is stalking the land. “ . . . Danes are fine with God and life after death, but that’s about it”? What’s missing here is the element of sin, repentance, and faith in the finished work of the cross of Christ. That is the gospel of grace apart from works and that is where and in whom (Jesus Christ) true hope that Danes are looking for is to be found. Does Denmark need to be re-evangelized? The answer has to be a resounding, “Yes, indeed!”
PRAY that God would raise up Bible-believing evangelists and a great surge of evangelism to reach the Danish people, most of whom lack any true sense of what the gospel of Christ is all about.
PRAY that the Holy Spirit would draw thousands of Danish younger people to a biblical understanding of sin, repentance and faith in Jesus Christ so that in turn they would become strong witnesses for the gospel of grace to fellow Danes of all ages.