Andrew Parker

The Top 25 Countries Rejecting Religious Belief

Atheism, which is the lack of belief in a god or gods, has become more and more popular around the world. In fact, some countries are almost entirely secular and have completely ditched their religious beliefs. Let’s take a look at 25 of some of the most atheist countries out there and why they’re saying “no thanks” to religion.

South American Secularism

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Uruguay might just be the champion of South American secularism. Almost half the population isn’t part of any religion, while 8.8% identify as atheists. This is mostly because the country supports the separation of church and state through its laws and society. The country respects religious freedom, but the church doesn’t have much power over the people.

Moving Past Catholicism

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Times are changing in Spain, and that means that many people aren’t following traditional Catholicism anymore. Instead, many Spaniards are choosing a secular path because they’re looking to be part of a more modern and inclusive society. Even the government is changing, as public policy and education are becoming focused on secularism over religion.

Relaxed About Religion

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When it comes to religion, Slovenia’s pretty relaxed because most people aren’t part of any organized groups. They’d rather take a more personal approach to dealing with life’s big questions, and you can see this in everyday life here. It’s pretty rare to have any kind of religious discussions in public or even when making policy.

Religion? It’s Complicated

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Russia’s relationship with religion is pretty complicated. The Orthodox Church used to be really important before practically disappearing under the Soviet government. Since then, it’s made a comeback, but many people still identify as atheists. Many Russians feel skeptical of the role of religion in modern society.

Quietly Secular

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Don’t let Norway’s state church fool you because many Norwegians just aren’t into attending services or following religious doctrines. They’d rather go enjoy the great outdoors and live their lives with no religious strings attached. But can you blame them? Norway truly is a beautiful country.

Secular Kiwis

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New Zealanders are pretty laid-back about a lot of things, and that includes religion. Many of them now identify as non-religious and are finding other ways to connect to their community. Even government policies are starting to show this, as they’re focused on promoting multiculturalism over religion.

Live and Let Live

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The Dutch are known for their “live and let live” attitude to almost everything in life, and religion is no exception. In the Netherlands, it’s completely normal to meet someone who doesn’t follow any religion because Dutch people respect everyone’s choices. They’re tolerant about almost everything.

It’s Cultural

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Japan’s an interesting one. People take part in religious festivals and visit shrines, but believing in God? That’s pretty much a no. For them, these traditions are cultural and not so much about actual belief in deities, which makes Japan secular in a pretty unique way. Here, there’s a big difference between cultural participation and personal faith.

Modern and Secular

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Iceland might be small, but it’s quite modern and just as secular. Religion doesn’t play a big role here because people care more about community and well-being. For many Icelanders, religion is a public matter and not really a public concern, which is why they keep things so open-minded and inclusive.

Freedom Over Religion

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Germany is another country where people prefer to live their lives free from religious rules. The government supports everyone’s right to believe, or not, as they see fit, so it’s a great place for most atheists as they can fit right in. Germans take the separation of church and state quite seriously, and they don’t let it influence public education or policy at all.

Secular By Law

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In France, the rule of law is “laïcité,” which means secularism, and it’s something a lot of French people support. It means everyone can be true to themselves without any religious pressure in their daily lives, especially at school or work. They keep religion completely out of government and public spaces.

Independence from Church

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Finland’s all about independence, and not just the national kind. They value personal freedom, especially when it comes to religion, even though they have an official state church. Many Finns would rather chart their own course by focusing on personal values over church teachings.

Not Big on Church

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You won’t find many Estonians hanging out in churches because they’re just not into it. According to some reports, it’s one of the least religious countries in the world because so many people are either atheists or agnostic. In Estonia, the church and state don’t mix at all, and many Estonians agree with this idea.

Casually Non-Religious

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In Denmark, they’re pretty casual about the whole religion thing because many Danes would rather keep their religious life low-key or non-existent. For them, human rights and social equality are way more important than following religious ideas. You’ll probably end up talking politics or the environment over coffee instead of the church.

Religious Doubt

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In the Czech Republic, “seeing is believing” has been the policy for quite a while, particularly towards religion, which is why it’s such an atheist hot spot. Here, people support science and facts over faith. This has changed their approach to public policy and even their daily lives because secularism feels right at home here.

Keeping It Secular

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Since the Communist Party took over in China, religion has gone on the back burner, and there’s been a huge push for atheism. Trusting the Chinese government’s line is more important than any spiritual belief, and secularism is a key part of their national identity. There might be temples, but as for the people worshipping at them? Practically non-existent.

Diverse and Secular

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Our northern neighbor, Canada, has a mixed bag of beliefs, but there’s a growing trend towards atheism and just living life without religious labels. They take religious freedom pretty seriously, meaning that everyone gets to live their own truth. If you’re looking to avoid any kind of religion, Canada might be the place for you.

Stepping Away From the Orthodoxy

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Like some other European countries, Bulgaria is slowly moving away from its Orthodox roots as more people are choosing to live without any religion. You can even see it in Bulgarian schools, where secularism has become the norm. Lots of people here prioritize their cultural identity over anything religious.

Less Attendance

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In Belgium, fewer and fewer people are showing up at church because many of them are choosing a secular lifestyle. Freedom and personal choice are guiding their lives these days, rather than traditional religious practices. That’s not to say that people aren’t religious here, but, for the most part, they’re atheists.

Down Under and Not Religious

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The latest Australian census shows that more Aussies than ever are ticking the “no religion” box as atheism has, ironically, become the second-largest religious group. It’s a clear sign that this beach-loving nation would rather live their lives free from religious rules. Many Aussies believe that you’re free to choose your lifestyle without religion getting in the way.

Losing Faith

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In the United Kingdom, people’s attitudes toward religion are changing, particularly among the younger crowds who are moving away from traditional churches. It might be a Christian country, but it’s becoming more common to support secularism over religion. For example, lots of Brits celebrate Christmas as a time to be with family instead of anything religious.

High on Secularism

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Switzerland’s approach to religion is like its famous chocolate in that it’s there, but not too much. There’s a lot of religious freedom here, which, for some people, means not being religious at all, and even the laws protect people’s right to decide for themselves. Swiss life is pretty much neutral on the religious front.

Relaxed About Religion

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Similarly, Swedes are quite relaxed about religion since most people keep their beliefs private, and atheism is pretty normal. They’d rather let people do their own thing with religion instead of making a fuss about it. Sweden is the kind of place where you’re free to be yourself, no questions asked.

A Mix of Beliefs

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South Korea is a country caught between beliefs. While there are a lot of Christians and Buddhists, there are also many people who prefer life without any religious tags. South Korea has room for everyone, no matter if you’re into traditional rituals or doing what you like without any religious labels.

No Gods Allowed

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North Korea is on another level with atheism because it’s government policy. State ideology has replaced religion, and people here know more about their leaders than any religious figures. It’s a place where the rules are set and followed without questions, while religious debate isn’t on the table.

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