In Germany, annual statistics of the mainline Protestant and Catholic churches show the continuous fall in membership of these historic institutional churches.
It is in this context that the answers of young people about faith published in the German newspaper Bild are surprising.
According to the research conducted by the Insa agency, 64 per cent of Germans under the age of 30 believe in God. Eighty-four per cent say they have prayed at least once in life, and two in three believe their prayers are heard.
General population split over belief in God
In general terms, the survey concludes that 48 per cent of the German population believes in God while 42 per cent does not. Among this second group, the survey found one in four admits they are not completely certain about the non-existence of God.
One in three Germans say they have had some sort of “supernatural experience” at least once.
Evangelicals versus Catholics and Protestants
The survey finds that while 90% of members of free evangelical churches say they are sure God exists. the number falls to 75 per cent among members of the Roman Catholic Church and to 64 per cent among members of the mainline Protestant church (the EKD).
The differences between the three type of Christian groups are also seen in the issue of prayer. 73 per cent of evangelical Christians say their prayers are answered. Catholics (65 per cent) and Protestants (49 per cent) are less confident about answered prayers.
Resurrection and afterlife
The survey, which was published by Bild for Easter, also asked respondents about the figure of Jesus Christ.
Twenty-eight per cent of the interviewed said they believe the Biblical account that Jesus Christ died on a cross and resurrected the third day.
Asked about the afterlife, it is also the group of those under 30 years that is more confident: 61 per cent. In contrast, only 23 per cent of those over 60 years say they believe in a life after death.
The director of Insa concluded: “Belief in God and church membership do not necessarily go together anymore. The young generation, which is rather distant from the church, believes more than the older generations who still are members of a church and were baptized.”
This story originally appeared at Evangelical Focus and is republished here with permission.