Religious disaffiliation

Religious disaffiliation is the act of leaving a faith, or a religious group or community. It is in many respects the reverse of religious conversion. Several other terms are used for this process, though each of these terms may have slightly different meanings and connotations.[1]

Researchers employ a variety of terms to describe disaffiliation, including[2] defection, apostasy[3] and disengagement.[4] This is in contrast to excommunication, which is disaffiliation from a religious organization imposed punitively on a member, rather than willfully undertaken by the member.

If religious affiliation was a big part of a leaver's social life and identity, then leaving can be a wrenching experience, and some religious groups aggravate the process with hostile reactions and shunning.[5]:91 Some people who were not particularly religious see leaving as not ‘all that big a deal’ and entailing ‘few personal consequences’, especially if they are younger people in secularized countries.[1]

Human rights

In 1993, the UN's human rights committee declared that article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights "protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief."[6] The committee further stated that "the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief necessarily entails the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one's current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views." Signatories to the convention are barred from "the use of threat of physical force or penal sanctions to compel believers or non-believers" to recant their beliefs or convert. Despite this, minority religions are still persecuted in many parts of the world.[7][8]

While most Western societies permit their citizens to choose their religion, many Muslim majority countries forbid people recognized by the state as Muslim to change their religion.

In some cases, religious disaffilation is coerced.[5]:93 Some religious people are expelled or excommunicated by their religious groups. Some family members of people who join cults or new religious movements feel concerned that cults are using mind control to keep them away from their families, and support forcefully removing them from the group and deprogramming them.[5]:93

Stages of religious disaffiliation

Brinkerhoff and Burke (1980) argue that "religious disaffiliation is a gradual, cumulative social process in which negative labeling may act as a 'catalyst' accelerating the journey of apostasy while giving it form and direction."[9] They also argue that the process of religious disaffiliation includes the member stopping believing but continuing to participate in rituals, and that the element of doubt underlies many of the theoretical assumptions dealing with apostasy.[10]

In her article about ex-nuns, Ebaugh (1988) describes four stages characteristic of role exit:[5]:91–94[11]

  1. first doubts
  2. seeking and weighing role alternatives
  3. a turning point
  4. establishing an ex-role identity.

In the two samples studied by Ebaugh the vast majority of the ex-nuns remained Catholics.[12]

Psychological and social aspects

According to Meredith McGuire (2002), in a book about the social context in religion, if the religious affiliation was a big part of a leaver's social life and identity, then leaving can be a wrenching experience, and the way in which one leaves a religious group is another factor that may aggravate problems. McGuire writes that if the response of the group is hostile, or follows an attempt by that person to change the group from "the inside" before leaving, then the process of leaving will be fraught with considerable emotional and social tensions.[5]:91

The Handbook of Religion and Health describes a survey by Feigelman (1992), who examined happiness in Americans who have given up religion, in which it was found that there was little relationship between religious disaffiliation and unhappiness.[13] A survey by Kosmin & Lachman (1993), also cited in this handbook, indicates that people with no religious affiliation appear to be at greater risk for depressive symptoms than those affiliated with a religion.[14]

Apostates of New Religious Groups often have mixed feelings about the group they have left. Massimo Introvigne in his Defectors, Ordinary Leavetakers and Apostates[15] defines three types of narratives constructed by apostates of new religious movements:

  • Type I narratives characterize the exit process as defection, in which the organization and the former member negotiate an exiting process aimed at minimizing the damage for both parties.
  • Type II narratives involve a minimal degree of negotiation between the exiting member, the organization they intend to leave, and the environment or society at large, implying that the ordinary apostate holds no strong feelings concerning his past experience in the group. They may make "comments on the organization's more negative features or shortcomings" while also recognizing that there was "something positive in the experience."
  • Type III narratives are characterized by the ex-member dramatically reversing their loyalties and becoming a professional enemy of the organization they have left. These apostates often join an oppositional coalition fighting the organization, often claiming victimization.

Introvigne argues that apostates professing Type II narratives prevail among exiting members of controversial groups or organizations, while apostates that profess Type III narratives are a vociferous minority.

Although some of the above studies indicate a positive correlation between religious belief and happiness, in any event it is a separate task to distinguish between alternative causal explanations including the following:

  • that religious belief itself in fact promotes satisfaction and that non-belief does not promote satisfaction and/or promotes dissatisfaction;
  • that satisfaction and dissatisfaction contribute to religious belief and disbelief, respectively, i.e., that satisfied persons are more inclined to endorse the existence of a traditionally defined deity (whose attributes include omnibenevolence) than are dissatisfied persons, who may perceive their unhappiness as evidence that no deity exists (as in atheism) or that whatever deity exists is less than omnibenevolent (as in deism or maltheism);
  • that although religious belief does not itself promote satisfaction, satisfaction is influenced by a third factor that correlates significantly with religious belief, e.g., a) divine providence as bestowed by a deity who shows favor to believers and/or disfavor to nonbelievers or b) sociopolitical ostracism of self-declared nonbelievers and/or fear of such ostracism by "closeted" nonbelievers; and
  • that the process of religious disaffiliation involves traumatic stress whose effects limit, to either a subclinical or a clinical extent, a person's later ability to be happy even in the absence of actual or feared ostracism.

See also


  1. ^ a b Eccles, Janet Betty; Catto, Rebecca (2015). "Espousing Apostasy and Feminism? Older and Younger British Female Apostates Compared". Secularism and Nonreligion. 4. doi:10.5334/ ISSN 2053-6712.
  2. ^ Bromley, David G. Perspectives on Religious Disaffiliation (1988), article in the book edited by David G. Bromley Falling from the Faith: Causes and Consequences of Religious Apostasy ISBN 0-8039-3188-3 page 23
    ”One obvious problem is the terminological thicket surrounding the process of religious disaffiliation. Affiliation with a religious group is referred to as conversion , although there is continuing debate over the referent(s) of this term; but there is no parallel term for disaffiliation. Indeed as the essays in this volume reveal, researchers have employed a variety of terms (dropping out, exiting, dissidentification, leavetaking, defecting, apostasy, disaffiliation, disengagement) to label this process”
  3. ^ Hadden, Jeffrey
  4. ^ Roof, Wade Clark, and J Shawn Landres. "Defection, disengagement and dissent: The dynamics of religious change in the United States." Religion and the Social Order 7 (1997): 77-96.
  5. ^ a b c d e McGuire, Meredith B. "Religion: the Social Context" fifth edition (2002) ISBN 0-534-54126-7 Chapter Three:the individual's religion, section disengagement
  6. ^ "CCPR General Comment 22: 30/07/93 on ICCPR Article 18". Archived from the original on 2015-01-16.
  7. ^ International Federation for Human Rights (1 August 2003). "Discrimination against religious minorities in Iran" (PDF). Retrieved 3 March 2009.
  8. ^ Davis, Derek H. "The Evolution of Religious Liberty as a Universal Human Right" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2009.
  9. ^ Cited in Ballis, Peter H. –Leaving the Adventist Ministry: A Study of the Process of Exiting, p.24, Praeger Publishers (1999), ISBN 0-275-96229-6
  10. ^ Cited in Brinkerhoff, Merlin B. and Mackie, Marlene M. – Casting off the Bonds of Organized Religion: a Religious-Careers Approach to the Study of Apostasy, p.249, Review of Religious Research, Vol. 34, 1993.
    Brinkerhoff and Burke ( 1980 ) typology of the process of religious disaffiliation posits that doubting members may stop believing but continue to participate as ritualists. Doubts precede apostasy. The element of doubt underlies many of the theoretical assumptions dealing with apostasy.
  11. ^ Ebaugh, Helen Rose Fuchs Leaving Catholic Convents: towards a Theory of Disengagement (1988), article in the book edited by David G. Bromley Falling from the Faith: Causes and Consequences of Religious Apostasy ISBN 0-8039-3188-3
  12. ^ Ebaugh, Helen Rose Fuchs Leaving Catholic Convents: towards a Theory of Disengagement (1988), article in the book edited by David G. Bromley Falling from the Faith: Causes and Consequences of Religious Apostasy ISBN 0-8039-3188-3 page 114
    "The vast majority of ex-nuns in both samples remained Catholics after they left the convent. In fact, many of them because lay leaders in their parishes and reported that religion was still very important to them. Leaving the convent in no way indicated disaffection with the institutional church for most ex-nuns. Less than 3% left the church after exiting religious life. The exit process, therefore, and the establishment of an ex identity involved change in their role as nun, not as a Catholic."
  13. ^ Koenig, Harold G., Larson, David B., and McCullough, Michael E. Handbook of Religion and Health (see article), p.122, Oxford University Press (2001), ISBN 0-8133-6719-0
    Feigelman et al. (1992) examined happiness in Americans who have given up religion. Using pooled data from the General Social Surveys conducted between 1972 and 1990, investigators identified more than 20,000 adults for their study. Subjects of particular interest were “disaffiliates”—those who were affiliated with a religion at age 16 but who were not affiliated at the time of the survey (disaffiliates comprised from 4.4% to 6.0% of respondents per year during the 18 years of surveys). “Actives” were defined as persons who reported a religious affiliation at age 16 and a religious affiliation at the time of the survey (these ranged from 84.7% to 79.5% of respondents per year between 1972 and 1990). Happiness was measured by a single question that assessed general happiness (very happy, pretty happy, not too happy). When disaffiliates (n = 1,420) were compared with actives (n = 21,052), 23.9% of disaffiliates indicated they were “very happy, ” as did 34.2% of actives. When the analysis was stratified by marital status, the likelihood of being very happy was about 25% lower (i.e., 10% difference) for married religious disaffiliates compared with married actives. Multiple regression analysis revealed that religious disaffiliation explained only 2% of the variance in overall happiness, after marital status and other covariates were controlled. Investigators concluded that there was little relationship between religious disaffiliation and unhappiness (quality rating 7)
  14. ^ Koenig, Harold G., Larson, David B., and McCullough, Michael E. – Handbook of Religion and Health, p.111, Oxford University Press (2001)
    Currently, approximately 8% of the U.S. population claim no religious affiliation (Kosmin & Lachman, 1993). People with no affiliation appear to be at greater risk for depressive symptoms than those affiliated with a religion. In a sample of 850 medically ill men, Koenig, Cohen, Blazer, Pieper, et al. (1992) examined whether religious affiliation predicted depression after demographics, medical status, and a measure of religious coping were controlled. They found that, when relevant covariates were controlled, men who indicated that they had “no religious affiliation” had higher scores on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (an observer-administered rating scale) than did men who identified themselves as moderate Protestants, Catholics, or nontraditional Christians.
  15. ^ Introvigne 1997

Further reading

  • Oakes, Len Dr. Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities, 1997, Syracuse University press ISBN 0-8156-0398-3
  • Wright, Stuart A. Leaving Cults: The Dynamics of Defection, published by the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion: Monograph Series nr. 7 1987 ISBN 0-932566-06-5

External links

  • Apostasy and defection entry by Ross P. Scherer in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Society edited by William H. Swatos, Jr.
Allianz vun Humanisten, Atheisten an Agnostiker

The Allianz vun Humanisten, Atheisten an Agnostiker (English: Alliance of Humanists, Atheists and Agnostics) is a Luxembourgish association that serves the interests of atheists, humanists, skeptics and agnostics in the Grand-Duchy. It also explicitly supports secularist positions. Its official abbreviation is A.H.A. Lëtzebuerg; usually this is shortened to AHA, sometimes with an extra exclamation mark. The AHA was founded on 13 May 2010 as an association without lucrative purpose (asbl). AHA is a member of the European Humanist Federation and the International Humanist and Ethical Union. The current chair is biologist Laurent Schley.

Apostasy in Judaism

In Judaism, apostasy refers to the rejection of Judaism and possible defection to another religion by a Jew. The term apostasy is derived from Ancient Greek: ἀποστάτης, meaning "rebellious" (Hebrew: מרד.) Equivalent expressions for apostate in Hebrew that are used by rabbinical scholars include mumar (מומר, literally "the one that was changed"), poshea Yisrael (פושע ישראל, literally, "transgressor of Israel"), and kofer (כופר, literally "denier"). Similar terms are meshumad (משומד, lit. "destroyed one"), one who has abandoned his faith, and min (מין) or epikoros (אפיקורוס), which denote the negation of God and Judaism, implying atheism.

Christianity in the 19th century

Characteristic of Christianity in the 19th century were Evangelical revivals in some largely Protestant countries and later the effects of modern Biblical scholarship on the churches. Liberal or modernist theology was one consequence of this. In Europe, the Roman Catholic Church strongly opposed liberalism and culture wars launched in Germany, Italy, Belgium and France. It strongly emphasized personal piety. In Europe there was a general move away from religious observance and belief in Christian teachings and a move towards secularism. In Protestantism, pietistic revivals were common.


In social theory, detraditionalization refers to the erosion of tradition in religion (Secularization, agnosticism, Religious disaffiliation) and society in (post)modernism.

Subscribing individuals in traditional societies believe in established, timeless, authoritative orders and values, above the individual, and timeless attainable goals. Such beliefs may manifest as specific behavior.

Factors that contribute to loss of tradition are endorsement of individual choice and responsibility or the "sacred" (in Émile Durkheim's sense of the term) individual itself in democratic societies, and the revolution in communications. Among the theorists who believe that society is moving from a modernity that has been largely traditional to a post-traditional time is Anthony Giddens, Baron Giddens.

Edict of toleration

An edict of toleration is a declaration, made by a government or ruler and states, that members of a given religion will not be persecuted for engaging in their religious practices and traditions. The edict implies tacit acceptance of the religion rather than its endorsement by the ruling power.


Ex-Mormon or post-Mormon refers to a disaffiliate of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) or any of its schismatic breakoffs, collectively called "Mormonism". Ex-Mormons—sometimes referred to as exmo or postmo—may neither believe in nor affiliate with the LDS Church. In contrast, Jack Mormons may believe but do not affiliate; and cultural Mormons may or may not affiliate but do not believe in certain doctrines or practices of the institutional LDS Church. The distinction is important to a large segment of ex-Mormons, many of whom consider their decision to leave as morally compelling and socially risky. According to 2014 Pew data, around 1/3 of adults raised LDS no longer adhere to the faith(up from around 10% in the '70s and '80s) and in 2008 only 25% of LDS young adults are actively involved. Many ex-Mormons experience troubles with family members who still follow Mormon teachings. Aggregations of ex-Mormons may comprise a social movement.

Faith to Faithless

Faith to Faithless is a non-profit organisation in the United Kingdom dedicated to confronting discrimination against non-religious people, in particular discrimination towards individuals who have left minority religions. It provides support to people leaving religion and helps them to 'come out' to friends and family and gives a platform for individuals to speak out publicly and to find mutual support in the wider atheist, secular and humanist communities. Faith to Faithless advocates for individuals and families leaving any religion and aims to bring discussion and support for ex-religious people into the public domain.

Since 2017 Faith to Faithless has been incorporated as a programme within Humanists UK, formerly the British Humanist Association, the national charity supporting non-religious people.

Footsteps (organization)

Footsteps is a not-for-profit organization based in New York City that provides educational, vocational, and social support to people who have left or want to leave an ultra-Orthodox or Orthodox Jewish community in the United States.

History of Germany

The concept of Germany as a distinct region in central Europe can be traced to Roman commander Julius Caesar, who referred to the unconquered area east of the Rhine as Germania, thus distinguishing it from Gaul (France), which he had conquered. The victory of the Germanic tribes in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (AD 9) prevented annexation by the Roman Empire, although the Roman provinces of Germania Superior and Germania Inferior were established along the Rhine. Following the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Franks conquered the other West Germanic tribes. When the Frankish Empire was divided among Charles the Great's heirs in 843, the eastern part became East Francia. In 962, Otto I became the first Holy Roman Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the medieval German state.

In the Late Middle Ages, the regional dukes, princes, and bishops gained power at the expense of the emperors. Martin Luther led the Protestant Reformation against the Catholic Church after 1517, as the northern states became Protestant, while the southern states remained Catholic. The two parts of the Holy Roman Empire clashed in the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), which was ruinous to the twenty million civilians living in both parts. The Thirty Years' War brought tremendous destruction to Germany; more than 1/4 of the population and 1/2 of the male population in the German states were killed by the catastrophic war. 1648 marked the effective end of the Holy Roman Empire and the beginning of the modern nation-state system, with Germany divided into numerous independent states, such as Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, Austria and other states, which also controlled land outside of the area considered as "Germany".

After the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars from 1803–1815, feudalism fell away and liberalism and nationalism clashed with reaction. The German revolutions of 1848–49 failed. The Industrial Revolution modernized the German economy, led to the rapid growth of cities and to the emergence of the socialist movement in Germany. Prussia, with its capital Berlin, grew in power. German universities became world-class centers for science and humanities, while music and art flourished. The unification of Germany (excluding Austria and the German-speaking areas of Switzerland) was achieved under the leadership of the Chancellor Otto von Bismarck with the formation of the German Empire in 1871 which solved the Kleindeutsche Lösung, the small Germany solution (Germany without Austria), or Großdeutsche Lösung, the greater Germany solution (Germany with Austria), the former prevailing. The new Reichstag, an elected parliament, had only a limited role in the imperial government. Germany joined the other powers in colonial expansion in Africa and the Pacific.

By 1900, Germany was the dominant power on the European continent and its rapidly expanding industry had surpassed Britain's, while provoking it in a naval arms race. Germany led the Central Powers in World War I (1914–1918) against France, Great Britain, Russia and (by 1917) the United States. Defeated and partly occupied, Germany was forced to pay war reparations by the Treaty of Versailles and was stripped of its colonies as well as of home territory to be ceded to Czechoslovakia, Belgium, France and Poland. The German Revolution of 1918–19 put an end to the federal constitutional monarchy, which resulted in the establishment of the Weimar Republic, an unstable parliamentary democracy.

In the early 1930s, the worldwide Great Depression hit Germany hard, as unemployment soared and people lost confidence in the government. In January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. The Nazi Party then began to eliminate all political opposition and consolidate its power. Hitler quickly established a totalitarian regime. Beginning in the late 1930s, Nazi Germany made increasingly aggressive territorial demands, threatening war if they were not met. First came the remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936, the annexing of Austria in the Anschluss and parts of Czechoslovakia with the Munich Agreement in 1938 (although in 1939 Hitler annexed further territory of Czechoslovakia). On 1 September 1939, Germany initiated World War II in Europe with the invasion of Poland. After forming a pact with the Soviet Union in 1939, Hitler and Stalin divided Eastern Europe. After a "Phoney War" in spring 1940, the Germans swept Denmark and Norway, the Low Countries and France, giving Germany control of nearly all of Western Europe. Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941.

Racism, especially antisemitism, was a central feature of the Nazi regime. In Germany, but predominantly in the German-occupied areas, the systematic genocide program known as The Holocaust killed 11 million including Jews, German dissidents, gipsies, disabled people, Poles, Romanies, Soviets (Russian and non-Russian), and others. In 1942, the German invasion of the Soviet Union faltered, and after the United States had entered the war, Britain became the base for massive Anglo-American bombings of German cities. Germany fought the war on multiple fronts through 1942–1944, however following the Allied invasion of Normandy (June 1944), the German Army was pushed back on all fronts until the final collapse in May 1945.

Under occupation by the Allies, German territories were split up, Austria was again made a separate country, denazification took place, and the Cold War resulted in the division of the country into democratic West Germany and communist East Germany. Millions of ethnic Germans were deported or fled from Communist areas into West Germany, which experienced rapid economic expansion, and became the dominant economy in Western Europe. West Germany was rearmed in the 1950s under the auspices of NATO, but without access to nuclear weapons. The Franco-German friendship became the basis for the political integration of Western Europe in the European Union. In 1989, the Berlin Wall was destroyed, the Soviet Union collapsed and East Germany was reunited with West Germany in 1990. In 1998–1999, Germany was one of the founding countries of the eurozone. Germany remains one of the economic powerhouses of Europe, contributing about one-quarter of the eurozone's annual gross domestic product. In the early 2010s, Germany played a critical role in trying to resolve the escalating euro crisis, especially with regard to Greece and other Southern European nations. In the middle of the decade, the country faced the European migrant crisis as the main receiver of asylum seekers from Syria and other troubled regions.

For more events, see Timeline of German history.

Interfaith marriage

Interfaith marriage, traditionally called "mixed marriage", is marriage between spouses professing different religions. Although interfaith marriages are most often contracted as civil marriages, in some instances they may be contracted as a religious marriage. This depends on religious prohibitions against the marriage by the religion of one (or both) spouses, based on religious doctrine or tradition.

In an interfaith marriage, each partner typically adheres to their own religion; this excludes a marriage of a spouse belonging to religion X to a spouse who has undergone religious conversion from religion Y to religion X. Interfaith marriage is also distinct from the concepts of religious assimilation, cultural assimilation, religious disaffiliation, and apostasy. Despite the distinction, these issues are associated with aspects of interfaith marriage. Interfaith marriage is also distinct from interracial and inter-ethnic marriage (also known as "mixed marriage"), since spouses in an interfaith marriage may share the same race or ethnicity.

In some religions, religious doctrine prohibits interfaith marriage. In others, religious tradition opposes interfaith marriage but may allow it in limited circumstances. Several major religions are mute on the issue, and still others allow it with requirements for ceremony and custom. For ethno-religious groups, resistance to interfaith marriage may be a form of self-segregation.


Kulturkampf (German: [kʊlˈtuːɐ̯kampf] (listen), "culture struggle") is a German term referring to the conflict

between the German imperial government and the Roman Catholic Church from about 1872 to 1878, predominantly over the control of educational and ecclesiastical appointments. More rarely, the term is used by extension to refer to the power struggles between emerging constitutional democratic nation states and the Roman Catholic Church over the place and role of religion in modern polity, usually in connection with secularization campaigns.The term Kulturkampf entered many languages, e.g.: French: le Kulturkampf, Spanish: el Kulturkampf, Italian: il Kulturkampf.

It first appeared c. 1840 in an anonymous review of a publication by Swiss-German liberal Ludwig Snell on "The Importance of the Struggle of Liberal Catholic Switzerland with the Roman Curia". But it only gained wider currency after liberal member of the Prussian parliament, Rudolph Virchow, used it in 1873.In contemporary socio-political discussion, the term Kulturkampf (see also culture war) is often used to describe any conflict between secular and religious authorities or deeply opposing values, beliefs between sizable factions within a nation, community, or other group.

Off the derech

Off the derech (OTD), from the Hebrew word derech (meaning "path"), is an expression used to describe someone who leaves an Orthodox Jewish community. The term applies to a broad range of ex-Orthodox Jews, including those who leave Hasidic communities, ultra-Orthodox or Haredi communities, and Modern Orthodox communities. At times, individuals who move from a stricter form of Orthodoxy to a "more lenient" form of Orthodoxy are considered "off the derech" by their original communities.

OTD is not a community or movement, but simply describes someone who leaves an Orthodox community to find a different path in life, ranging from other forms of Judaism to other religions, or none.

There are three broad groups of those who have left Orthodoxy. There are those deemed to be "kids at risk" – those people who behave badly, do drugs, engage in criminal activity, and do not keep halacha; those who are well-adjusted and have stopped keeping halacha; and those who still keep halacha, but do not share the beliefs of their previous form of Orthodoxy.

PostMormon Community

The PostMormon Community is a community to help support individuals who have left or are leaving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The primary support mechanism of the community is the website.In addition there are PostMormon chapters across the United States, Canada, Europe, Ecuador, New Zealand and Australia.The PostMormon community is probably best known to the wider public outside of the ex-Mormon circles for using billboard and newspaper advertising in Utah, Idaho and Oregon to raise public awareness. Their second billboard advertisement in Idaho Falls, Idaho, was taken down early by Lamar Outdoor Advertising, after the owner of the property on which the billboard is situated requested it be taken down. The owner of the property is an active member of the LDS Church.

Religion in Germany

Christianity is the largest religion in Germany, comprising an estimated 57% of the country's population in 2017. The second largest religion in Germany is Islam, with around 4 million adherents (5% of the population), almost all of whom have full or partial foreign background. Smaller religious groups include Buddhism (0.2%), Judaism (0.1%), Hinduism (0.1%) and others (0.4%). About 36–37% of the country's population are not affiliated with any church or religion.The two largest Christian churches of the country are the Roman Catholic Church and the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), a Protestant confederation of United Protestant (Lutheran and Reformed) churches. The two churches together comprised 54% of the population in 2017, of whom 28.2% belonged to the Catholic Church and 26.1% to the Evangelical Church. In 2016, the Orthodox Church constituted ~2% of the population and other minor Christian churches (including Jehovah's Witnesses, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, other Protestant denominations, and others), formed 1–1.5%.Demographics of religion in Germany vary greatly by region and age. In a 2006 study, 28% of Germans under the age of 25 said they did not believe in God or any supernatural power. Non-religious people (including atheists and agnostics) represent the majority in some of Germany's major cities, including Berlin and Hamburg, and the absolute majority of 70–80% of the population in all the eastern states of what between 1949 and 1990 used to be the German Democratic Republic; by contrast, rural areas of the western states of what in the same period used to be the Federal Republic of Germany are more religious, and some rural areas are highly religious.

Religion in Luxembourg

There are many active religions in Luxembourg.

As of 2008, 72.4% of Luxembourg's population adhere to forms of Christianity (68.7% are Catholics, 1.8% are Protestants, while 1.9% adhere to other Christian denominations, especially Orthodox Christianity). 2.6% of the population follow non-Christian religions. 25% of the population do not have a religion.

Well-being contributing factors

Well-being is a much-studied topic in psychology, especially positive psychology. Related concepts are eudaimonia, happiness, flourishing, quality of life, contentment, and meaningful life.

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