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For first time, majority in Norway don't believe in God

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Photo: Marianne Løvland / NTB scanpix
08:24 CET+01:00
For the first time ever, there are more in Norway who say they don't believe in God than those who say they do. On top of that, there is a large group that is in doubt.
A new survey from the annual social-cultural study Norwegian Monitor (Norsk Monitor) shows an historic level of Norwegians who don't believe in the existence of God, Vårt Land reported. 
 
To the question “Do you believe in God?”, 39 percent responded “no” while 37 percent said “yes”. Another 23 percent of respondents said they did not know. 
 
The survey, which was sent to 4,000 Norwegians by post, marks the first time that non-believers outnumber the religious. Two years ago, the number of believers and non-believers was equal. When the question was first asked in 1985, a full 50 percent said they believed in God while just 20 percent did not. 
 
See also: Norway's call to remove crosses causes backlash
 
Jan-Paul Brekke of Ipsos Norway, who led the survey, said the question did not define who ‘God' is. 
 
“It could be the Christian god, an independent god  or one from other faiths. But since we started asking the question 30 years ago, the percentage of those who said they aren't sure has been about the same,” he said. 
 
“There are quite a few immigrants included [in the survey] but the majority of them come from Western religious traditions. We have only a few Muslims in our material,” Brekke added. 

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The survey also showed that women are more likely to believe in God than man and that faith in God is stronger among the old than the young. 
 
Oslo had the lowest share of believers, at 29 percent, while Vest-Agder was highest at 44 percent. 

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