What Germany believes
About two thirds of Germans believe in God, one third have no religious belief. Germany guarantees religious freedom – everyone can make their own decision for or against a faith.
About 60 percent of Germans believe in God. Nevertheless, the two major Christian churches have been losing an increasing number of members over the last decades. Almost 30 million Germans, i.e. 37 percent of the total population, have no religious belief and are not affiliated to any religion.
Religious affiliation in Germany
- 23.76 million members of the Roman Catholic Church
- 22.27 million members of the Protestant Church
- 4.4 million Muslims
- 100,000 Jews
- 100,000 Buddhists
Freedom of religion applies in Germany
Germany’s constitution (or Basic Law) guarantees religious freedom to every person in Germany. The German government is committed to neutrality on religious matters, so that State and Church are separated from each other. Nevertheless, the German state levies a church tax, and religious instruction in schools is enshrined in Germany's Basic Law.
Germany rests on Sundays
One of the hallmarks of everyday life in Germany is that the most important Christian public holidays – Easter, Christmas and Whitsun – are work-free days. And because of the Christian tradition, Sunday is also a free day when shops are closed.
People are giving up church membership
Many people have left the Catholic and Protestant churches in the last ten years. In 2005, more than 62 percent were still members of one of the two churches; by 2016, the figure had fallen to 55 percent.
Scientists at the University of Münster are researching why so many members are leaving the Church. Church tax, which Catholics and Protestants have to pay, could be one reason. However, Professor Detlef Pollack and Gergely Rosta believe that members are leaving the Church because they have become individually alienated from it. Many Germans still define themselves as Christians even though they no longer belong to a church.
Two-thirds of German Muslims come from Turkey
Islam is Germany's third-largest religious community; 4.4 million people profess the Muslim faith. Two-thirds of German Muslims come from Turkey. The other third come from south-east Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Central and South-east Asia. Some German federal states have introduced Islamic religious instruction in schools. The aim is to promote integration and to give students an opportunity to examine their religion and ask questions outside a mosque.