Secularization or Alternative Faith? Trends and Conceptions of Spirituality in Northern Europe

Isabella Kasselstrand* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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In the debate on European secularization, it has been argued that conventional religion has given way to spirituality, and that religion is thus changing as opposed to diminishing. Focusing on northern Europe, this study uses semi-structured interviews and survey data from the International Social Survey Program to explore meanings and trends of spirituality and religious beliefs. Findings highlight a movement away from both religiosity and spirituality. Moreover, individuals who identify as ‘spiritual but not religious’ hold diverse beliefs about the supernatural and various interpretations of spirituality, some of which are in essence secular. Ultimately, this study suggests that current trends of spirituality are consistent with broader patterns of secularization in northern Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-55
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Religion in Europe
Issue number1-4
Early online date10 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2022


  • secularization
  • spirituality
  • religious beliefs
  • Northern Europe
  • mixed methods


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