Young Swedes ‘more interested in Bible’

Interest in the Bible among young Swedes is growing, according to a new poll.

Sixteen percent of people aged between 15 and 29 said the Bible was very important to them, the poll by Sifo for the Swedish Bible Society showed.

Around four out of ten said they had never read the Bible, while nearly half of respondents said that it had no significance for Christians’ holy book

Two out of ten of those who responded said the Bible was of great interest, and overall interest in Judaeo-Christian texts had increased among the young. Last year 7 percent of those between 15 and 29 said the Bible was important to them; this year this was up to 16 percent.

Krister Andersson, secretary general of the Swedish Bible Society, was reluctant to draw any far-reaching conclusions from the survey’s results, but said that they did point to certain trends:

“I think that many young people today are searching for a deeper meaning. That can be expressed through turning to various religious texts, of which the Bible is one,” he said, adding that similar trends were being seen elsewhere in Europe.

Both the Old and New Testaments can now be downloaded to MP3 players and mobile phones, but Krister Andersson said he did not believe that digitalization made people more interested in the scriptures.

“The figures aren’t showing mass sales. No large groups of young people are getting the Bible in this way.”

The poll also showed that the group most interested in the Bible was women over 65. Middle-aged Swedes, defined as being between 30 and 49, are least interested. The Gothenburg area was a geographic centre of Bible interes – there, the scriptures were important for one in three of those asked.

Around two out of ten Swedes read the Bible themselves at least once a year. Big religious festivals such as Christmas and Easter are times at which people will consult the Bible, as are baptisms and funerals. Some 11 percent of Swedes say they would turn to the Bible in a personal crisis. Only 5 percent say they read it when they are happy.

The survey of 1,000 people was carried out in January.