Finnish research shows that young fathers are more religious than their wives
Young fathers are more likely to support the baptism of their child and its membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church than young mothers. That is the remarkable conclusion of research by the Church of Finland.
Usually, studies show that women are more religious than men. This seems to have shifted, Hanna Salomäki notices. "Several recent studies show that our young men are significantly more religious than women of the same age", the director of the Church's research and education centre says to Seurakuntalainen.
The religiousness of men is growing, especially among younger generations. According to one survey, 42 per cent of Christian men between 18 and 24 years old estimate that the values of the Church match their own. For women, this is only 26 per cent, says Salomäki. In addition, a fifth of young non-Christian men considered joining a church. Among women of the same age, this was only ten per cent.
Usually, younger generations are less religious than the older ones. Two-thirds of the older generations, for example, see themselves as religious, while only a quarter of the younger generations do so.
However, this seems to change for men of Generation Z (born between 1990 and 1999). They do not see religion and church membership as a problem. "On the contrary, men belonging to Generation Z, for example, support infant baptism as much as the older age groups", Salomäki says.
Two out of three men under 30 attach importance to a religious ceremony after a child is born, research shows. Of women, this is only half of them. Mothers (53 per cent) also mention more often that the child has the right to make its own choice when it comes to baptism. Only 28 per cent of men refer to that argument.
Salomäki explains that the religiosity of Finnish men and women has changed quite a bit recently. Even older women are less faithful to the Church and pray less often than before, she points out. "And the reduced religiosity of mothers most commonly affects the daughters", the director adds.
In addition, men are known to be more traditional than women. The Church is part of the Finnish tradition.
Also, men are more open than their fathers and grandfathers. "They have broken with the culture of silence that prevailed in Finland in the past", says Salomäki, referring to a study by Kati Tervo-Niemelä, Jenni Spännär and Laura Kallatsa from 2022. "When young men are more open than before, the change is also visible in the area of religion."
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