Sociology of Religion in Germany: The Revitalization of Religion and the Boom of Research on Religion
Department of Sociology University of Bayreuth Bayreuth, Germany
The religious landscape in Germany shows highly diverse regional patterns, some of which result from well-known historical reasons: Broadly speaking, the north is predominantly protestant and the south catholic. But twenty years after the wall came down, one of the most salient differences continue to exist between formal church membership of nearly three quarters in the west versus almost the same percentage of formal agnostics in the east. Regional diversity has been further enriched by international migration and mobility. While Christianity decreases, even in rural areas, Muslim communities are gaining growing minority presence, especially in urban areas. Even the religious activities of Jewish communities have reinvigorated notably in the Holocaust origin country over the past decades. As a result, far from having disappeared form the public, religion is reparably vivid in Germany. The vitality of religion, however, does not restrict to the official churches. A growing market of alternative religion and spirituality has become an integral part of private and public life in Germany over the past decades. Correspondingly, there is an important increase in research activities on religion, especially during the past decade. Research on religion has exploded over the past decade after 9/11 profoundly changed public perception of religion. The presentation will sketch the current situation of religion in Germany and the especially the research in sociology on religion and cognate phenomena. Far from being invisible, religion is amplified by sociological research. The paper will sketch current developments in sociology of religion in Germany with a special focus on the recent boom in studies on religion.