What's the Least Religious Place in the World and What's Its Secret?

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A recent study called "Beliefs About God Across Time and Countries" found that 52.1% of people asked whether they believed in God identified themselves as atheists. This compared with only 10.3% in western Germany. Indeed, the survey was unable to find a single person under the age of 28 in eastern Germany who believed in God. Obviously there are some -- I think I may have even met some once -- but the survey was unable to find them. On the face of it this is an extraordinary finding and it is something that needs some careful explanation. For example, in 2000 the Catholic theologian Eberhard Tiefensee identified what he called an "East German folk atheism" which could be argued to constitute a substantial part of a regional identity against West German Catholic domination.

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