As confirmation time approaches many young people face a big choice: should they be confirmed in the church or with humanism?
– It’s always a matter of me asserting myself in the humanities, says Oda Acvik (15).
She sits with 80 other graduates in the concert hall at Stormen in Bodo, where they are having a dress rehearsal for tomorrow’s big ceremony.
Agwick and other confirmation candidates are not alone in this, as this year saw a record number of people opting for humanitarian confirmation.
According to statistics from the Human-Ethical Association, 15,041 young people in Norway choose humanistic confirmation, which is 1,300 more than last year.
– My brother did it with humanism, so the family is not particularly religious, says Acvik.
Next to him is Christian Steinstatter-Sandmo (14), who is also confirmed in the humanities. She was very clear in her choice.
– I was very early in knowing what I believed in, says Sandmo.
In Bodo alone, youth opting for humanitarian commitment has almost doubled in the last five years from 119 to 227.
– I think it will be more open, so more people can do it, and choose for themselves, says Agvik.
Trond Enger, general secretary of the Society for Human Ethics, says it’s no surprise that more people are opting for humane affirmation.
– Confirmation of humanity is considered a Norwegian tradition like any other ceremony. Additionally, more and more people are getting to know about this offer and availing it, and we have the offer in many places in the country, so more people are availing the opportunity.
For the Church of Norway, the trend is the opposite. In 2022, for the first time, less than half of the confirmation cohort did not receive church confirmation.
The Church of Norway does not yet have clear figures on how many people will be confirmed with them this year, but the number in 2022 is 32,500.
– It is slowly decreasing, but the proportion of our baptized who choose to be confirmed remains stable at almost 80 percent, says Norwegian Department Director for Church Studies and Ecumenism John Christian Kielland.
They will change the syllabus
Kieland believes the changes are largely explained by population growth, where you get a society made up of many religions and views of life.
– Then there will be fewer baptized and confirmed in the Church of Norway. At the same time, 5-6 percent of under-15s are confirmed in another class, he says.
– We are watching The vacancies contribute to fewer people being confirmed in the Church of Norway. About monday For example He believes that in a small place without a priest, confirmation of young people becomes less attractive because you don’t know the priest.
Kielland says they are well aware of the numbers and are working on measures to make confirmation more attractive in the Church of Norway.
– Our natural goal is that everyone baptized in the church is confirmed with us, so we must try to raise that number.
– We are working on revising our curriculum for the confirmation period, making registration easier and working to ensure more congregations offer camps.
Kåre Sigvald Fuglseth is a professor vTeacher training at Nord University, Bodo, he teaches at KRLE.
He says it’s interesting how confirmation has grown based on community.
– It is surprising that an old Christian tradition connected with baptism has become one more Secular tradition. That could be the link It is a ritual in Lutheran state churches.
The tradition is almost gone
Fukleth believes that it is interesting to compare Norway and Sweden.
– In Sweden, the tradition has completely disappeared. The Swedish Church confirms only a quarter of the rubbish in Sweden. That didn’t happen here, where the church and humanity are more than 80 percent.
The professor explains that the fact that in Norway you can choose different directions may have helped to continue the confirmation tradition.
– In that sense, one can imagine that humanitarian confirmation helped strengthen the Church, not the other way around.
Humanist confirmation has strengthened the Church
Fugleth believes that the increase in humane stabilization may be due to the longer termecularization processAnd describes that we will have a society with many different directions to choose from.
– Old traditions become something you have to choose from. This can create uncertain situations where many people have to try to find their own way and create other options. Behind the church activities there will be a vacuum that needs to be filled with something, and then humanistic confirmation is a way to fill it.
Keeping the tradition strong together
The Norwegian Church and the Human-Ethical Society found the professor’s theory interesting.
– We don’t have a documented connection to this in Norway, but it’s an interesting theory. “Having more offerings makes confirmation more common, and I find that can help the church as well,” says Kieland.
Together with the Church of Norway, he believes they are responsible for the best tradition where families can mark their youth and celebrate it in a sacred way.
– but Enger says that the fact that people have a choice about where to be confirmed is a key reason why tradition is strong in Norway.
Aakvik and Sandmo were confirmed on May 13 and had a great day.
– The ceremony was very nice, the keynote speech was very moving, says Acvik.
– Sandmo says it’s a good day with friends and family.
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