Department of Sociology

The Religious Beliefs of Priests in the Church of Sweden

Researcher: Erika Willander, Ph.D.  (Church of Sweden's Unit for Analysis)

Funding: Research position in sociology at Church of Sweden’s Unit for Analysis

The project called "The Religious Belief's of Priests in the Church of Sweden" is based on findings from a project published in Eriksson (2012) Att predika en tradition [To Preach a Tradition]. By analyzing a representative sample of sermons, Eriksson found that gaps between the Church of Sweden's creed and the message in the sermons. In order to find out if this gap is due to differences in the priests' religious beliefs, a survey study was conducted. The same survey also asked the priests how they subjectively positioned themselves in relation to the Church of Sweden's creed. The outcome of the present project is therefore twofold: A mapping of the most common interpretations of the Christian dogma and insight into the type of interpretations that the priests find to be in line with the Church of Sweden creed. In a sociological perspective, this type of result is of note since priests religious beliefs has been much less studied then, for example, lay people's beliefs in Sweden. The project is carried out in a collaboration with theologian Niclas Blåder at the Church of Sweden's Unit for Research.