Secularism in Estonian society

This does not mean, however, that Estonians are by nature non-religious. The religiosity of Estonians is simply extremely privatised — religious convictions are considered private and public discussion of religious questions are not generally practised. This is not an unusual situation in the contemporary world — one can see such privatisation of religion over the entire Western cultural sphere.

Because the total membership of religious organisations is relatively low and the impact of religious institutions on Estonian public life relatively modest, Estonia is best seen as a secular society.

The religious situation in Estonia is not exceptional in the post-modern Western world, at the same time it differs in many aspects from its neighbouring countries. Due to its recent history, the tradition of belonging to a church or some other religious association, has been broken in Estonia. One does not become a member of a congregation automatically at birth. Family-related religious traditions have also been broken for the most part. Thus many living in Estonia today may accept the teaching of a certain faith and more or less follow its traditions, without feeling any need to formally join a religious organisation.

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