The House of Prayer culture in Norway has weakened. Old buildings are being sold, and end up as everything from car storerooms, to restaurants and art galleries.
‘The places have become superfluous in terms of activity and interest. Many of them were built at a time when leisure habits, communication, and settlement patterns were completely different than they are today’, said Olav Aagedal, a sociologist of religion, at the Department of Church, Religions and Life Research, to NRK news.
Aagedal said that there has been a clear decline in the number of places of worship in Norway. In addition to the fact that the places of worship are no longer used, some become empty because they are replaced by larger premises elsewhere.
Birger Økland, who bought Foldrøy House of Worship at Bømlo in Hordaland three years ago, has now put the building up for sale. He has his own theory about why there are fewer churches in Norway.
‘I think much of the reason is that we are doing so well in every way that we no longer need a God. It looks like this at least.
Maybe we’ll resort to God if there are bad times again’, he said. Why Birger Økland, who’s speciality in connection to the property he purchased appears to have been financial speculation, would know more about this than anybody else, wasn’t explained.
There are approximately 3,000 Houses of Prayer in Norway today, according to Store Norwegian dictionary, but the exact number is uncertain.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today