This article discusses the possibility and consequences of the idea, concept, and discourses of freedom and free choice in apostasy. The issue is explored from theoretical perspectives of discrepancy, rational choice, and free will and grounded with examples from original research on Finnish ex-Pentecostals and comparison to previous research on apostasy. The article claims that even though our choices are influenced and our freedom is limited by our personal attributes, personal and social environments, and backgrounds, the subjective assertion, belief, and experience of freedom is essential to apostates’ wellbeing and new identity.
Croatian society is traditionally and dominantly religious (Catholic), and there are few organizations that gather together nonreligious people and atheists. Starting from three theoretical perspectives on organized nonreligiosity (identity theory, cultural approach to social movements theory, and mediatization theory) this article’s aim is to analyze various strategies these organizations employ in the context of their online activities. The observed strategies function inwardly (forming identity and strengthening the intragroup solidarity) and outwardly (trying to attract new members and sympathizers and to ‘demystify’ nonreligiosity and atheism). The study is based on the content analysis (deductive and inductive) that included materials posted on web pages and official Facebook pages of nonreligious and atheistic organizations in Croatia. In the first phase materials were analyzed with respect to four predetermined strategies (competitiveness/ cooperation, minority discourse, religious mimicry, exposing religion), while in the second phase inductive analysis revealed three additional strategies (inversion, reclaiming patriotism, and reclaiming spirituality).
Since the turn of the millennium, the Orthodox Church of Finland has welcomed up to 1,000 new members annually, excluding infant baptisms. This is over 1.5 percent of the church’s current total membership. In this study, I investigate Finnish cultural workers’ transitions to Orthodox Christianity, based on interviews of twenty-nine people. As a theoretical framework, I use Henri Gooren’s conversion career approach. My interlocutors’ narratives demonstrate how the appeal of Orthodoxy is constructed vis-à-vis the Lutheran-dominated religious and cultural landscape. Another key finding is the overlapping influence of life crises, social networks, and character traits on processes of individual religious change.