Less than half of German Christians will defend the idea of heaven and hell, a new poll has revealed.
The study found a stark disparity between the ancient beliefs of Christianity and the views of most of its German adherents.
Even among free and evangelical Christians – typically the most vociferous – just 49 per cent clearly defended the idea of life after death, according to Evangelical Focus.
Among Catholics that dropped to 40 per cent and among historic Protestants it was as low as 32 per cent.
This was in contrast to German Muslims, 67 per cent of whom defended the idea of life after death.
It comes as attendance at the German evangelical Protestant Church (EKD) reached a new low in 2015. Although it still boasts 22.3 million members – around 27 per cent of the population – just 3.4 per cent regularly attend church.
The poll by social research company Insa-Consulere also highlighted a clear difference in the views of men and women with German women more convinced about the afterlife than men.
Almost a third of Germans believe in some sort of life after death, the study found.
Among women that figure rose to 35 per cent, the survey found, but only 26 per cent of men agreed.
A similar proportion of Germans actively believe in the afterlife as actively don't believe, the study found, with around 30 per cent thinking some kind of life after death existed and 35 per cent saying they did not. Another 28 per cent said they were not sure.