Most German citizens are Christians. Northerners are usually Protestant, while the south has more Catholics. There are also communities of Jews, Muslims, Mormons and other faiths throughout the country.

Germany has played an important role in Christian history. Martin Luther began the movement that became the Reformation when he denounced corruption in the Catholic Church in 1517. Today, the German form of Protestantism is called Lutheranism. Many important theologians have come from Germany, including Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-45), who died in a Nazi prison camp because he criticized the Nazis.

Germany is one of the few countries that has a mandatory church tax (Kirchensteuer). Christianreligion is still taught in schools in Germany and the church finances part of the school system. Germany is becoming more secular, however, and the influence of the church is less apparent. Nowadays most Germans attend church only for special holidays, weddings, baptisms and funerals.

There about about 2 million Muslims, mostly Turkish people who have come to Germany as Gastarbeiter, and there are many mosques throughout Germany. Before the destruction of Jewish communities during the Holocaust in the Second World War, German Jews contributed greatly to Germany's cultural and economic life. Now there are only about 54,000 Jewish people in Germany, mostly in Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich. Since reunification, Jewish communities in eastern cities such as Leipzig and Dresden are once again developing an active community life.

 Did you know?
In 1632, the villagers of Oberammergau in Bavaria promised to perform a Passion Play if the village was spared from the plague that was killing many Europeans. No one in the village died from the plague and the villagers have performed the play every ten years since then. Almost everyone in the village takes part.