European religious faith

Old Jan 21st, 2001, 09:57 AM
  #1  
Kent
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European religious faith

Europe has hundreds of the most beautiful churches ever built yet religious faith has collapsed in much of Europe. Why? And, from a tourist point-of-view, who will take physical care of these architectural marvels when there are so few parishioners attending them? I'm told that, in the UK, Tony Blair wants to spend much less on tending these churches and many of the less famous will be allowed to decay as they stand.
 
Old Jan 21st, 2001, 11:59 AM
  #2  
Florence
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Why ? because separation between church and state and religious diversity is a reality here.

As for the buildings, they are considered an important cultural asset to everyone, regardless of personal faith, and not only as a way of getting money from tourists; therefore they'll be taken care of, except in countries that value money over everything.
 
Old Jan 21st, 2001, 12:25 PM
  #3  
Sheila
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And whilst your basic premise may be correct, whatever else one thinks of Blair, he himself is very religious indeed "churchy" I have certainly never heard such an opinion expressed by him.
 
Old Jan 21st, 2001, 12:37 PM
  #4  
clairobscur
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Well...faith has nothing to with the beaty of cult buildings. Why faith collapsed so much in Europe...Well, I think I could ask this question the other way around : how, in a modern world so full of new ideas, faith managed to stay so living in the States?

Concerning the churches : I don't know for other countries, but in France, the cathedrals are owned by the state, and the other churches by the towns or municipalities.
So, it's the civil authorities who take care of the buildings, and the Church contribution tends to be very limited (let alone the local community of believers). As they're usually the most important local monument (or the only one), there's usually no problem, even though most of the people don't care about religion and never attend a religious service.
However, it can happen that the renovation of a church become a local issue, due to its cost. I saw that in the little village where I've been brought up, where people were close to a civil war.

I'm not sure of the status of the most recent buildings ( Church properties have been seized during the revolution), but I think that the newly built Evry cathedral (near Paris), for instance, is owned by the catholic Church. In the same way, the main Paris mosque (*) if, AFAIK, owned by an association grouping several islamic states.

Concerning the upkeep of monuments, there's much more problems here with the numerous castles (I'm not speaking of the famous ones, like the Loire Valley castles,of course)than with the churches, which are usually maintained in a very good shape, even in the more secluded places.

* : by the way, the mosque (traditionnal style) is really a fine and beautiful place to drink a minted tea, taste some oriental pastries or even go to the hamman, but halas more and more people, including foreign tourists, have heard of it...perhaps I should have stay quiet, but anyway it's too late..it's situated in the 5th arrondissement, close to the "jardin des plantes" .
This part of Paris, though not heavily touristed, could be an interesting spot to spend an afternoon. One could choose to visit a museum : "museum d'histoire naturelle", "institut du monde arabe", a mineralogy gallery, (there's one in the "jardin des plantes" and another very close but more difficult to find in the modern Jussieu university),etc...pay a quick visit to the (not that interesting) arenas, walk in the jardin des plantes garden, drink a tea at the mosque, follow the quite famous rue Mouffetard (warning : most of the restaurants there aren't really good, but they're quite cheap)and end visiting the Pantheon church (well..in fact an afternoon could be not enough)
 
Old Jan 21st, 2001, 02:04 PM
  #5  
Marie
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I'm not convinced that religious faith has collapsed in Europe. I believe faith is alive and kicking. What has deterioriated in the past few decades is church attendance. Church attendance and religious faith are not necessarily synonyms.

A city tour guide told us in Copenhagen
"Scandinavians go to church three times in their life -- when they're hatched, matched, and dispatched." Marie
 
Old Jan 21st, 2001, 11:27 PM
  #6  
Paige
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There's no separation of church and state in Bavaria (all of Germany?)! The government will levy a religion tax of 10% if you choose a religion on your tax form.
As for the rest of Europe, I don't see where religious faith has collapsed. Southern Europe seems especially religous.
 
Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 01:29 AM
  #7  
kate
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The grand churches and cathedrals were built at a time in our history when religion was very much synonymous with the power of the state. Religion was used as a tool to keep the workers in quiet fear and to glorify the rulers. Whether you have faith or not, you have to understand that many of these buildings have more to do with corruption and fear than the glory of god. So the fact that attendance has dropped dramatically is hardly surprising. Perhaps it's because we don't get chucked into prison anymore if we don't go. Well thank God for that.
 
Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 01:39 AM
  #8  
frank
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As the level of education increases, the level of faith decreases - this is universal.
Religious faith is deepest in areas of the world with least education and is collapsing where educational standards are high.Fact.
I offer no explanation for these facts, except that it makes more obvious the conflict between religion and rationalism.
As for the buildings, we use many as bars, discos, casinos etc.They will stand or fall (literally) on their architectural merit.
 
Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 03:00 AM
  #9  
Hans H
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Paige: Yes, the church tax is levied in all of Germany. If everybody paying the tax would attend church, they would be full, so the financial situation of the German religious organizations is good. This doesn't mean that the state and the church aren't seperated, they are just in other ways seperated than for example in the USA. The state supports the religious organizations (doesn't depend upon the faith) in financial ways which would be unthinkable in the USA. On the other hand, shows of faith by politicians commonly displayed in the USA, aren't acceptable political behaviour in Germany. Many people would feel uneasy about the influence of religion upon a politician and I guess that the equivalent of "God bless America" spoken by the German chnacellor, would result in a major political debate. Religious organizations have a lot of members and thus they get financial support by the state and have influence upon decisions. But this is also true for other organizations with a lot of members and if it is possible to financially support a soccer stadion, why shouldn't one support a church building? God or religious considerations don't enter the discussion and belong in the private life.

kate: For example the Cathedral of Cologne was started by the citizens and not by the archbishop, who was also a worldly ruler. He was later thrown out of Cologne and resided in Bonn. Up to now, the Cathedral is owned by a private organization and not by the catholic church. Theoretically, the archbishop of Cologne has to ask for a permission if he wants to use the cathedral. Building the cathedral was a show of faith but also of pride in the own city and in the position the citizens had against the nobility. A city like Cologne was a free imperial city, subject only to the Emperor. As such, the city was as independend as any noble ruler of one of the German states. The citizens were proud of their rights and they liked to show this pride to the rest of the world. You can often find the situation that a city built its "own" church, sometime confronting the church of the local bishop and you can bet that they made sure that theirs was bigger.
 
Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 03:59 AM
  #10  
Tony Hughes
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We finally saw through the biggest con of all time.
 
Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 04:04 AM
  #11  
Paige
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Hans, that's interesting. Thanks. One thing I really like about living in Germany is that people seem to look on religion as a private matter. In the 2 1/2 years that I've lived here, not one person has preached to me, tried to convert me or even discussed their religious views with me. I agree that the U.S. doesn't always do such a good job of keeping church and state separate. The laws do, of course, but individual politicians seem to think they and their religion are above that.
 
Old Jan 23rd, 2001, 11:47 AM
  #12  
carolyn
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1. Odd to see cathedrals referred to as "cult buildings."

2. I know a lot of educated people who are believers.

3. The first amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from it.
 
Old Jan 23rd, 2001, 11:58 AM
  #13  
Caitlin
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Carolyn, your third statement is a little off, in that it is a blanket statement regarding something that is and has been debated since the time the first ten amendments were adopted. The US Supreme Court, which is the arbiter of constitutional interpretation, has neither set nor adhered to any overriding precedent that settles the "freedom of" vs. "freedom from" question.
 
Old Jan 23rd, 2001, 01:19 PM
  #14  
Frank
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Sometimes countries turn their backs on religion and do shameful things like what the Germans, Russians and Chinese have done this century. Currently, post-Christian nations of the world conduct their own holocaust called abortion. Millions killed each year. We live in a time of affluent barbarism.

And for the barb about rationalism and intelligence, I'd say that rationalism spawned the French Revolution, the nationalism which caused World War One, Marxist-communism and Nazism. As Chesterton once wrote, the atheist doesn't believe in nothing, he believes in everything. He was painting with too broad a brush, but he has a point.
And, as for intelligence, one of the smartest blokes of the century was CS Lewis. Some of the dumbest are the non-religious who post naked pictures of themselves and their women on the plethora of Internet sites.
 
Old Jan 23rd, 2001, 02:09 PM
  #15  
clairobscur
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Carolyn :

1) I used "cult building" since I didn't know of any english word synonymous with "church", or which would encompass synagogues, mosques, etc..So I used a litteral translation from french, hoping that readers would understand what I meant.

2) No doubt that there's educated believers. But it's fairly obvious too that in the western world the progress in knowledge have provoked a decrease of the religious faith.

3) I've no opinion about your constitution, but I would be frightened by a major world power which would not allow the freedom *from* religion. I think nobody needs a 280 millions people
Afghanistan armed with nuclear missiles.
 
Old Feb 16th, 2001, 07:36 AM
  #16  
kate
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Agreed. It scares the hell out of me that US politicians bang on about good christian values all the time. How does that make Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddists, atheists etc feel? Surely America is a vastly multicultural society, or do only the white middle class have the moral prerogative. It's practically medieval!

And of course Frank, no mortal crimes have ever been committed or wars raged in the name of religion, have they?????????????!

Actually I live in a converted church which makes a fantastic home, so perhaps these "cult" buildings aren't pointless after all.
 
Old Feb 20th, 2001, 03:59 AM
  #17  
Rich
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But we made the bleeding country, didn't we Kate.
 
Old Feb 20th, 2001, 04:17 AM
  #18  
kate
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Oh no, does that mean I'm related to Dubya?!!

And if it's our fault (as everything always is), then why isn't it the same here?
 
Old Feb 20th, 2001, 04:34 AM
  #19  
Lily
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Advanced education has less to do with the decline of religion than one might think.

Corruption of morality has more to do with the decline.

As for religious buildings, the big old beautiful ones we like to tour are just too expensive to keep going in alot of cases.
 
Old Feb 20th, 2001, 04:49 AM
  #20  
Florence
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Lily,

So all we European who don't have a religious faith have no morality ?
 

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