European religious faith

Old Feb 20th, 2001, 05:02 AM
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1. Faith isn't the same thing as religion, and neither is identical to morality. Sometimes you find them altogether which is, so to speak, a blessing. But religion to me is like placing a brand-name on faith and thereby can carry all kinds of extraneous limitations, accessories and requirements that get adherents in trouble. Big example: the idea that subscribing to any particular religion or sect means bashing every other one.

2. In the US, religion (not faith) seems to be all tied up in our economic and political self-definition. We've justified all kinds of nonsense by referring to that oft-misquoted Amendment ('Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...') and piously assuming that having money and power is proof of morality -- specifically of the Christian sort. By defining the US in terms of having been founded by oppressed religious zealots, we continue to kid ourselves that internal problems have nothing to do with age-old racial and ethno-cultural divisions. So we get self-congratulatory and pious about dominant religions. Europe has had experience of diversity for much longer -- not necessarily doing well with the issue, mind you -- but those who have either faith or religion or both are much less likely to make it center-stage in the political arena (with the glaring exceptions at the far east and west of the region).

3. Re:maintenance of architectural shrines. In Europe tourists are already beginning to take on the cost in a number of places! Ever pay many pesetas, lire, or francs to ascend to the top of a church tower? In the US we put our money into other architectural monuments -- sports arenas, malls, and theme parks come to mind. Yes, we are definitely a nation of cultists.

Old Feb 20th, 2001, 06:06 AM
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Florence I am terribly sorry that you misunderstood my statements.

1. I would NEVER put people of Europe into a separate category from the rest of the world.

2. My statement "Corruption of morality
has more to do with the decline (of religion than advanced education)" has Nothing to do with YOUR religious faith vs. YOUR morality.

3. It is impossible to have religious faith without morality.
Old Feb 20th, 2001, 06:10 AM
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I should add that although education drives out religion, being educated doesn't mean being right!!!
A good education leads one not to accept facts without evidence and to consider alternative explanations.
Religious doctrine, in the main, says "We are right & the rest of you are going to Hell." or worse.
I'm afraid that's what I was taught in school, which meant that half my family, including my mother, were evil etc. etc.
No wonder I packed it in.
I'm afraid multicultural values don't sit well with with most religions.Thats another reason for the death of doctrine - the world is getting too small for all these guys to co-exist - they can't all be right you know!
Most Europeans look on religious fanatics with deep suspicion, due to the well known intolerance of pious people.We have a lot of people trying to get along in a shrinking continent, these are not the attitudes we need.The US does not seem to have developed this view yet, or am I wrong?
The churches will be looked after if they are good buildings.
NB: anyone disagreeing will have their hands cut off...
Old Feb 20th, 2001, 08:48 AM
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Frank, you summed things up beautifully.

Lily, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Buddhist and Hindus in Sri-Lanka, paedophile priests and the bishops that have done nothing although knowing what they were up to, to name just a few, all hold deep religious faith, but I would not rate their morality very highly.
Old Feb 20th, 2001, 10:37 AM
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The atheistic faiths of Revolutionary France, Nazi Germany and communist Russia, China, Vietnam, Bulgaria, North Korea, East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, Hungary, Albania, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Moldavia, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Macedonia, Laos, Cambodia, Slovenia, Massachusetts (just kidding!)etc., etc. etc. have killed millions and millions more than any "irrational and senseless" religion. When a country turns its back on religion, anything goes, as Chesterton once said. Today all Western nations but Ireland practice fetal infanticide.
Old Feb 20th, 2001, 12:12 PM
Ben Haines
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Clairobscur is of course right about France, but in Britain and I think Germany the state carries no duties towards the cathedrals and churches. In Germany the state collects taxes from those who declare they want to pay them, but not from others. In Britain the people who keep these fine buildings standing are in part the churchgoers, but more so the people who live nearby, whether they go to church or not, because they like having the building among them. These days there are funds, too, from the lottery board. This is useful, because church attendance is in steady decline in Britain -- and I think in Ireland and Scandinavia.

All over Europe, you tourists are valuable supporters of such buildings. The more so, in that such places at St Paul's Cathedral in London and Canterbury Cathedral now charge a fairly high admission fee. They did it to cut the crowding, but a pleasant side effect is a steady income.

Ben Haines, London

Old Feb 20th, 2001, 02:50 PM
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Separation of church and state is an American invention, and a great one. Just look at what went on in Ireland for hundreds of years if you want evidence for keeping the two apart. Remember: no priest went hungry during the Famine.

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