Czech Secularism

Czech Secularism - A Non-religious Czech Republic When...

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A Non-religious Czech Republic? When looking at the prevalence of the position of religion and religious values in Europe since World War II, the most discussed themes have been the declining significance of tradition and secularization of most populations. Religious institutions have lost ability to influence in the lives of the majorities in these countries, the frequency of religious practice has dropped, traditional churches and denominations have declined in number, and common beliefs rooted in religious worldview are also fading. Without surprise, those countries in East and Central Europe have experienced the most dramatic downward shifts in secularization and religious influence. In no other former Soviet satellite is this trend more evident than in the Czech Republic. According to a survey on religious values by Norris and Ingleheart in 2004, the Czech Republic was the country most open to religious pluralism and freedom of religion. (131) Interestingly, there are several noticeable pre-existing and currently developing historical, sociological, and spiritual conditions prevalent amongst Czech society that may contribute to religious pluralism. The biggest impacts on this development can be ascribed to the three following factors. Firstly, historical Czech rejection of foreign religion’s entrance into society. Secondly, the secularisation tendencies given by the structural differentiation of modern societies. And lastly, the atheistic propaganda of the communist regime. The conditions of freedom in communist countries behind the Iron Curtain was of course different when compared to the liberality of European nations that were influenced by the Western Allies after 1945. Declining significance of traditional religious values and secularisation had to a great extent, been deliberately supported by these communist regimes. Before 1989, all public functions of religion were suppressed purposely, and religion itself was atheistically interpreted. Through political and religious purges, many religious leaders were systematically removed and church property was confiscated. Hence, religion was taken out of the public sphere and pushed into private, usually illegal organizations. Many forget that even before the Soviets expanded their influence across Eastern Europe, the Czechs were religiously suppressed by the Nazis who saw freedom of religion as a deterrent to the unification of Germanic peoples. Obviously, these historical events and practices encouraged a lack of religious faith amongst all those under communist rule. It has been nearly 22 years since the Velvet Revolution, which signaled the end of Soviet influence
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This note was uploaded on 07/13/2011 for the course PLSC 3963 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '11 term at Arkansas.

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Czech Secularism - A Non-religious Czech Republic When...

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