Reactions towards different religions.

Discussion in 'Culture' started by irish_chick, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. irish_chick

    irish_chick Member

    I was just wondering how Czechs feel about different religions. Are they more closed or open-minded?
    Do feelings vary between the older and younger generation? If so, how?

  2. Halef

    Halef Well-Known Member

    Religion? What is it?

    Czechs usually do not care, unless you are a Jehova's witness knocking on their door. Most Czechs declare themselves as atheists and have no specific feelings towards any religion (well, islam is a bit less popular, like in most western countries now...).
  3. brigitte

    brigitte Well-Known Member

    I think that is the same for a lot of nations! I think people would be a bit more tolerant of them if they didn't do the knocking bit!

    Another one is the Scientology.... I was stopped in town leading up to Christmas by a guy with a clipboard. He asked me my three wishes in life, but I spotted his pen had Scientology on it - pointed it out to him, and said that sorry, I wasn't interested. After coming out of a shop I noticed he'd disappeared, only to surface 5 mins later with a different pen!.. :lol:
  4. babicka

    babicka Well-Known Member

    I think you may have a point when saying that religion is different for the older generation than the younger generation. My Czech relatives in Prague used to take me to a Catholic church, but this was in this 1960's to early 1970's, and I noticed then that most of the congregation were elderly. Someone mentioned to me at that time that not many young
    people went to church.
    Also during the communist regime any form of religion was banned at one point, so this may also have had an a affect in Czech people's attitudes towards it.
  5. irish_chick

    irish_chick Member

    Do you think there is a chance that the reason why the young people are so turned off by religion is because religious people seem a little "fake" to them?

  6. Frank_pivo_4

    Frank_pivo_4 Well-Known Member

  7. babicka

    babicka Well-Known Member

    Given the Czech Republic's past history under communism when countless people suffered, countless people died, countless families were torn apart, then I think in a young person's eyes that would greatly question their faith in most religions. (Apart from say Buddhism and similar religions who believe in karma etc.)
    For example, if there was a God, why did he let it all happen? If one looks at it from that point of view then they would tend to look on religions as being a "bit" fake.
  8. Frank_pivo_4

    Frank_pivo_4 Well-Known Member

  9. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    Are you crazy? Sounds like a very very bad joke!!!
  10. Malnik

    Malnik Well-Known Member

    The 'older' relatives i have inherited say the same thing. Ok so they had to queue for bread for an least they all had a house and living they say!
  11. iluvuma1

    iluvuma1 Well-Known Member

    I found a very interesting website with interviews of Czech people who lived in the communist era. It is very interesting and honest. It is true a few of the interviewees saw the positive aspects of communism (full employment being most mentioned) the horrors some experienced is hard for most to forget. Check them out:

    here's just one interview:

    The communists ruled Czechoslovakia until the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990's. During this time the Czech government was one of the more liberal communist states compared to other eastern European communist states. In an interview with one of my dad's friends who was born and raised in Czechoslovakia, I tried to explore her life experience during communism and compare it to life in recent years under an open market, capitalist system. At the beginning of the interview she pointed to the fact that the communist government had full control over the flow of information. She says that the communists filtered and adjusted information according to their own plans and propaganda campaign. Although she had a normal life under communism where she didn't suffer physically or emotionally, many of her friends were prosecuted and sometimes even expelled from the country. An example of how the communists controlled people was when they asked people who were actively involved in fights against Nazis were demanded to fight in Russia or other communist countries against the Nazis. People who refused this request were considered traitors and were always persecuted. Also, sometimes their children were even prevented from attending school. They couldn't get decent jobs even though they were intellectuals, so they were usually taxi drivers or miners.

    She belonged to a group of people later on called the "gray mass." This was the majority of the people who didn't cooperate with the regime actively but didn't go against it either. "Looking at it today, the worst part is that the communists prevented people from feeling like human beings, so people became unaware that they are responsible for themselves and that they can decide for themselves." Now after about twelve years, she still notices that people can't get used to the communists not controlling and taking care of them. The regime took away all their personal freedom so a lot of them can't cope with the situation today and live in the free world. Some of her friends signed "Charter 77" which was put together by a group of dissidents headed by Havel. "Anybody who signed Charter 77 was immediately an enemy of the regime." The communists were always after these people and sometimes would even show up at night and their houses and interrogate them. They wouldn't even a llow the children of those who signed the charter to attend school. Some of these people were kicked out of the country to make sure that they didn't spread their ideas among common people. These people were always dangerous for the regime, and it was even dangerous to be friends with them. "It was like a black mark."
    The history that was taught to the children was a bit twisted because the teachers at school would be telling stories or their own explanations of what happened both in Czechoslovakia and worldwide. The communists adjusted all the information that was taught to the children. "When we were asked to speak about history, we knew what the teachers expected us to say but that didn't mean that we believed it." From the age when children started going to school they would develop a certain schizophrenia. They understood that something else was being told at home and there was something else expected from them at school. She learned about history mostly through her family, from her grandparents and other relatives who had lived through these events. This was quite dangerous because if she were to start saying what she learned at home at school, life would become very difficult for her and her family. Luckily, this didn't happen because she, like many other children at such a young age actually understood that what was said at home must not be said at school.

    Some people were able to learn about the crimes that were being committed, for example, from the smuggling of books to Czechoslovakia from western countries. These books were copied by hand and would go from one person to another. People would read them and pass them on to friends. These books from exiled groups of people were available to only a limited number of readers. She was able to grab hold of these books through her friends. From the passing on of these books she was able to meet many people including intellectuals who led a different life from ordinary people because they lived more freely. Thus, being with these people she learned some information that she wouldn't have learned otherwise. The only other source of information that could be accessed and that wasn't filtered by the communists were from Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and BBC, which were about the only regular day-to-day source of information.

    Since she has never lived in a capitalist country it was difficult for her to talk about this subject. As a kid, not knowing anything about capitalism, she was scared when she saw eastern propaganda of demonstrations that would say that this is what is going on in the west. She saw people that were oppressed, the working class was oppressed, and that they went out and protested. " I was under the impression that if I were to live there, this would also happen to me." Later she went to the West several times and there were some things that she wasn't sure she would really like if she were to live there. "There is probably no regime that is perfect, that can accommodate everyone, and that is fair for everyone. It is a question that it would be easier to live under one than the others." She is a great believer in freedom, personal freedom and freedom in every other aspect. She thinks that democracy is probably the best out of all the regimes. People aren't perfect and whenever there is a community with more people you always tend to meet different types of people who have different ideas and different ways of life. A descent regime is one where personality isn't suppressed or oppressed and one doesn't have to torture himself/herself into a model that isn't natural for him/her.

    During the 1989 Velvet Revolution when other countries of the Eastern Bloc were falling apart, she witnessed all types of events and demonstrations where people began expressing themselves. The most common message that they wanted to get through to the people was that "We aren't like you (referring to the communists); we don't want to kill or torture anyone or take revenge; we just want to be free. We want to do things properly from now on, be given a chance to do things that we haven't been able to do before because we were living under the communist regime." When these changes finally took place everybody was full of enthusiasm and they thought that from now on life would be wonderful, but that was only the beginning. Now, after twelve years many Czechs are facing quite serious problems. Communists who were not outlawed are gaining more votes because the situation economically isn't too good and people aren't capable of taking care of themselves. They cannot accept the responsibility for themselves because they have been used to the regime always taking care of them. It prevented them from feeling free but at the same time nobody was jobless or hungry, and everybody was pretty much living a miserable life but not so miserable that she/he didn't have a chance of living. "The regime not only tortured people but it also spoiled them."

    This article was based upon an interview done by Ayla Shahidi

    "We all are equal, but somebody is more equal"

    - George Orwell

    Back to Interviews Homepage
  12. idemtidem

    idemtidem Well-Known Member

    Go ahead and say it to those that were imprisoned for stupid reasons, to those who were persecuted, or killed.

    I think you need to take some more history classes.
  13. czechchris

    czechchris Well-Known Member

    As one of the Jehovah's Witnesses who does the knocking, I must say that many people, both here in the UK and in the Czech Republic, appreciate our visits. Yes, it is true that most are "not interested" and that is fine. We are looking for people who are interested, so telling us that saves some time!

    I have knocked on doors in Prague and in rural parts of the Czech Republic, and had interesting conversations (in my limited czech) with many people.

    Of course, along with many others, Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted by the communists. Interestingly, they regarded us as American capitalist spies.
    In America in the 1940's we were viewed as Communist spies!

    In answer to the original question:
    I have found that the majority of Czech people are fairly apathetic about religion. But that is true of many people around the world. I was surprised at how different the Czechs are from Polish people when it comes to religion - given the similar communist upbringing. Polish people tend to be much more religious.
  14. Karel

    Karel Well-Known Member

    #! By and large, Czechs regard religious people as lesser people.

    #2 By and large, it is only general acceptance of atheism that makes Czechs say what they claim to adhere to. In short, you`d better go with the flow.

    #3 By and large, Czechs do not realize that atheism is a religion as any other.

    #4 To make things worse, some do not know what atheism is about (apart from the belief that there is no God). Opinionated.

    #5 By and large, Czechs are superstitious.(black cats, thirteens and so on).

    #6 Some Czechs, in an attempt to extricate themselves from being superstious, believe that 13 is a lucky number. Funny.

    #7 Some Czechs are fatalists.

    #8 Some Czechs believe in UFO. Just substitute a god for a scientist, angels for a flying saucers, and primitive people for highly intelligent people. And what do you get? Back to square one. The Trinity.

    #9 Tomas Halik, a Czech theologician and sociologist, says that in his experience, many Czechs, after a long discussion give way and swap atheism for what he calls somethism. God? hmm, no, not really. It can`t be. No God? hmm, no, not really. It can`t be either. But something must exist, Mr Halik. Hence the term somethism/necismus.
  15. Frank_pivo_4

    Frank_pivo_4 Well-Known Member

  16. My Czech Republic

    My Czech Republic Administrator

    Hi Frank,

    Please see our Graphics in Signatures announcement. It's not that you have been singled out.

    The My Czech Republic Team
  17. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Karel made an excellent analysis. In short, one can make some generalizations about Czechs and religion, but you can still find anything under the sun. I would only add to Karel's point number 9 (or add as point 10) that many Czechs claim a belief in nature, whatever that really means. Whether this personification (??) of nature is a form of the somethism Karel referred to, or something else, I can't answer.
  18. idemtidem

    idemtidem Well-Known Member

    I would say that the belief in nature means that one doesn't believe in a personal god, one that communicates with humans. It would be a belief in natural and physical laws. I wouldn't necessarily call it personification of nature as it doesn't attribute any intelligence to nature. The nature doesn't choose to act, it just does because of the way it is set up.
    That's my understanding of it!

    Only traitors have problems with communism? :roll:
  19. Frank_pivo_4

    Frank_pivo_4 Well-Known Member

  20. Eva2

    Eva2 Well-Known Member

    Karel wrote:

    >#3 By and large, Czechs do not realize that atheism is a religion as any other.<

    I have a problem with that statement. In order to be a religion, atheism would have to produce a deity/object of worship. Atheism is at best an ideology.

    I think that most Czechs consider themselves atheists only for lack of a better word. In fact, they are agnostics which is a healthy middle road. There is neither a proof of God's existence nor there is a proof of God's non-existence. In true pragmatists, they just don't waste time figuring out the unfigurable. We'll get the answer when we die.

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