An European perspective
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06-12-2012, 08:25 PM
An European perspective
First i would like to introduce myself since I'm a new user on these forums. I'm 20 years old man and i live in Finland. I've been following the podcash for quite a long time now and It's been very interesting. Before i discovered this whole american atheism/christianity debate i thought USA was similiar to Finland and rest of the Europe in the matter. I would like to give my perspective and tell a little bit about how religion is shown here.

I was born in a typical finnish family. Both of my parents belong in the protestant state church of Finland and the only times I've been in a chruch with my family have been the my confirmation ceremony (before you think i was a christian believer read on), funerals of my grandmothers and a visit at an orthtodox church in Helsinki. The only time religion was "discussed" in my home was once when i asked my mother does she believe in God. She dodged the question and I didn't get a strait answer. The confirmation ceremony is something almost every kid goes to here. It is preceded usually by a week-long camp where they teach you about christianity and the bible. The camp is very mild compared to what I've heard american kids goe through. At the age of 18 I resigned from the state church online.

Religion and the God is present in many state events. As the cristmas is approaching the annual presidents declaration of cristmas peace speech is an excelent example. It begins "Tomorrow, If God is willing, is our Lord's and our Saviors gracious brithday and thus is declared general peace of christmas..." and so on. Church ceremonies are shown in the national TV channel, there is a church tax for all bussinesses and individuals who belong in the church, during the military service if you belong in the chruch you have to take part in church ceremonies (I didn't belong in the church and nobody didn't seem to care) and take an oath in the name of God and the state, christianity is taught I think in too much detail in the elementary school (they teach all about what Jesus supposedly did and the line between reality and fiction fades away sometimes but they teach also about other religions), the schools holiday celebrations have religios nuances, when i was in high school there was once a week a mornings opening speech held by somebody from the church.

Even with all this promotion of religion done by the goverment I've met only TWO people in my life who have openly declared to believe in God and the other one wasn't even born in Finland. Religion is not discussed in public and there is no debate between differend christian believes and atheist. In fact in my day to day life I don't see religion anywhere. You might ask how on earth this is possible. I think because the church's only income is the church tax, which really is not that big, the church doesn't have recources to reach to people, there are no megachurches in Finland. Parents don't take their kids to church so religion slowly fades away after the teenage years. Most people are "habit" christians, they don't really believe but they are in the church. Strong religious belief is looked down on, there have even been cases when strong belief have cause one trouble in work place, but mostly here is an attitute "my believes are my bussness". Because we have one and only state church all the other "non-official" christian believes are seen as crazy.

Hopefully you found this interesting. Rolleyes
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07-12-2012, 01:04 AM
RE: An European perspective
Welcome to the forum.

It's weird to hear about a "state" religion, since we don't have that (yet) in the US, but it's even stranger to hear about a state religion that isn't imposed by the state. I'm sure if the Christians get their way here and dissolve the separation between church and state, Christianity will be immediately implemented nation-wide, schools will be required to teach it (and conversely not teach non-creationist science or history), taxes will be implemented to support churches (much like you already have), and massive persecution of all non-Christians would immediately commence - lost jobs, no social activity, etc. Might as well convert or leave the country. Yeah, it would be that bad (it's almost that bad in places already, without the federal or state government backing it legally).

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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07-12-2012, 01:59 AM
RE: An European perspective
Sounds like Finland has some things over Aus in regards to religion and such.

Though I think I would have been kicked out of school if I had to put of with Jebus being stuffed down my throat in the way you describe.

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
"Anti-environmentalism is like standing in front of a forest and going 'quick kill them they're coming right for us!'" - Jake Farr-Wharton, The Imaginary Friend Show.
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07-12-2012, 02:03 AM
RE: An European perspective
I did find it interesting and welcome!

But the question on everyone's mind (or at least on mine) is: Do you know Tero Pitkämäki? Drinking Beverage

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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07-12-2012, 02:11 AM
RE: An European perspective
I had to Google that and:

The fuck does a javelin thrower have to do with anything?

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
"Anti-environmentalism is like standing in front of a forest and going 'quick kill them they're coming right for us!'" - Jake Farr-Wharton, The Imaginary Friend Show.
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07-12-2012, 02:20 AM
RE: An European perspective
(07-12-2012 02:11 AM)Free Thought Wrote:  I had to Google that and:

The fuck does a javelin thrower have to do with anything?
He has to do with everything, silly, when he looks like this Drinking Beverage

[Image: 292210053.jpg]

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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07-12-2012, 02:23 AM
RE: An European perspective
Looks like he's stuck up his own javelin.

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
"Anti-environmentalism is like standing in front of a forest and going 'quick kill them they're coming right for us!'" - Jake Farr-Wharton, The Imaginary Friend Show.
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07-12-2012, 02:25 AM (This post was last modified: 07-12-2012 02:29 AM by European Atheist.)
RE: An European perspective
Now that I think of it I remember we had daily prayer led by the school on the 5th grade. I've lived in many places and been to many schools around Finland but there was only this one school where this happened.

I do not want you to get the wrong idea. Me or any other kinds were not raised to believe in God by the goverment. It's hard to discribe, religion was just there, in all the ceremonies and such and after the events it just disappeared, like some kind of "let's get this over with" mentality. Religion never showed up in our own time. For a long time I didn't know what prayer even was nor do I still fully understand the point of a prayer that is led by somebody.

The atheist community here doesn't keep much noise. But from time to time they do something crazy like change bibles to porn magazines on the streets. They get a little attention if they do something like this but nobody finds it's offensive.

If there are other Europeans here i would love to hear whats it like in your country.


(07-12-2012 02:03 AM)Vera Wrote:  I did find it interesting and welcome!

But the question on everyone's mind (or at least on mine) is: Do you know Tero Pitkämäki? Drinking Beverage
Haha, yes, but not personally ofc.


PS. there is a cross even in our flag.
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07-12-2012, 02:27 AM
RE: An European perspective
There are plenty of other Europeans here, I am sure.

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
"Anti-environmentalism is like standing in front of a forest and going 'quick kill them they're coming right for us!'" - Jake Farr-Wharton, The Imaginary Friend Show.
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07-12-2012, 02:34 AM
RE: An European perspective
When it comes to Tero, I'm like a fundie with their fingers in their ears.

Sorry about that European Atheist, but everyone who knows me, knows about my undying love for Tero, so I just couldn't help myself Drinking Beverage

It's somewhat similar over here, too, only we do not really have confirmation. Most people would say they are Xian and would even go to church to light a candle, but in most cases it's nothing more than superstition. So other than funerals, weddings, Xmas and Easter (which is the bigger of the two in Eastern Orthodoxy), as well as a couple other holidays, religion doesn't play to great a role....

Actually, no, I lied. It does play a bigger role, like people would call priests to say a prayer for health and prosperity when they open a new office, build a new house and stuff like this, but I maintain it's just superstition and tradition (and people still enjoying the freedom to do it, as they couldn't before the fall of communism).

But you are very much ahead of us in terms of open-mindedness and lack of woo in your everyday lives.

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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