This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Why Eastern Germany is the most godless place on Earth

Why Eastern Germany is the most godless place on Earth - Comments

Balvadhor's Avatar Comment 1 by Balvadhor

It's funny, i was born in eastern germany, but in an deeply religious family, we've gone to church zwice on sunday and once on wednesday. I've stardet to deny my parents religious believes at the ae of 8 or 9, being in church was allways boring, but i've come to an point that i was unwilling to accept that i lern in school about evolution, geology and so on and in church i shall accept that everything was made by god the way it is now. Then we found a huge Rock (3-4m or 12 to 15 feet) as we were digging the hole for the basement, this stone came to our place a couple thousand years ago during on the many ice ages, so i could see that my teachers were right. Like many east germans i'm now living in western germany and like in most countrys faith has still moral value and the two main churches have still some priviliges written in the constitution. Our head governement Cancelor Angela Merkel is pastors daughter and our new president is a pastor. But i hope these religious people will loose ground, people should be informed that all the religious facilities like kindergardenss, schools and so on are funded by the governement by about 90%, but the churches get all the credit and have the absolut domestic power.

Mon, 14 May 2012 10:41:43 UTC | #941373

Bla's Avatar Comment 2 by Bla

Uh, did the article just say

"Researchers found other reasons for atheism in the former East Germany, not least the deep mark left by the National Socialists and the Communists."

The nazis were NOT promoting atheism. Sigh.

http://www.nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm

http://www.nobeliefs.com/mementoes.htm

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/09/list_of_hitler_quotes_in_honor.php

http://www.squidoo.com/hitler-was-a-christian

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwL7m1n6Aak

Mon, 14 May 2012 13:34:34 UTC | #941386

Sinister Weasel's Avatar Comment 3 by Sinister Weasel

I am proud of the correlation between secularism and the quality of life found in such countries. I love Germany and will be visiting again on Monday, but I wasn't aware there was such an East/West divide in religiosity.

Mon, 14 May 2012 14:11:47 UTC | #941390

Reckless Monkey's Avatar Comment 4 by Reckless Monkey

Not sure how to feel about this, if this is a relic of communism banning religion or people simply being inculcated into non-religious belief.

Having said that what we may have here is a kind of educated blank slate they are now free to believe as not as they see fit. Under communism I imagine Religion for some generations has had little effect on them. Now imagine someone coming in and trying to convince of this stuff. Religion has in the past had great success in part because they were going from high technology country (comparatively) to a lower one. If your superior powers do not convince the natives your god is superior then you can always wipe them out. Not in this case, It'd have to be a very hard sell. I've often wondered what argument would convince me to say strap a bomb onto myself and blow myself up. But it's the wrong question if you are brought up in a culture reeking of fundamentalism then you don't have to use an argument, just appeal to emotion.

Mon, 14 May 2012 14:49:18 UTC | #941401

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 5 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator - off topic, and plug for own website

Mon, 14 May 2012 14:56:15 UTC | #941402

MullyROI's Avatar Comment 6 by MullyROI

As an aside, should we be concerned about initiatives such as “Celebration of a New Life Phase”? I can't help but feel that countries that are naturally atheistic (i.e. those which have not had ridiculous beliefs forced on children) are not innoculated (to use the disease analogy) against the nonsense spewed by such people. In Ireland for example, most people are not devoutly religious but will claim to be Catholic. I live in a country where 93% of people are Catholic but only 72% believe in God (how's that work?). In any case, this mild Catholicism, while abhorrent puts me in mind of a cowpox that gives some immunity to the more dangerous smallpox of evangelicalism. East Germany etc. does not have this innoculation and so I feel we concentrate some of our efforts there. Something of a shoring up the base may be in order before we find ourselves swamped by nonsense in formerly rational lands. Prevention is the best cure.

Mon, 14 May 2012 16:37:07 UTC | #941423

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 7 by Alan4discussion

Comment 2 by Bla

Uh, did the article just say

"Researchers found other reasons for atheism in the former East Germany, not least the deep mark left by the National Socialists and the Communists."

http://www.nobeliefs.com/mementoes.htm

This could be read as a reaction against the combined NAZI/Xtian culture promoted by Hitler, (as illustrated in the mementos link), looking back from the communist regime viewpoint.

Mon, 14 May 2012 19:31:56 UTC | #941463

Sigbert's Avatar Comment 8 by Sigbert

Having grown up in East Germany and living there again at the moment, I would advise everyone to take the article’s content with a grain of salt. The author is a lecturer at the Lutheran Church’s journalist school, so I would hardly call him objective.

A number of bishops and other muppets get to whine in this article, but no atheists were interviewed. They are probably too hard to find in a population were two thirds of the people are atheist.

In his history description, he conveniently skips from early Slavic settlement to the modern era, ignoring anything the church might have messed up itself. East Germany is the area where the sale of indulgences was so rampant that resistance formed, which triggered Luther to start the reformation.

As a consequence, there was a series of religious wars culminating in the Thirty Years War. Those left large parts of what is now East Germany depopulated. Brandenburg and later Prussia and states in Thuringia were faced with a significant lack of manpower – the Prussian kings were forced to adopt religious tolerance and started mandatory education to keep army and treasury funded.

Needless to say, large parts of the church managed to slime up to the National Socialist and Communist governments in later times, that flexibility did not leave too good an impression on most people either.

Mon, 14 May 2012 21:12:55 UTC | #941482

GerhardW's Avatar Comment 9 by GerhardW

Two weekends ago, I did my own Field research in my Home-Village in very Catholic southern Germany. My Father died a Year ago. Therfore my Mother bought a Prayer for him (for paying EUR 2.50 to the Church, the Priest mentions among others the Names of deceased Persons within the Prayer...). She did this more or less, because ist´s the way it is. And because the neighbors could think bad otherwise, She asked us to come along. I went along with one of my (also atheist) Brothers, his somewhat more or less believing Wife, Son and Daughter and my Mother to the Catholic Church. It´s some sort of fun, when I go to Church due to Family reason. You have to know, that me and my two Brothers are quite tall, I am 1.98 Metres and my Brothers are 2.02 and 2.03. And I like the look of the Priests face, when we cross the Hands on the Back, look annoyed or just ignore anything while the Others recite their Creed.
Now back to the normal Church Service in my home Village some 14 Days ago. Wenn, there are 2400 Inhabitants in the Village with at least 1800 so called Catholics. What do you think, how many were actually in Church? Wel, there were around 30 People around or over 65 Years old, mostly women, 2 younger Women, a young man of polish heritage with 2 Children around 3-5 Years old, 2 Altar servers (one of them female), the (also female) Sacristan and the Priest. All in all 48 People (including 2 Atheists..). That were around 2.6 % of all Catholics in the Village. And this in a Village, where only 50 Years ago, Children had to bring a written Excuse from their Parents to Religious Education in School, when they havent visited Church the Sunday before, or face physical beating through the Priest (if they were lucky). This stopped in the early 60s only, after some Parents threatend to reverse the "Favor" to the Priest...

Mon, 14 May 2012 22:35:21 UTC | #941489

OS-CA's Avatar Comment 10 by OS-CA

I grew up in East Germany and was certainly badly indoctrinated by communism. It was not really that we were told that religion and believe in a deity is contemptible. Rather, the topic just never came up. Not at home nor at school. However, Christmas and Easter were national holidays even in East Germany. I visited dozens of beautiful churches in East-Germany and other East-Block countries, but to subscribe to their dogma because I liked the architecture simply never crossed my mind. I moved to the US in 2000 and frankly have never even heard the term Creationism used as anything but a tale, even by the religious. Until I got to the most powerful, arguably most advanced country on earth that is...

Tue, 15 May 2012 01:53:43 UTC | #941515