Religion: An Unsolved Problem for the Modern Czech Nation
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The Czech Republic is widely known as ‘the least religious’ country in the world and most Czechs are quite proud of that fact. The authors, however, challenge both of these characteristics. Czechs might better be considered unchurched than atheist, with various forms of modern New Age spirituality steadily gaining in popularity. Moreover, their reputation for irreligiosity is somewhat questionable, since it is most often based upon communist (and other more historically deep-rooted) anticlerical notions, while people have little real knowledge of the ideas which they so readily reject. These assertions are based both on quantitative data, provided by census returns and ISSP surveys on religion, and on qualitative data, collected in local ethnographic research in the town of Česka Lipa in northern Bohemia, designed along the lines of the Lancaster University Kendal Project in Great Britain. The Czech population can be divided into three ‘blocks’, religionists, spiritualists, and atheists/unbelievers, none of which, however, can be considered uniform in terms of membership or truly mutually exclusive. The authors conclude that traditional religionists of various denominations, the followers of New Age movements, and the ‘rest’ of the population can be seen as three distinctive groups within society and that mutual understanding and acceptance are by no means the norm.
- Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs, Palackého n. 4, 128 01 Prague 2, Czech Republic,
- Institute of Sociology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Jilská 1, 110 00 Prague 1, Czech Republic,
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