10 April 2007

The French have it right

A little link love for Stew on A Night on the Tiles, who shows the results of a recent poll in France where Catholicism is falling by the wayside. While 59% are Catholic, most are only culturally so, with only 38% of french people stating that they believe in God. If only I weren't a unilingual anglophone.

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At April 10, 2007 4:35 p.m., Blogger Stew said...

Re: your comment on any excuse for a feast - I'm still formulating my thoughts for a blog entry on how I'm atheist, but love tradition.
I love seeing people go to church for the old services - Ash Wednesday, Palm Friday, eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Having a big lamb dinner on Easter and hot cross buns. I absolutely love all that shit, and if mankind ever grows up and ditches mumbo jumbo and superstition, I'll be sad when all that stuff gets forgotten.

At April 10, 2007 4:47 p.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

There's nothing wrong with tradition if you revere it for the sense of community rather than for any bogus religious significance. Hell, most people don't give a rats ass about Jesus during Christmas anyway.

You don't have to have religion to have tradition. We might unfortunately lose some parts of the ceremony (the church stuff would be gone), but I'm sure we'll still be eating pancakes. Most of the more popular churches don't have anything special for the Ash Wednesday etc anymore anyway. That might be different in Europe where the churches are older and the old ceremonies tend to "fit" better; here in Ontario, almost all the churches are characterless new buildings.

At April 12, 2007 9:11 a.m., Anonymous Sarge said...

Stew, knowing people I think they can always come up with a good excuse for a feed, religion or no.

Around here during Lent many churches, especially Catilic ones, have Friday fish fries which are always worth going to. My Catholic contacts tell me that the priests are pretty light on their penances for Gluttony in support of their church.

I am a civil war reenactor and I meet quite a few tourists from across both oceans. An ability to speak Russian, German and Esperanto is a help when dealing with such folks and many of them express a frustration with trying to find the actual local cuisine. I am a proud atheist, but I confess myself to advise such people, especially if they are travelling in our south, to check, or have checked for them in the newspapers for a church holding "dinner on the grounds" after a sevice, or a fund raising dinner. I've actually heard back from some of the folks I've so advised, and they told me it was the best advice they'd gotten on their whole trip. The church services didn't do much for them, but they actually got to meet people, and damn! Did they eat fime fine grub! One of the people was a sous chef at a pretty swanky restaurant in Rome, and he was pretty well blown away by the culinary experience.

In this town, and I think in what was, and in some cases still is the lower forty eight of the USA mainstream religion did a lot of different things, fulfilled some social functions. It was a day which was different from any other, really. A day when sense gave way to nonsense, everyone pretended to be different than they were, and that they had some hope for something better. The bullies would still bully, the nasty would remain nasty, nothing really changed on Monday, but it was a fiction everyone pretended to believe...or some actually did.
Actually, in the town I'm in if you met someone years ago you would ask where they went to church. Where they went to church told religion, degree of such, thier nieghborhood, ethnic group, socio-economic status, and possibly what their politics was. In about four sentences a complete social sorting could take place. Which was always one of the main reasons for religion.


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