Yesterday I attended a lecture with this same title. It was organized by International Community and given by Assistant Professor, theologian, ph.d. Marie Vejrup Nielsen.
It was interesting to hear about the Danish approach to religion, which is… lets call it particular.
I come from a country which is traditionally Catholic (is this suposed to go with a capital C? I’m not sure), my family is Catholic (not practicant, though) and I knew little about other variants of Christianism, to be honest. I ended up falling in love with someone whose family belongs to the 2-3% of Danish people who are actual Christians. Me. A Biologist. In a family of Creationist. Hum!
Fortunately, Danes are very private about their religious views. According to Professor Vejrup, Danes HATE discussing religion openly. They consider it to be a private and personal matter, not meant to be public. I guess that’s why they don’t usually go to church (unless it’s Christmas).
And the amount of people who don’t consider themselves religious, still belong to Folkekirken and pay taxes that go to it. Why? Well, yesterday we talked about cultural Christians. Traditions play an extremely important role on the life of the Danes, and some traditions are linked to the church (baptism, confirmation…). In any case, churches keep trying to organize activities that will attract more and more people into their doors. So far, not very successfully.
Apart from being a very interesting lecture, it was also very educational. I learnt that -in an unrelated note- aparently no corpses (or ashes) can be outside a cementery in Denmark. It’s illegal. That means no keeping ashes of your loved ones in an urn at home and most of all, no spreading!!! How easy is to break the law in a country you don’t know, huh?
Back to religion, I like the fact (eventhough people says that state and religion should be two separate things) that the maximum authority in the Folkekirke is the parliament (or so I understood). So, if the parliament decides that gay couples can get married in the church, then they can. And it doesn’t matter what the priests say. Of course every parish can decide about a lot of little things freely, but the big stuff is dealed with somewhere else. I love that. I love that there’s no Pope hypocritically manipulating the lifes and thoughts of the
followers believers. In my opinion, the Church shouldn’t have any kind of power. It’s had way too much power over the centuries. And I love that people can actually decide if they want to give money to the church or not.
The Catholic Church in Spain is receiving this year 159 million euros. The same as in 2011 and 2010. In a country with an unemployment rate of 24% , where they have cut the budgets of public health and education systems, where they’ve closed hospitals and overcrowded classrooms, because there’s no money and we are in a crisis… the church receives 159 million euros. Euros that come from taxes that people pay, without them having the chance of deciding where that money goes, or if they want it to go to the church. I think they’d rather have it going to hospitals and schools. I think they’d rather not have to pay double academic fees in universities next year. Or not having to wait months and months for a surgery.
Maybe it’s true that state and church should be separate things… but church needs to be controled by someone outside its walls. Again, my opinion.
I’m sorry, I’ve really deviated from the topic in hand but I’m a bit sensitive when it comes to imposing religion 😛
On a funny note, about Danes, someone described them as sun-worshipers and, eventhough it was of course a joke, I found it as hilarious as pertinent, given how crowded the parks were these last sunny days in Aarhus 😀