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  • It's curious how the idea of a state-sponsored religion is thought to be damaging since, at least in Finland, it's opt-out for a 1% tax to support the church. I love Finland for its secular government in spite of the 'official' state religion as we get all the religious holidays without all the freaks :)

    • Well, in France we still get the christian holidays as well, in spite of the separation of church and state edicted in 1905.

      (There was some noise last month or so in France about a holiday that was about to be suppressed. I was personally in favor of the suppression of Christmas : it's the more commercial period of the year, from an economic standpoint it just doesn't make sense to make it a vacation.)

      Anyway, I know nobody who attends religious services (christian or not) and who is under 70. Religion doe

        • Anyway, I know nobody who attends religious services (christian or not) and who is under 70. Religion doesn't sell anymore in our old Europe.

        Things must have changed quite a bit in France since the Pope's visit in 1997 [].
        • Yes, as the original article points out, lots of young people seem to fall into this, and this is true for the three major monotheisms, not specific to catholicism. This usually doesn't last very long, and I'm tempted to label this behavior as "religious fashion". Kiddies got a religion like they got ear piercings. Once they grow up they lost it and feel a bit ashamed about it.
          • I concur, a number of my friends went through religious phases when they were around 12-15 but none of them believes any of it these days. It's like being an Anarchist or a Republican, most people grow out of it :)

            Add to that, I was in Paris when the Pope came, and I very much remember thinking that a large amount of the attendees came from eastern countries -- something which the article also outlines. So no, not much has changed in France (well, state statistics show religious belief dropping abo


            -- Robin Berjon []

            • Hey, don't be knocking anarchism!

              Anarchy gets a bad rap because of all the teenage "anarchists" who are only interested being against something, like the government.

              But the basic idea of anarchy, no centralized power, is not a bad idea at all. I, for one, am a strong believer in the idea that power corrupts, and given that, anarchy strikes me as a good foil for the tendency of centralized power to entrench itself. Anarchy, while it's become associated with the idea of chaos, is not necessarily anything
              • I was hoping the smiley would be enough (not to mention the assimilation with Republicans)! I know about anarchism, I tend to disagree with a number of its precepts but I don't assimilate it with chaos :) At least, not more than I associate Republicans with, say, chaos in the Middle East (sorry, couldn't resist ;).

                I just meant to point out that here we find teenage christians like we find teenage anarchists -- people that are attracted to it because it's seen as an "alternative" thing to do. Later


                -- Robin Berjon []

              • I've had libertarian-anarchist friends, and the problem I have with anarchism is that once you've accepted the assumption that everyone's going to be nice, it doesn't matter much what form of government you have. If you don't accept the assumption, then anarchism doesn't seem very workable.
                • I wouldn't say nice, just accepting of mutual dependency. Since I believe that power corrupts even nice people, I think a governmental system that minimizes concentrations of power is an inherently good idea.
      • Don't confuse religious services with religion. I am one of many Christians I know who don't regularly -- if ever -- attend "religious services." That doesn't mean I am not "religious" (whatever that means).