There is a very big difference between Prague and my small town in Texas that I haven’t talked about yet. It’s an important topic, but one that I’m hesitant to talk about. Because, as Linus from Charlie Brown says, “There are three things you must never discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”
Most people in the Czech Republic aren’t religious. It’s not that they slack on going to church or haven’t picked a particular denomination yet. They don’t believe in God.
They’re– Are you ready for me to say it?
The 2011 census said that 34.2% of people claimed to be not religious. 20.6% were religious, and 45.2% simply had no answer. Another statistic I read said that 11.7% of people attend religious services once a month or more.
When I mentioned this fact to people older than me before I left, many were shocked — even a little worried. Don’t worry, y’all, I won’t become an atheist, too.
Honestly, though, the Czech Republic has had a grim history with religion. There was warfare between the Hussites (followers of Protestant Reformer Jan Huss) and Catholics for 12 years after Huss was murdered by the church. And then there was the time of Communism. Communist leaders wanted to bring religion to heel, from what I understand.. They closed convents and monasteries, etc.
It’s not hard to see how many Czech citizens don’t believe in God. Nowadays, it’s not really an unheard of theory. Many people don’t like religion, and the Czechs have a pretty good reason not to like it. I imagine at this point they strongly value their freedom.
It’s strange seeing two different extremes on the spectrum. In Texas, many people take the Bible so literally that they uphold old-fashioned ideologies that create controversial rules. In Prague, the church bells still ring in the morning, but very few people get up to go.