Religion in Albania and the lack thereof!

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Religion in Albania and the lack thereof!

Post  1bilderberg on Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:10 am

Religion in Albania and the lack thereof!



The majority of Albanians today are either atheists or agnostics. According to an official US Government Report : No reliable data were available on active participation in formal religious services, but estimates ranged from 25 to 40 percent.", leaving 60 to 75 percent of the population non-religious!! The country does not have a history of religious extremism and takes pride in the harmony that exists across religious traditions and practices.
Religious indifference and pragmatism continued as a distinctive trait of the society and interreligious marriage has been very common throughout the centuries, in some places even the rule.

There is a strong unifying cultural identity, where Muslims and Christians see themselves as Albanian before anything else.

This has been solidified historically by the common experience of struggling to protect the national culture in the face of various outside conquerors.”

A Rilindja Kombëtare (National Renaissance) intellectual and poet, Pashko Vasa (1825-1892), made the trenchant remark, that "Churches and mosques you shall not heed / The religion of Albanians is Albanism" (Gheg Albanian: "Mos shikoni kisha e xhamia / Feja e shqyptarit âsht shqyptaria").

BRIEF HISTORY
Antiquity
The two main Illyrian cults were the Cult of the Sun and the Cult of the Snake. The main festivals were the seasonal summer and winter festivals during the solstices and the spring and autumn festivals during the equinoxes.
An organic system of assigning human personifications to natural phenomena was culturally developed and remnants of these still appear in everyday Albanian folklore and tradition.

Middle Ages
The original culture continued until the late Roman and Byzantine Empires crowned Christianity as official religion of the regime, thus suffusing Paganism, until both were later overshadowed by Islam, which kept the sceptre of the major religion during the period of Ottoman Turkish occupation of major urban centers from the 15th century until year 1912 when Albanians gets their independence.

During Ottoman Turkish occupation the Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholicism and Paganism kept always being practiced.After national liberation from the Ottoman Empire, the Monarchy and later the totalitarian Communist state followed a systematic dereligionization of the nation and of the religious culture among Albanians.

Monarchy
Religious institutions of all confessions were put under state control. In 1923, following the government program, the Albanian Muslim congress convened at Tirana decided to break with the Caliphate, establishing a new form of prayer (standing, instead of the traditional salah ritual), banishing polygamy and the mandatory use of veil by women in public.

In 1929 the Albanian Orthodox Church was declared autocephalous. A year later in 1930, the first and, to date, last official religious census was carried out.
Being of conventional nature it was based off the previously official Ottoman data which were on their turn based upon a theoretical "family religious background" and provided only 4 compulsive choices for general statistical purposes: Sunni Muslim, Orthodox Christian, Bektashi Muslim and Catholic Christian. 53% of the population was grouped on the first, 22% on the second, 15% on the third and 10% on the fourth, declaring wrongly a strict 100% religious population.

Totalitarian Communist Regime
The trend was taken to extreme during the totalitarian regime, when religions, previously identified as imports foreign to Albanian culture, were banned altogether.
This policy was mainly applied and felt within the borders of the present Albanian state, thus producing a nonreligious absolute majority in the population.The Agrarian Reform Law of August 1945 nationalized most property of religious institutions, including the estates of monasteries, orders, and dioceses.
By May 1967, religious institutions had relinquished all 2,169 churches, mosques, cloisters, and shrines, many of which were converted into Cultural Centers for young people.

Many Muslim imams and Orthodox priests renounced their parasitic past. More than 200 clerics of various faiths were imprisoned, others were forced to seek work in either industry or agriculture.

As the literary monthly "Nëndori" (November) reported the event, the youth had thus created the first atheist nation in the world.From year 1967 to the end of the totalitarian regime, religious practices were constitutionally banned and the country was proclaimed officially Atheist, marking an event that happened for the first time in world history.

Albanians born during the regime were never taught religion, so they grew up to become either atheists or agnostics.
Old non-institutional pagan practices in rural areas, which were seen as identifying with the national culture, were left intact.

As a result the current Albanian state has also brought pagan festivals to life, like the Solar Spring Festival (Albanian: Dita e Verës – Summer Day held yearly on March 14th which is an Albanian National Holiday. Albanians celebrate their biggest national pagan festival, known as the Summer Day, the time of awakening from winter slumber and rebirth of nature. This ancient festival is held yearly all over the country, but has been fanatically preserved and brought to this very day into its organic form.

Actual Constitution
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respects this right in practice.
According to the 1998 Constitution, there is no official religion and all religions are equal.

The 1992 and later is the period arousing much speculation about atheism (and religion in general) in Albania, because missionaries from all over the world were pouring in like raving mad lunatics to evangelize and shove the word of their "gods" down our throat with the pretext of helping us overcome the difficult economical situation.

Then papers (mostly foreign ones, as they were the ones interested in religions in the first place) and other speculators started claiming various fake statistics about the religious affiliation percentages in Albania, the most usual one absurdly reinstating the centuries old ottoman myth of "70% Muslims and 30% Christians".

Religion in Albania has historically been secondary to nationality and ethnicity in the Albanians' self-definition.

Some even say that the religion of the Albanians is determined more by "the sword," or political expediency, than by actual faith.

For example, historians have called Albania at the time of Skanderbeg "the last bulwark of Christianity in the Balkans."
However, the argument goes, Skanderbeg's personal renunciation of Islam when he returned from Turkey to defend his country was as much political as it was a return to the faith of his forebears.

Following this line of reasoning, the conversion of the Albanians later to Islam under the Turks was also a simple economic and political expedient rather than a conversion of belief.
This also explains why the Albanians, in general, were so accepting of the policy of atheism under communism.

The Albanians are not religious in general!
Albanians have changed religions every 100 years to survive under various occupiers.
The renaissance writers said: "the religion of Albanians is Albania."
Now, people change their religions to get jobs in Greece and Italy.
The young girls and boys wear crosses because it is fashionable.
There is no strong faith in Albania: it is pure pragmatism.

So I don't understand what's the deal with using 2 centuries old Ottoman data to speak about religion in Albania?
Someone is likely misinterpreting antiquated data , just because someone needs to declare religious affiliations where there aren't any!

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Re: Religion in Albania and the lack thereof!

Post  AuLoNa on Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:20 pm



^^^I approve of this message!

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