Notes from a Byzantine-Rite Calvinist

03 September 2010

Czechs chuck church, prefer pub

The Economist carries two stories that may or may not be related to each other. First, in a story about beer consumption in Asia, we find a nifty map showing the levels of beer-drinking per capita for several countries around the world. Second, in an article on Europe’s irreligious, there is a bar graph showing for each European country the proportion of the population that never attends religious services.

Reading these prompts me to wonder whether there might be a correlation between beer-drinking and the level of religious observance in these countries. For example, the Czech Republic has the highest percentage (60% plus) of people who never attend religious services, and it also boasts a whopping 161 litres per person in beer consumption, by far the highest among the countries surveyed. On this basis might one be justified in speculating that those specializing in spirits tend to spurn spirituality?

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3 Comments:

  • I think the Czech situation is an 'accident' of history, you might say. They were likely as near big consumers of beer back when they were proto-protestant firecrackers.

    But, add onto that a few centuries of Enlightenment theological liberalism, then toss in Soviet atheism, then pile on the post-Soviet (still godless) Western prosperity and commercialism... you've got Czech!

    No reason to cutback on drinking now.

    By Blogger Baus, at 11:52 PM  

  • God forbid that beer would drive people away from church!

    Well... okay, it probably has happened. Alcohol certainly can make it easier to fall into sin - many Christians I know can attest to that.

    At the same time, I know a great many Christians, especially men, who often find it easiest to talk about spiritual things - personal struggles, theological questions, requests for prayer - over a pint of beer. I would confess to being one of those men myself.

    Alcohol, in large doses, is one of the most dangerous drugs in existence. But in small doses, it is often one of the most beneficial.

    By Blogger Michael, at 8:51 PM  

  • I agree with you both. I actually think the Czechs make the best beer in the world. And, yes, Michael, you are right about the dangers of alcohol. I know too many people affected by alcoholism to take it lightly.

    By Blogger David Koyzis, at 9:01 PM  

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