However, the emergence of the secular in eastern Germany is very specific and linked to its main distinctive features — Protestantism on one hand and socialism on the other.
Much has been written on religion in this region from a quantitative-sociological, historical or theological-institutional point of view, but little is known about actual practice today. This project will undertake the study of religion in eastern Germany from ethnographic perspectives.
Both the concepts of the secular and of secularisation have been subject to major criticism in the past decades. Nevertheless, secularisation has remained the dominant paradigm for studying and analysing religious change in eastern Germany.
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At least three major scientific narratives of religious decline in this particular region can be distinguished in this argument. Social scientists observing the changes in church membership, church attendance and beliefs and practices of a religious character in eastern Germany after the Second World War have demonstrated that there is a general decline in religious interest and involvement.
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During 40 years of socialism church membership declined from about 90 to about 30 percent. Since the end of socialism there has been no significant change in membership or attendance. While western Germany has also been affected by secularisation processes, this tendency here is much weaker and church membership is much higher, The major change that took place in the Protestant and Catholic churches in eastern Germany after Unification was probably a political one, that is, that they were re-established as public bodies receiving public funding.
The secular is thus an inevitable part of any research project on religion and its meanings and practices in eastern Germany.
It cannot be assumed that religion is the dominant source of morality. The study of religion must necessarily be linked to considerations of the legal and demographic status of religious communities and institutions. This research project will take into account the results of previous research in eastern Germany.
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However, instead of adopting one narrative of secularisation fully, more appropriate answers will be sought out. Therefore, the investigation will work along the following two axes. East vs. West East Germany was regarded by its neighbours to the east as the wealthiest socialist country, an image that was reinforced by the many investigations of consumer culture in the GDR.
On the other hand, East Germans could follow discourse of West German prosperity and freedom closely, for instance on West German television. Sign in to see the full collection.
This book addresses the role of religion in the massive political changes that took place in Eastern Europe in In particular, it examines the role played by the East German church in that country's bloodless revolution. Although some scholars and political commentators have noted thatthe East German church provided a free space in which dissident groups could meet, they have neither described nor assessed the theology that guided the church's political involvement.
Drawing on his own research in East Germany and relying primarily on sources published in East Germany itself, JohnBurgess demonstrates the roots of the church's theology in Barth, Bonhoeffer, and in the Barmen declaration, which in pronounced Christianity and Nazi ideology to be incompatible New Age Nonfiction.
For most of Eastern Europe, the fall of the iron curtain didn't bring freedom
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Review Article: Christianity and Communism in East Germany
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