3. Religious History

As I am not really that interested in religion or churches I did not find this week’s lecture very interesting.  If anything I learned more how religion is involved in the law in Dutch society as my friends were talking about it before, about how religion should be completely taken out of law as there are advantages for certain religions. This confused me as far as I am aware in the UK the two are highly separated and I can’t think of any part of government or law that involves it. The most interesting aspect, which is not purely to do with religion, is the fact that anyone is allowed to set up their own school in the Netherlands. This is curious as they’ve recently opened this scheme in the UK in the form of academies where anyone in principle can open and run a school. However I do not know how the money works with this, but I doubt it is through the government paying for all of it.

The other curious thing was when we visited the hidden churches and how many religious buildings had varying uses before and after they were religious. Such as a brewery which I would assume people wouldn’t be very happy with now if someone said that they would be praying in a place that’s product is associated with such immoral things. It was also strange that many religions use the same building which appears to be for a completely different religion. I imagined one of the evangelical Christians saying “I’m off to meet the Christian group”, “where are you meeting them?”, “The synagogue” as quite an amusing conversation. However it makes sense if it is just a meeting room.

Overall this hasn’t changed my idea of the Dutch as their religious history is reasonably similar to that of the UK with a to and fro between different Christian groups ending in now having many different Christian groups that live in pretty much harmony. Of course it is also similar that most of the country is atheist  and this is the main reason talk of religion hasn’t change my opinion as people aren’t that religious now so I can’t see it much in their society today.

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