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Internet Dismantling the State Church In Finland

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the way-way-up-for-fsm dept.

Government 547

An anonymous reader writes "A Finnish secular web site that facilitates electronic resignation from the Finnish state church gained wide attention in the media this week. A gay rights TV panel discussion was followed by thousands resigning from the church. On Wednesday, 2633 people resigned through the web site, which is more than all the resignations in July. The Internet is secularizing the Finnish with increasing speed; over 90% of resignations in Finland go through the site administered and marketed by hobbyists driving Finland towards a secular, non-religious state."

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547 comments

judeo-christianism will strike back (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916154)

and win, inshallah.

Re:judeo-christianism will strike back (1)

MrCoke (445461) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916166)

Win what?

Re:judeo-christianism will strike back (1, Informative)

laa (457196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916176)

World domination? Isn't that what they've been trying for two millennia.

Re:judeo-christianism will strike back (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916272)

And we would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling kids.

Re:judeo-christianism will strike back (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916332)

Win the heaven, and the 72 anal virgins per mujaheddin, of course.

Moral authority (5, Insightful)

thue (121682) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916160)

And note that what is driving people away is the immorality of the church. Which is ironic, given that the church probably defines itself as the high bastion of morality.

Re:Moral authority (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916162)

The internet, where religions come to die.

Re:Moral authority (4, Insightful)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916208)

No, it's not ironic as people automatically hold them to higher standards for exactly that reason.

Re:Moral authority (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916234)

No, it's not ironic as people automatically hold them to higher standards for exactly that reason.

So, people who go about telling how you should go about your life, cannot be held to a higher moral standard?

Huh.

No, it means you don't understand irony. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916390)

> So, people who go about telling how you should go about your life, cannot be held to a higher moral standard?

You're reading what he said backwards. You don't appear to know what "ironic" means..

He's saying it's perfectly normal to hold those with moral authority to a high standard, rather than it being the opposite of what one might expect (i.e. "ironic").

Re:Moral authority (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916250)

No, it's not ironic as people automatically hold them to higher standards for exactly that reason.

I find that unlikely. In general they fail to meet common standards that people apply to themselves. The Catholic Church's attitude to covering up child abuse (seemingly in the belief that the law doesn't apply to their staff - how many other organisations would try to actively cover up for their employees, keep them on the payroll, and transfer them to work with children elsewhere, on receiving reports of child abuse?) but many smaller breaches of common moral principles are entrenched across a wise range of religious institutions e.g. widespread sex discrimination, to the point where they have succesfuly campaigned for exceptions to the laws that apply to everyone else.

Re:Moral authority (2, Insightful)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916622)

What has the Catholic church got to do with it? This is about Finland, which is not a catholic country.

From the article:

A record number of Finns seceded from the Evangelical Lutheran Church on Wednesday.

.

Re:Moral authority (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916540)

Since this exodus was caused by gay bashing it looks more like the morality the church preaches is no longer suitable for the modern times.

Re:Moral authority (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916374)

Details? I mean, apart from the usual stories we hear about the Roman Catholic Church? Are there specific instances of the Finnish state church being out of sync with modern morals?

Re:Moral authority (4, Informative)

Ecyrd (51952) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916408)

Yes. This particular incident comes from the fact that the majority of people (according to polls) do agree that equality is a good thing and that gay people should be allowed to marry and adopt children.

However, the church disagrees, and because they have a government-given monopoly on defining marriage, there's a bit of a crisis now.

(You can kind of get a marriage-like thing from the government, but it's legally not the same thing.)

Re:Moral authority (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916592)

So wouldn't the correct procedure be to get MORE people to join the Church and lobby internally for change? Now all that's left in there are the hardliners who blocked gay marriage in the first place.

Re:Moral authority (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916636)

Church isn't a democracy (but a theocracy).

Re:Moral authority (2, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916646)

I'm not familiar with this particular church, but churches in general tend not to be democratic - the common people in the pews don't actually get to vote, or have any influence at all over church policy. If you want to alter a church from within, you can't do it as an ordinary member. The only way to do so is to join the clergy, which does give you some say over the policies - an influence increasing as you go up in the ranks. As going up in the ranks depends upon agreeing with the existing doctrine, this is a very slow approach. The only other way to achieve change is to simply leave, and hope that the church realises it's refusal to update is costing it members and donations.

Re:Moral authority (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916650)

So wouldn't the correct procedure be to get MORE people to join the Church and lobby internally for change?

In what sense would that be more "correct" than for people to leave? And since the membership have no power over the church but arer required to financially support it (through taxation) that would seem to have exactly the opposite of the desired effect - it's like saying that if you hate a company's environmental policies then you should become a customer so that they get more profitable as a result of having policies you don't like (and presumably risk losing busienss if they ever adopt policies you do like). It's silly.

Now all that's left in there are the hardliners who blocked gay marriage in the first place.

Yes, and they'll have to financially support their policies themselves. Maybe even get jobs.

Re:Moral authority (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916594)

As a guy who's going to go to church in a few hours, I'm perfectly fine with being married seen as a right. A priest might not want to bless gay unions or find it against his faith, and I'm fine with it too. But since marriage has implication on civil rights and status, no discrimination is acceptable on a political and social level. Religious leader should simply say, I don't care what laws say, marry other sex, and their followers should obey or protest *in the contest of their faith, not because religions must adapt to the times or other similar stupid reasoning*

BUT.

I strongly object to equating adoption to marriage. The latter is a right, the former is not. Nobody has right to adopt children. The child has the right to find the best situation in which to grow, that's about all. So all other things being equal it's better for a child to be raised in a heterosexual same-race rich family (rich unless the society is able to give a poor boy same opportunities. which happens rarely). Or it's better for a child to stay with an uncle living in a homosexual relationship, than with a couple of heterosexual strangers, if he prefers so.

Re:Moral authority (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916612)

(You can kind of get a marriage-like thing from the government, but it's legally not the same thing.)

Because of ritual or because of legal content? If its because of ritual then i would say to get over it, as rituals can be remade.

That is the last hold of religion, the performance of rituals.

Re:Moral authority (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916420)

Are there specific instances of the Finnish state church being out of sync with modern morals?

I don't know enough about the specifics but this story seems to imply that they are adopting a position of promoting homophobia. Even amongst those uncomfortable with homosexuality (which I'd say quite a few people are), I think most people would consider actively promoting that sort of prejudice to be immoral.

Re:Moral authority (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916608)

Well, yeah, I meant to imply "apart from TFA". This is Slashdot but I haven't progressed to a stage where I can't even be arsed to read the summary anymore.

Re:Moral authority (5, Informative)

Cobrian (679128) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916450)

The premise for the televised debate was the rights of gay couples vs. the rights of heterosexual couples. What gay couples have here is a registered partnership, which has the inheritance and most social support rights of marriage, but excludes any adoption rights. Therefore most gay parents are marked as single parents, but still don't get full monetary support, since they are in a relationship (this does apply to non-married heterosexual couples as well, where the other party is not the biological parent). Also there was talk about the "stigma" of being in an apartheid-type of relationship, basically they want to change the civil marriage law so it would be gender neutral. This ofcourse brings out all the God-fearing mongrels with their Biblical opposition.

What really makes the situation funny is the fact that even the Evangelical-Lutheran church itself is pretty divided on the issue. There have been a few (primarily female) priests that have blessed gay couples after they have registered their civil relationship. Also the fact that most of the big religions have the right to issue marriage certificates, but still have the choice to refuse service to anyone they don't deem fit is an issue to some. The biggest issue is the state church (Evangelical-Lutheran) getting funds directly from taxes, which are paid by all members registered to the church. The average payout is 1,5%. They calculated the church lost 1,5 M in tax revenue for next year due to this debate.

Basically, it's the church that opposes giving legitimate status to families already in existence, and because we have a Christian party in the parliament, they're fighting the lefties and the greens all the way. Even getting the current partnership law thru took multiple tries over several terms.

Re:Moral authority (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916462)

And note that what is driving people away is the immorality of the church. Which is ironic, given that the church probably defines itself as the high bastion of morality.

What's driving people away is the conflict between their moral values and those of the church. Hopefully, this will force the church to re-examine its stance on various issues and improve, resulting in the world getting a tiny bit better.

I've never really understood the obsession with sexuality Christianity seems to have. Homosexuality is mentioned a few times in the Bible in the same context as the evils of eating shellfish and wearing clothes with multiple fabrics, yet religious people ignore the rest and focus all their energy on this one thing. Even adultery, which is condemned far more times, receives nowhere near this much attention.

Seriously, what the heck is wrong with these people? Are all the priests closet gays or something?

Re:Moral authority (1)

Iskender (1040286) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916516)

I've never really understood the obsession with sexuality Christianity seems to have. Homosexuality is mentioned a few times in the Bible in the same context as the evils of eating shellfish and wearing clothes with multiple fabrics, yet religious people ignore the rest and focus all their energy on this one thing. Even adultery, which is condemned far more times, receives nowhere near this much attention.

While we both probably accept homosexuality equally much, I feel like pointing out that it's not just Leviticus (the shellfish part) which condemns homosexuality. Having read the Bible recently, I seem to remember that homosexuality was condemned several times in the old testament and at least once (explicitly) in the new testament. Jesus might even have forbidden it himself FWIW, but I can't say I remember that clearly.

Playing along with the ideas for sexual morality a bit, one should say that two wrongs don't make a right: if we were to accept the sexual morality teachings, then some committing adultery doesn't mean that others should sin through homosexuality. It's simply an instance of two different sins which are not connected.

Of course, in practice adultery doesn't get as much attention because it's always easier to make some group that isn't yourself the problem. And to avoid any misunderstandings, I should say that I hope any adults who love each other get to fuck a whole lot. If it's one guy inside another then that's fine by me.

Re:Moral authority (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916652)

Once in the NT, yes. I forget the exact verse, but it's in Romans. It's also the only place in the bible that may mention lesbianism - the OT condemnations are very explicitly only condemning male homosexuality - but, as with much of the bible, the language is archaic enough that it's exact translation and meaning are not entirely clear.

Re:Moral authority (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916522)

Certainly not all are closet gays, but it might as well be more common than in the general population. First, I know that for some priests (can't say for how many in this case, though) it's a case of hoping for vows of chastity helping them to not sin, basically. Secondly, a buddy (himself a gay) who tried to get into monastery claims that at least 1/3rd of brethren (at this one particular monastery) also were.

As for general obsession with sexuality, it's almost certainly a matter of those practices simply improving survival of belief systems which they are part of (heh, yeah, "evil evolution" in a way). In more modern times it might, for example, take the form of: sexual forces are most powerful at the formative years of life; truly internalizing their suppression, trying hard to find the value of it, might be helpful in not going crazy. Which stays later in life, passed on, as something "normal"...

Re:Moral authority (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916532)

Seriously, what the heck is wrong with these people?

To put it bluntly, those people believe in an ancient fairy tale. What do you expect?

Re:Moral authority ... of what kind? (5, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916468)

It's not too weird if one looks at their god from the perspective of dystheism, maltheism [wikipedia.org] or gnosticism (if only those weren't also suppressed a long time ago as "heretics" - but hey, it's something the Demiurge would want ;p )

Also, one old Usenet posting [google.com] writing about it much better that I could in a reasonable amount of time. Maybe this one [google.com] , too.

Re:Moral authority ... of what kind? (1)

leomekenkamp (566309) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916538)

Thanks for the link to that usenet posting. Almost right from the 'church' of Dawkins. Good piece of writing. Every once in a while I am very glad to read slashdot comments, because of small gems like this. Cheers.

Re:Moral authority ... of what kind? (1, Troll)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916670)

There are two concepts in Christianity that address these issues - Faith and Grace.

Some critics have defined faith as "believing in what you know isn't true." But the essence of faith (in general) is that you'r supposed to subjegate your own ego/reason and trust another. Some people will call this Doublethink, but Faith means not rushing to a judgement based on a usenet posting constructed by a simple Human - God has a bigger plan.

Grace is another concept by which you get to an enlightened state even though you're incapable of it - you get it via God's grace.

All one needs to do is look at the millions and millions of people killed by hard-core Atheists (Soviet Union, Khemer Rouge, French Revolution) to know that Christians don't have a monopoly on whatever the bad thing is that people have. The philosophy behind the God-concept is much richer and more subtle.

Re:Moral authority (1)

it0 (567968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916480)

That is exactly the problem of religion. They all promote morals and standards. But it's not the church who make them, it's a group of people. which can be different kinds of people, think of familiy,friends, work, etc. Although their morals and standards will overlap they can change between those groups. Furthermore those morals change over time, the reason why things like slavery is no longer accepted and gay rights are. This is the same reason why over there have been religions before christianity and islam and will be after them.

The church records those standards at a certain time but since they are dynamic as explained before, the church can not hold them as static things thye control.

Re:Moral authority (0, Offtopic)

duskycat (1922330) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916584)

The trouble with religion is that most people dont undestand it. Yet it is at the root of ourselves (our cult you are) or our culture. If people understood themselves then they would understand many things John Edwards web design, websites built [uk-webs.com]

Re:Moral authority (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916632)

thanks for this info

great, blame the internet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916164)

who do you think you are, kdawson? I mean Soulskill?

Down with the Finnish Taliban woo. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916168)

Finland is a secular state, don't let the two state churches fool you. The Lutheran one is basically like the archetypical izzardesque Anglican Church or Unitarian Universalists (we drink more coffee though), and the Orthodox one is just kinda ethnic. Finns go to church for Christmas, weddings and funerals, and stay with the church mainly for those things (and godfathering or godmothering), not for some religious impulse.

I myself resigned from the church a couple years back using eroakirkosta.fi after I started getting the local parish paper... to no avail, they just switched the recipient to my room-mate, who also subsequently decided to resign as well. The process was easy and painless, but don't tell my family: I might have to give back all those Confirmation gifts.

Somehow I dont think its a loss of religious faith (5, Informative)

voss (52565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916282)

More likely its that Finns dont want to pay the 1.3% church tax that church members have to pay.

I doubt that since most who leave are young... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916378)

...and usually students. So their income is low and consequently they might be under the threshold for paying church tax.

Re:Somehow I dont think its a loss of religious fa (1)

tengwar (600847) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916512)

Probably, although I suspect that it also reflects people who left the church years or decades ago in practical terms.

One thing I find amusing about endless American discussions about the separation of church and state is that for many Christians, this is one of our important beliefs. I live in England (specifically England, don't confuse with the UK). We have a state church, the Church of England. Until the 60's farmers had to pay tax (tithes) to the C of E, even if they belonged to non-conformist churches - i.e. those churches which reject a link between church and state. From 1661 until 1828 non-confirmists were barred from holding public office, and were only permitted to take university degrees in 1871.

We don't believe in state support: it's a Faustian bargain. If church and state are linked, the state will control the church, at least to some extent.

Re:Somehow I dont think its a loss of religious fa (2, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916600)

Just out of curiosity does paying the tax guarantee you a spot in the cemetery? I know a couple Germans that pay the tithe simply so they will have a spot in the cemetery, otherwise the spot just gets "rented" and they cremate the body a couple years after you die.

Re:Somehow I dont think its a loss of religious fa (3, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916624)

And how many believers would choose to formally break links with their church for such small (considering the eternity...) savings?

No, those people shouldn't have been counted as members a long time ago. It's just that up to know they didn't care, even despite 1.3% (hey, good for some traditional services)

Cool idea (4, Interesting)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916172)

Someone should do the same for the Catholic Church. There are a great many "lapsed Catholics" who are nevertheless counted as full members in good standing when politicians decide what demographics are large enough to be worth pandering to.

You have to explicitly request excommunication [atheistfoundation.org.au] in order to be dropped from the church rolls, and that's really only the beginning of the process, as they may not let you go without a fight. It would be nice if there were a site that made it easier for those whose consciences no longer permit them to be counted among the Church's numbers to take this first step.

Re:Cool idea (4, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916192)

Sounds nice but at least here in America the problems mainly come from protestant denominations, particularly southern and midwestern ones...

Re:Cool idea (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916316)

Here in America the problems mainly come from people who believe stupid shit without demanding accountability from the people who told them the stupid shit. The stupid shit certainly isn't confined to one specific religious tradition or denomination.

Yes and no (0, Troll)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916398)

Technically, yes, but it's hard to find a group that tops Christianity in (A) influence, (B) sheer amount of counter-factual woowoo, _and_ (C) hypocrisy.

Heck, even finding a match in two out of three is hard. Even some of the most pencils-up-the-nose underpants-on-head retarded conspiracy-theory groups tend to fail point A majorly (each particular CT has a rather limited fan base), and they tend to stick to one or two idiocies so they don't come even close to Christianity in regards to point B.

Re:Cool idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916598)

What about demanding accountability from people who believe stupid shit?
If someone tells you stupid shit and you believe them who is more at fault?
Them for telling you stupid shit?
Or you for believing stupid shit?

If someone tells you stupid shit and you believe the stupid shit that you were told, does that make you a stupid shit?

Re:Cool idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916298)

Yes, please.

I'm probably counted twice being catholic (baptized) and protestant (confirmation (?)) on paper while considering myself neither.

Re:Cool idea (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916474)

In Germany this is (was?) possible. Not only would you be no longer a member of the church, you would also not pay any taxes anymore towards the church. Not that much money, probably about (currently) 2 or 3 EUR, but I would love to have that option in Belgium.

Now part of my taxes go to religion even though I never was a follower of any religion and was not baptized.

Understand that I am all for freedom of religion, as long as I do not have to be involved in any way. This does not mean I agree with the institutions behind them.

Re:Cool idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916568)

How can I do this for the Church of Ireland ? Anglican.

I mailed them with no success.

Would taking them to the EU courts solve this? Forcing you into a religon by your parents is against human rights directives surely.

Re:Cool idea (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916606)

And for Islam as well. Though in certain countries signing your real name as an apostate will help you lose some weight, the human head weighs about 5 kg.

Ireland has had this for some time (5, Informative)

2phar (137027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916180)

Ireland has had a popular equivalent in http://countmeout.ie/ [countmeout.ie] for some time.. It seems it has been so popular that, as of August, the catholic church actually changed their 'canon law' so that defection is no longer available!!

Re: Ireland has had this for some time (5, Informative)

bjoernfan (1432455) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916376)

And in Sweden we have http://uturkyrkan.se/ [uturkyrkan.se] ("Out of the church"). They have a nice slogan too; "Ut ur saligheten, in i verkligheten" meaning "Exit the divine, enter reality". I think the church tax is 0.9%, but that might include a "funeral fee".

Re: Ireland has had this for some time (2, Interesting)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916536)

Here the Portuguese Atheist Association has posted the instructions on how to send the letter of apostasy. It's not hard.

Re: Ireland has had this for some time (2, Informative)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916554)

In Luxembourg the site to leave church is called www.fraiheet.lu which translates to 'Freedom'.

Re:Ireland has had this for some time (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916620)

the catholic church actually changed their 'canon law' so that defection is no longer available!!

No need for that. According to catholic theological doctrine, baptism is irreversible.
According to catholicism, once you're baptised, you are in for life (and beyond that ;-),
completely regardless of any action that you may undertake. No, not even excommunication
throws you out for good, you just lose some rights within the church system.

Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916188)

This was inevitable once we developed the Intimate Social Graph.

Yes yes the evil Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916190)

It's all the pirates' fault if content producers fail. It's all the Internet heathens' fault if churches lose followers. it's always somebody else's fault.

Much like any of the Internet sites that claim to have bazillions of members - even though only 1% is active - churches claim to have bazillions of devout followers - even if most of them are only religious on paper. These people weren't real members anyway and they were just too lazy to quit the old-fashioned way; ironically "old-fashioned" describes churches in every single aspect.

some statistics via google stats (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916212)

The latest statistics for those that have resigned via the eroakirkosta.fi service are available at http://mpolla.net/ek/ it's very clear to see a huge spike starting from 14.10.2010 just after the panel discussion mentioned. Myself being an atheist and a Secular Humanist I'm very pleased to see that when the state church made it's view of homosexuals clear, many people decided that they could no longer reconcile being a part of such a close-minded organization. My hope is that this is the "straw that broke the camels back" and will lead to the total separation of church and state in Finland like in Sweden (yes Finland still has a state church)

Re:some statistics via google stats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916274)

Actually Finland has two state churches. And what do the statistics you linked to have to do with Google stats?

Re:some statistics via google stats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916410)

it uses the google stats API

Base Vs. Stakeholders (5, Interesting)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916264)

This is a classic base Vs. stakeholders issue - when the organization (church in this case) fails to represent a view compatible with its base, and so long as it doesn't hold some critical resource away from its base, it will lose that base.

The usual resolution of such disputes is not the organization changing though - it is either a major structural failure of the organization followed by minimal changes, or the organization deciding threaten its base into staying in more harsh terms. This happens particularly often in politics.

Why do organizations tend to act this way? Because they virtually always exist to serve the stakeholders first, and not to serve the base they were designed to represent, whatever their origin. This is based on the idea that one has to serve one's own interest before they can logically be able to serve others - and carries through to individual members decisions to either serve the organizations resource gathering, or suppress others altruistic actions, more often than deciding to actually act altruistically through the organization. In other words, organizations select for selfishness towards the organization, and against other factors like serving those not as much a part of the organization.

So, leave all you want - even if it threatens to destroy the church, as long as the stakeholders can be comfortable with the process, it's just those fickle folks straying from the true path. But the second a true insider nails something to the Church door, then suddenly its something meaningful.

See also most group disputes inside the Democratic/Republican parties - it takes core insiders to cause the party to blink. The base falling apart is just unfortunate noise. Reality ignored all over the place, when it doesn't serve the interests of the core shareholders.

Same thing with most businesses, unions, communes, mutual funds, and so on - they all organize, then tend to find themselves more unresponsive to their base over time.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Base Vs. Stakeholders (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916502)

Religion is a different matter. If for whatever reason your faith says that something is unacceptable, you can not change that faith just because the majority of your base thinks it is wrong. That would mean changing your faith.

Faith should not be a numbers game to get as many people to believe what you do. It should be that YOU do what you think is right.

The problem with most religion leaders is that they say that everybody who is not for them is against them and that it IS a numbers game, because of the political power it represents for those at the top of the religion. It is all about control and not about faith. They will do anything to get that control, including doing things against the faith they pretend to represent. Or as Heinlein said in JOB: A comedy of justice:

Theologians can persuade themselves of anything.
Anyone who can worship a trinity and insists that his religion is a monotheism can believe
anything -- just give him time to rationalize it.

Re:Base Vs. Stakeholders (4, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916506)

I would also point out that it's a church, by definition it's supposed to represent the will of $deity not the opinions of the general population or its members. In the old testament God drowned the world except for those on Noah's Ark. He obliterated entire cities like Sodom and Gomorrah for their sins. The argument that it is right because it is popular is quite well contradicted in scripture. There are many references to staying on the narrow path, that to stray and be sinful is easy while to stay true and rightous is hard. That people accept sin as normality is to them only proof the world has become a den of sin again. It is not a reason to question their own beliefs.

Re:Base Vs. Stakeholders (3, Insightful)

arikol (728226) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916658)

..yet the pope pissed on Purgatory, stating that was not in line with the church's modern views.

Sorry, but RyanFenton is right. Faith and belief have little in common with organized religion. Organized religion is about manipulation, not faith.

So church does not equal faith.

But then, I'm against both.

Fees (2, Interesting)

mischi_amnesiac (837989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916268)

The only thing that prevents me from leaving the catholic church in germany is the fee that I have to pay in order to get out. It's 30 (~42$) and a visit to the local court. I don't know if you have to pay a fee in finland.

Re:Fees (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916288)

The only thing that prevents me from leaving the catholic church in germany is the fee that I have to pay in order to get out. It's 30 (~42$) and a visit to the local court. I don't know if you have to pay a fee in finland.

No fee in Finland. I find it quite strange that an organization could charge a person for leaving it.

Re:Fees (3, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916308)

Only $42? and how much church tax do you pay every year?

Re:Fees (1)

mischi_amnesiac (837989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916324)

I don't pay income tax as I am a student that is under the limit where you have to pay taxes. It's called allowable deduction and it is currently at 7680 (~10.7200$) per year.

Re:Fees (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916456)

The german state collects church-tax that is forwarded.
Yes if you opt-out, you first have to pay an obulus, and this is what keeps ppl who are lazy and don't care what they were signed up to by their parents subscribed.
Now don't think you would save money by resigning,... You still have to pay the same tax with a different name; Instead of going to the church, the state gets to keep it.

Re:Fees (1)

mischi_amnesiac (837989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916314)

I guess that's the price of living in a state that has the word god in the preamble of the constitution and where a catholic group just send 100.000 plastic foetuses to houshold in one state to demonstrate against aboirtion (sorry, no english source on that that I could find).

As a student I live on a very limited budget and there is no way my parents would pay for that. Living in the secondmost catholic region after bavaria in this country with a rich christian history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCnster [wikipedia.org]

Re:Fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916494)

I find it quite strange that an organization could charge a person for leaving it.

processing fees or early termination fees (church membership being livelong).

Re:Fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916296)

No fee, no courts. A simple email is enough.

Re:Fees (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916304)

There is no fee involved but as late as 1990's I believe you needed to visit your parish and explain your reason for leaving the church to a priest and then there was a 3 month "test-period" after which you could actually resign. These days just sending an email through the eroakirkosta.fi service is enough and no fee is involved

Re:Fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916336)

No, there's no fee or obligation of visiting court or such for getting out in Finland.

What drives considerable portion of secular Finns (typically joined to church at birth) away from membership is money. Finnish Lutheran and Orthodox churches have right to collect taxes, and these are automatically deducted from regular income. Rates vary on basis of muncipality between 1 and 2 percent, and considering the fact that most Finns attend church services at most 1-2 times a year (Christmas and family occassions, typically), this fee is often found excessive.

The current gay marriage issue that is causing people to flock out of the church is far from simple - the secular members find both strong opposition to it and the whole church membership pointless, and thus flock out, while the very minor portion of unsecularised church members may take church policies actually as too liberal, and divert to their own sects. On the top of this, some gays see church gay marriage by the state church as some sort of a basic right - an attitude that also draws understandable criticism, as they could easily form their own religious organization. Secularism and equality are strongly favored in the public discussion - but only when it touches the established players. There is no public discussion about gay rights in relation to the growing muslim population - which can't really be said to be even half as tolerant towards gays as the state church.

Re:Fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916560)

That just goes to show how unimportant it is to you.
Not leaving an organisation because doing so would cost you the equivalent of a decent meal for 2 is a truly bizarre argument.

Denmark has had a similar site for some time (4, Informative)

morten poulsen (220629) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916294)

The Danish website https://www.ingenkirkeskat.dk/ [ingenkirkeskat.dk] (no church tax dot dk) has been up for a few years. I used it to resign from the church, and got the additional bonus of saving 0,80% income tax. The site says he (it's a one man operation) has saved Danish tax payers DKK 123'535'000 (EUR 16'500'000) so far. His fee is DKK 99 (EUR 13), because in Denmark it has to be done in hardcopy.

Re:Denmark has had a similar site for some time (1)

tusam (1851540) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916422)

Nice business then, he can probably sustain himself just by helping people resign from church.

Re:Denmark has had a similar site for some time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916558)

Interesting enough, the liberal thinkers association of Finland used to pay for the postal fee and printing costs for resignationg via the aforementioned web service until there was a change of law that made electronic resignation possible. 13 euros sounds like quite a business for printing and posting one document.
Also, if you have to pay for it, it's always a hassle and there's always people who don't want/can't go trought it. It really should be free and easy as in "one-click-resignation" in my opinion.

Re:Denmark has had a similar site for some time (3, Informative)

morten poulsen (220629) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916634)

You can do the paper work yourself, if you want to. I chose to pay someone else to do it for me, so I have more time to troll on Slashdot.

The EUR 13 includes sales tax (25%, EUR 3.25) and postage times two (to you and to the church, total about EUR 2) and then he has to pay income tax of the remaining EUR 7.75 (around 40%, EUR 3.10), leaving him with something like EUR 4.65.

Resignation rate keeps climbing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916358)

As of right now (1PM Saturday 16th October 2010) there are already over 9000 resignations. Yesterday (Friday) we saw 3473 resignations. Today will see a new daily record again. Currently (by 1PM) there are 1343 resignations and the projected number is over 4100.

Monthly resignations [mpolla.net] (Currently October 2010)

Daily resignations [mpolla.net]

legend:

light gray: day before yesterday
dark gray: yesterday
red: today
pink: projection

Church tax?!? (4, Insightful)

tbird81 (946205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916370)

Living in NZ this astounds me! When I was a kid, mum used to give us coin each (20c, 50c or so) to put in the collection basket at our Catholic church. And I know some of the fundie religions (especially the evil Destiny Church) get all their fools to donate 10% of their income. But an actual church tax - now that's messed up.

I don't think there's such thing as paying to register/deregister at a church either.

Anyway, since I declined confirmation in my teens I'm now a reformed Catholic - an atheist.

Re:Church tax?!? (2, Informative)

Ecyrd (51952) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916384)

It's not only income tax. Also corporations are taxed by the church, regardless of whether the personnel is a member of the church or not. The money is used to maintain graveyards and other infrastructure; including graveyards for people who don't belong to any organized religion.

Re:Church tax?!? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916466)

It has been asked sarcastically, at least for the last decade, if companies in Finland have a chance to get to heaven when they go bankcrupt. If Nokia does face bankcruptcy, it'll certainly have good chances in the regard how much they have supported the state churches.

Then again, this may be a cleverly created joke by big companies, but the absurdity of the situation is - still - pretty obvious.

Re:Church tax?!? (1)

mischi_amnesiac (837989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916428)

It is not only the curch. My mother told me that the company C&A (a big clothing store chain in germany with nearly 8 billion $ revenue per year) used to have a policy that forbid divorced men and women in upper management positions because the owners are strict catholics. (now living in the netherlands, but they originated from Mettingen, my birthplace: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mettingen [wikipedia.org] )

Re:Church tax?!? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916578)

And I know some of the fundie religions (especially the evil Destiny Church) get all their fools to donate 10% of their income. But an actual church tax - now that's messed up.

What, you think NZ churches, including fake ones like Destiny, don't get tax breaks? It's the same thing -- just not quite so direct.

It's a good scam: pretty much any church qualifies as a "charity"; even though not many of them are; so they just need to get hold of that label, then hey presto! you're paying taxes to them.

A question for fellow Finns (please mod up!) (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916402)

First: Posting A/C since I don't want to beg for karma but would really appreciate it if many people see this since I've asked on plenty of Finnish forums but not gotten any good answer.

When I used the site to leave the church, two elderly women rang my doorbell a few days later telling me that "Jesus has something to say to you, young man" to which I replied "tell him to send me e-mail" and shut the door. Half an hour or so later I noticed that they were still standing outside my door and whilst I obviously don't get intimidated by old ladies, I found it quite rude that they did that. Now my question for my fellow Finns is whether any of you have had the same experience? I don't know precisely who they were but obviously presume that they were from the church and suspect that they update their records manually and make such visits every time someone leaves the church. I might add that this happened in the city of Espoo.

Re:A question for fellow Finns (please mod up!) (1)

Ecyrd (51952) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916434)

It is possible they were from a sect like the Jehova's witnesses or some such. I get regular visits too. If you tell them firmly you never want to see them again, they write your address down and never bother you again (until you move, they keep track of addresses, not people). If you chat amicably with them, they'll pop by for another visit in a few months or so.

Most of them are quite nice and fun to chat with, but some of them can be downright rude.

Re:A question for fellow Finns (please mod up!) (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916656)

I had some JWs visit about 18 months ago. We had a discussion about the appropriate rendition in Spanish of YHWH, they left some literature promising to come back, and didn't. Maybe they were uneasy about discussing the Bible with someone who knows at least two words of Hebrew.

Re:A question for fellow Finns (please mod up!) (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916448)

The only religious organizations that go door-to-door are Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. Neither of these say thing such as what you quoted, but perhaps you merely paraphrased it. If your house sits at the end of a street, they were probably waiting for another group to catch up to them, or perhaps just resting. Did you note if they went to any other houses besides yours? It would indeed be strange if they visited you exclusively.

Re:A question for fellow Finns (please mod up!) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916492)

No, I didn't get any visit when I left the church using eroakirkosta.fi (I'm from Hanko).
Also, Jehova's witnesses have stopped coming to my door since I had an hour long debate (about how they're wrong) with one of them trying to convert me. Good thing they didn't take it as me being interested in their crap!

In Greece (2, Informative)

kyriosdelis (1100427) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916472)

..this can only be accomplished by visiting the register office in person. There are no fees, as far as I know.
More information about leaving the (Greek Orthodox) Church, here [atheia.gr] .

Past and future news (2, Interesting)

tusam (1851540) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916530)

There was an article about this movement four years ago http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/06/29/136259 [slashdot.org]
And in that October_30th (531777) made a good point which I'll quote:

...yet I am a member of the state church. Furthermore, I'm happy to pay the small church tax. Why? Political reasons. A functioning state church attracts religiously inspired people into one flock and under one "official" Lutheran doctrine that's very, very stable - and dare I say pseudo-secular in its tolerance towards minorities and other religions - in the long run.

This marginalizes the influence of the more miltant lunatic (evangelical) fringe and enhances the stability of our society. I would go as far as atttributing the complete absence of a credible religious right in Finland to the existence state church.

Those who seek the destruction of the one, monolithic state church should think about what they're wishing for.

I think eventually after majority of the population has excluded themselves out of religious issues, we'll just get the increased number of islamic immigrants and right wing crazies fighting amongst themselves, collecting news headlines and escalating the issue.

a Hot Topic in Belgium too (2, Interesting)

obUser (1095169) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916544)

Since just before summer it came to light that a Belgian bishop had been abusing his nephew throughout his career of spreading the love, 1.000s of Belgians are 'de-baptising' themselves online too, through a humanist site (ontdoping.be). The Belgian church is supposed to make a note of this in their baptism records, but no-one really knows if they do. As it happens, just this week, the Belgian archbishop released a book from which a single quote has made the media: "Aids has in it a kind of immanent justice". Off course this quote was designed to polarise and shock, as well as divert the attention from the pedo-scandal. Only now politicians are reacting by asking to review the church tax system, which is a system installed by Napoleon, and still in effect many countries that have been at some time under Napoleontic rule, ie. half of Europe. We don't have a percentage in our personal taxes reserved for religion, instead the state is responsible for the upkeep of all church buildings and church staff wages. And since Napoleon was a Catholic, only the Catholic church has these benefits. The word in parliament is now to change our tax declaration to mention how much we want to give to which church. My guess is if this passes as law, only some religious extremists will give them any money. For my part, they could make all religious organisations self-sufficient. Pity that y'all don't speak dutch cause we have a much more fun word for this: zelf-bedruipend: literally, let them drip on theirselves. I believe this = Even though I don't know, I pretend this to be true

crediting internet for people changing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916572)

sounds like an ad for atheism, not that any are needed. today's unlikely hero (& "god' don't we need some); jesse ventura, defending life, liberty & freedom of speech? aren't we all allowed to say whatever we feel/believe is true, even if it's deemed unpopular, or worse yet, not amongst 'stuff that really matters' as determined by,,, robbIE & his advertisers?

the corepirate nazi holycost (life, liberty etc...) is increasing by the minute. you call this 'weather'?

continue to add immeasurable amounts of MISinformation, rhetoric & fluff, & there you have IT? that's US? thou shalt not... oh forget it. fake weather (censored?), fake money, fake god(s), what's next? fake ?aliens? ahhaha. seeing as we (have been told that) came from monkeys, the only possible clue we would have to anything being out of order, we would get from the weather. that, & all the other monkeys tipping over/exploding around US.

the search continues; on any search engine

weather+manipulation

bush+cheney+wolfowitz+rumsfeld+wmd+oil+freemason+blair+obama+weather+authors

meanwhile (as it may take a while longer to finish wrecking this place); the corepirate nazi illuminati (remember, (we have been told) we came from monkeys, & 'they' believe they DIDN'T), continues to demand that we learn to live on less/nothing while they continue to consume/waste/destroy immeasurable amounts of stuff/life, & feast on nubile virgins while worshipping themselves (& evile in general (baal to be exact)). they're always hunting that patch of red on almost everyones' neck. if they cannot find yours (greed, fear ego etc...) then you can go starve. that's their (slippery/slimy) 'platform' now. see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder

never a better time to consult with/trust in our creators. the lights are coming up rapidly all over now. see you there?

greed, fear & ego (in any order) are unprecedented evile's primary weapons. those, along with deception & coercion, helps most of us remain (unwittingly?) dependent on its' life0cidal hired goons' agenda. most of our dwindling resources are being squandered on the 'wars', & continuation of the billionerrors stock markup FraUD/pyramid schemes. nobody ever mentions the real long term costs of those debacles in both life & any notion of prosperity for us, or our children. not to mention the abuse of the consciences of those of us who still have one, & the terminal damage to our atmosphere/planet (see also: manufactured 'weather', hot etc...). see you on the other side of it? the lights are coming up all over now. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be your guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. we now have some choices. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on your brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

"The current rate of extinction is around 10 to 100 times the usual background level, and has been elevated above the background level since the Pleistocene. The current extinction rate is more rapid than in any other extinction event in earth history, and 50% of species could be extinct by the end of this century. While the role of humans is unclear in the longer-term extinction pattern, it is clear that factors such as deforestation, habitat destruction, hunting, the introduction of non-native species, pollution and climate change have reduced biodiversity profoundly.' (wiki)

"I think the bottom line is, what kind of a world do you want to leave for your children," Andrew Smith, a professor in the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences, said in a telephone interview. "How impoverished we would be if we lost 25 percent of the world's mammals," said Smith, one of more than 100 co-authors of the report. "Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," added Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN director general. "We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives."--

"The wealth of the universe is for me. Every thing is explicable and practical for me .... I am defeated all the time; yet to victory I am born." --emerson

no need to confuse 'religion' with being a spiritual being. our soul purpose here is to care for one another. failing that, we're simply passing through (excess baggage) being distracted/consumed by the guaranteed to fail illusionary trappings of man'kind'. & recently (about 10,000 years ago) it was determined that hoarding & excess by a few, resulted in negative consequences for all.

consult with/trust in your creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

all the manuals say we're not to kill each other, & we're mandated to care for/about one another, before any other notion will succeed. one does not need to agree whois 'in charge' to grasp the possibility that there may be some assistance available to us, including from each other. there's also the question of frequent extreme 'distractions' preventing us from following the simple 'directions' we were given, along with everything we needed to accomplish our task. see you there?
boeing, boeing, gone.

Wow. People finally wising up. (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916662)

Finns never struck me as particularly religious anyway.
I wonder what's going on with Sweden, Norway and Denmark?

la times gets a clue? stuff that REALLY matters (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916672)

There were a lot of us in the run-up to Sept. 11 who had seen warning signs that something devastating might be in the planning stages. But we worked for ossified bureaucracies incapable of acting quickly and decisively. Lately, the two of us have been wondering how things might have been different if there had been a quick, confidential way to get information out.

One of us, Coleen Rowley, was a special agent/legal counsel at the FBI's Minneapolis division and worked closely with those who arrested would-be terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui on an immigration violation less than a month before the World Trade Center was destroyed.

Following up on a tip from flight school instructors who had become suspicious of the French Moroccan who claimed to want to fly a jet as an "ego boost," Special Agent Harry Samit and an INS colleague had detained Moussaoui. A foreign intelligence service promptly reported that he had connections with a foreign terrorist group, but FBI officials in Washington inexplicably turned down Samit's request for authority to search Moussaoui's laptop computer and personal effects.

"Those same officials stonewalled Samit's supervisor, who pleaded with them in late August 2001 that he was "trying to keep someone from taking a plane and crashing into the World Trade Center." (Yes, he was that explicit.) Later, testifying at Moussaoui's trial, Samit testified that he believed the behavior of his FBI superiors in Washington constituted "criminal negligence."

The 9/11 Commission ultimately concluded that Moussaoui was most likely being primed as a Sept. 11 replacement pilot and that the hijackers probably would have postponed their strike if information about his arrest had been announced.

WikiLeaks might have provided a pressure valve for those agents who were terribly worried about what might happen and frustrated by their superiors' seeming indifference. They were indeed stuck in a perplexing, no-win ethical dilemma as time ticked away. Their bosses issued continual warnings against "talking to the media" and frowned on whistle-blowing, yet the agents felt a strong need to protect the public."

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