[Okay, let me see if I can get this straight? Are you seriously suggesting that Russia is a predominately Christian country?
Is this is even a matter of debate?]
Yes I am saying that Russia is a Christian country. Going by what you give as examples (Ref: http://www.roca.org/OA/122/122a.htmQuote
: "Only 29 percent of the population hold the Christian faith).
Then you would also have to say that most of western europe are no longer christain countries. A 29% church attendance is higher than than both England and France for instance.
While Christianity is dying in the west where there is a shortage of priests, nuns, and monks and empty churches are closing daily the opposite is true in Russia where there is definitely a revival of Orthodox Christianity -
Current statistics from the Moscow Patriarchate -
THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH TODAY
The Russian Orthodox Church is the largest religious association in our country. At present it has 128 dioceses in various regions of Russia and in far and near abroad. Since 1990 the Russian Church has been led by His holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia,. the 15th patriarch in its history, who governs together with the Holy Synod. In the Russian Orthodox Church today there are 128 dioceses (for comparison, there were 67 diocese in 1989), 19000 parishes (6893 in 1988), and nearly 480 monasteries (18 in 1980). These figures point vividly to an all-round revival of church life taking place under the primatial leadership of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia. The pastoral service is carried out by 150 bishops, 17500 priests and 2300 deacons. The network of educational Orthodox institutions is directed by the Education Committee. At present there are 5 theological academies (there were 2 in 1991), 26 seminaries (there were 3 in 1988), and 29 pre-seminaries, which did not exist at all till the 90s. There are two Orthodox universities, a Theological Institute, a women's pre-seminary, and 28 icon-painting schools. The total number of theological students including those of the correspondence departments is about 6000 people. Educational institutions have been established to develop religious education among the laity. This important work is coordinated by the Department for Religious Education and Catechism. There is a variety of forms in which religious education and catechization of lay people are carried out, including Sunday schools at churches, circles for adults, groups for preparing adults for baptism, Orthodox kindergartens, Orthodox groups in state-run kindergartens, Orthodox gymnasia, schools, lyceums, and Orthodox courses for teachers of catechism. Sunday school has been the most popular form of catechism. In the field of charity the work is carried out on all-church level through the Department for Church Charity and Social Service. It is necessary to mention in the first place a number of successfully functioning medical programs. A special mention should be made of the Moscow Patriarchate's Central Hospital of St. Alexis the Metropolitan of Moscow. In the situation where healthcare is becoming commercial, this medical institution is one of the few clinics in Moscow which provide free medical check-up and treatment. A psychiatric service has been set up at the Mental Health Center of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. It gives free help to persons sent by parishes in the Moscow diocese. These are only a few examples of concrete work carried out by the above-mentioned Department. In December 1990 the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decided to establish a church youth organization. This decision led to the First Congress of Orthodox Youth which set up an All-Church Orthodox Youth Movement as an official youth organization established by the Russian Orthodox Church. The tasks which the Movement set itself at that time were to attract children, adolescents and young people who sought their way to church in the fold of the Russian Orthodox Church and to unite groups of young Orthodox Christians under programs of social service, restoration of monasteries and churches, pilgrimages and contacts with young Christians in other countries. The external contacts of the Russian Orthodox Church are supervised by the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate. It tasks include the following: - to provide hierarchical and financial administration over dioceses, monasteries, parishes and other institutions of our Church in far abroad; - to prepare decisions for the church authorities concerning church-state and church-society relations; - to maintain relations of the Russian Orthodox Church with Local Orthodox Churches, non-Orthodox Churches and religious associations, non-Christian religions, religious and secular international organizations, public, political, social, cultural, academic, economic, financial and other institutions, as well as mass media.
Now, can you compare that to the church attendance statistics in any country in western europe?
Religious Statistics for Western Europe
Religious Statistics -
New statistic 2004: 24% Atheist; 11% Agnostic; 18% Deist; 3% Hinduist, Sikh or Muslim; 16% Neodoukhobor; 5% Pseudoatheist according to the previous computations with the ISSP; 23% Christian (Anglican, Protestant, Catholic), group practicing and conservative
Note: I guess we can even say that England is less Christain than Russia.
New statistic (Approximative): 1/10 Atheist; 1/5 Agnostic; 2% Muslim; 12% Deist;
13% Christian deist; 12% New Age; 4% Neodoukhobor; 15% Pseudochristian (acc. WVS) and Catholic the 11% surely.
Note: Same with Belgium
- New statistic 2004: 14% atheist; 25% agnostic; 4% Muslim Deist; 27% Christian Deist; 6% pseudoatheist; 1% Muslim; 1% pseudo-Sikh; 15.5% neodoukhobor; 5.5% Catholic (!).
Note: Definitely France!!!
And how about Germany!
- New statistic: 23% Atheist; 16% Agnostic; 16% Deist; 5% Christian deist; 5% Pseudoatheist; 2% Muslim; 18% Neodoukhobor; 14% Christian (surely 6% Catholic, 8% Protestant).
Conclusion: After 77+ tears of religious persecution that was not experienced in western europe.... Russia isn't any less Christain than any other supposedly Christian nation in western europe!