Worshiping God costs, atheists say / News / The Foreigner

Worshiping God costs, atheists say. Denmark’s Atheist Society launches a campaign to show Christians that leaving the Church could save them money. The group has placed large adverts on the side of buses in Århus, the Scandinavian country’s second-largest city, located on the island of Jutland. They ask three questions “Why believe in a God?”, “Why does faith cost something,” and “Did Jesus and Mohammad speak with a god?”

religion, church, worship, atheist, denmark, paywall



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Worshiping God costs, atheists say

Published on Wednesday, 13th April, 2016 at 20:40 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Sarah Bostock and Lyndsey Smith      .

Denmark’s Atheist Society launches a campaign to show Christians that leaving the Church could save them money.

The advertisement on a bus
Less than half of Danes want to be members of the State Church, according to the Atheist Society.The advertisement on a bus
Photo: Atheist Society of Denmark


The group has placed large adverts on the side of buses in Århus, the Scandinavian country’s second-largest city, located on the island of Jutland.

They ask three questions “Why believe in a God?”, “Why does faith cost something,” and “Did Jesus and Mohammad speak with a god?”

Danish citizens automatically gain membership of the Church of Denmark when they are baptized.

The average Dane pays DKK 133,000 a year in Church Tax (some USD 20,165/EUR 17,880/GBP 14,200 at today’s ROE), according to the Society.

It is collected as part of their membership fee, with the Danish government providing additional financial support.

Choosing to leave the Church is done by submitting a written application. Atheist Society spokesperson Anders Stjernholm comments to The Foreigner that “resigning membership of the State Church in Denmark has always been difficult.”

“About half of those who are members don’t actually want to be one. I base this on a survey that Denmark’s Centre for Church Research conducted in 2013.”

“Researchers asked how many would wish to become members of the State Church again if they were thrown out tomorrow. Just 48 per cent answered in the affirmative,” he adds.

The Society also provides a website address people can go to as part of the campaign, where those who wish to leave the Church can complete a form.

The Society then sends an email with the necessary documents to the person’s local church office.

Both these services are free of charge. Who funds you?

“We’ve spent our own members’ money on our campaigns, which have an annual budget of DKK 150,000 (about USD 22,750/EUR 20,155/GBP 16,000). Luckily, they are not expensive. But we’re also hoping for donations as the website grows in popularity, or perhaps there’s a rich atheist benefactor out there would like to invest.”

Mr Stjernholm explains that the campaign was first-conceived in the autumn of 2015 via their Facebook page.

The present one in Århus succeeds the bus advertisement campaign run in Copenhagen last year.

The city’s transport company, Movia, would only allow two of the three questions – “Why believe in a God?”, and “Why does faith cost something?”

This was because they “didn’t want officially to target any specific religions,” remarks Mr Stjernholm.

How do you see the third “Did Jesus and Mohammad speak with a god?” question being received at a time of increased refugee influx to Denmark and the recently-passed ‘smykkeloven’?

“I see it as being a very important question to ask right now, because it shows Muslims and Christians the similarity of their respective religions.”

“They are both based on a man in a desert who had contact with God. If religious people from different faiths looked at that more, it would help integration,” concludes Mr Stjernholm.



Published on Wednesday, 13th April, 2016 at 20:40 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Sarah Bostock and Lyndsey Smith      .

This post has the following tags: religion, church, worship, atheist, denmark, paywall.





  
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