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Eastern Europe 1996: A review of religious life in Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech republic and Poland

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Czechs are some of the least religious people in Eastern Europe. In contrast, their close neighbors and one-time compatriots, the Slovaks, are vastly more religious. What explains this marked difference in religiosity between two regions that have shared a common history throughout the twentieth century? Statistical analyses of demographic differences do not yield any convincing answers. Instead, the religious differences between Czechs and Slovaks are rooted in the historical relationship between religion and nationalism in both regions. This paper provides a historical framework in which to understand current religious differences and shows that secularization is a complex phenomenon which depends heavily on church relations with nationalist sentiment.
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