Thursday, October 28, 2010

Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox?


Are Protestants, Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox more inclined to removing shoes in homes? Which culture is more 'Offalist?'

This post is just for fun. Anybody who has done proper ethnographic research will see the errors in my methodology.

Let's list shoe-removing countries by religious majority. To make this simple, I am going to confine myself to historic Christendom and leave out Christian majorities in Asia, Africa and the pacific.

Shoe-removing Countries with Catholic majorities

Austria
Poland
Croatia
Slovenia
Lithuania
Latvia (but Protestants are almost even)
Czech Republic
Slovakia

Total: 8 countries


Shoe-removing Countries with Protestant majorities

Sweden
Norway
Denmark
Finland
Iceland
Estonia (but Orthodox are almost even)

Total: 6 countries


Shoe-removing countries with Orthodox majorities

Russia
Belarus
Romania
Moldova
Ukraine
Georgia
Bulgaria
Serbia
Montenegro
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (come on, you Balkans, sort it out, then I won't have to use that mouthful)

Total: 10 countries


I have heard conflicting things about Hungary, Armenia and Greece. Most of the evidence suggests that Greeks don't take their shoes off at the door.

Okay, so Eastern Orthodox win, Catholics come second, Protestants come last. Obviously this does not prove Eastern Orthodoxy is the true religion. Of course my weird demographic study does not take into account the large Roman Catholic populations in South America, where people mostly keep their shoes on in homes.

As for me, I am a Protestant. I believe the Bible to be the sole and infallible authority for Christians and that justication by faith alone is at the heart of the gospel. I reject the claims of the false Papacy and the traditions of Orthodoxy.

20 comments:

Sandro said...

About Hungary, I've repeatedly read they de-shoe at homes (as told by the Hungarians themselves) + some advice for tourists. I even saw a clip in youtube of a shoeless party in Hungary (haven't been able to recover it now), yet may describe it )
About Armenia, I've never been to, but AFAIK those Armenians who live in Armenia mostly don't take their shoes off at homes considering it "Turkish", which cannot contribute to the practice adopted considering some historical reasons. I've only read once an Armenian supporting shoes-off in a forum.
Yet Armenians in other countries (Georgia or Russia e.g.) have fully adopted shoes-off.

Sandro said...

CF, it's an interesting approach
It'd be interesting to know what you think these numbers suggest

Celestial Fundy said...

Maybe the desire to avoid being 'Turkish' is why the Greeks apparently keep their shoes on.

Celestial Fundy said...

These numbers mean nothing, because there are a multitude of factors I have not taken into consideration.

The most obvious fact about the list of countries here is that they are either in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe or central Europe (leaving out Georgia and Iceland that are outside Europe technically).

On the face of it, this list of countries would support the rather boring (IMO) suggestion that it is all about climate and these are just countries are just shoe-removing because they have harsh winters. I think there is more to it than that.

Its hard to think of a country which has harsh winters where shoes are kept on.

Sandro said...

Agree about Greece, CF.
Don't think the climate is the only factor, though and important one. Mentality is very important.
UK winters are not so mild I guess, and there must a lot of mud on streets, yet people still prefer to stay on one's shoulder in church )
Norway is well-known for taking shoes-off in any season though sidewalk, regularly washed, is said to be so clean in Oslo that one can sit on in white trousers without any risk to dirty them.
A shoes-off South-European country, Bulgaria, must have mild winters.
About figures, the equal proportions may serve an evidence confession differences within Christianity mean nothing for the issue while profane cultural background does.

Jasper said...

Well CF, you can bend figures any which way you want. If you would look at Europe as it stood before the disintegration of the former USSR and the equally erstwhile Yugosavia and the split of Czechoslovakia (all of which happened some 20 years ago), things would look like this:

Shoe-removing Countries with Catholic majorities

Austria
Poland
Parts of the former Yugoslavia
Parts of the former USSR
Former Czechoslovakia

Total: 5 countries

Shoe-removing Countries with Protestant majorities

Sweden
Norway
Denmark
Finland
Iceland
Parts of the former USSR

Total: 6 countries

Shoe-removing countries with Orthodox majorities

Parts of the former USSR
Parts of the former Yugoslavia
Romania
Bulgaria

Total: 4 countries

Conclusion, based on shady methodology: Protestant countries are most prone to shoe-removal, Orthodox (European) countries the least - exactly the inverse of your results. Of course (population size does matter, but I'm in a helpful mood LOL. And I'm a Protestant myself, tough I would not by all means cosider myself a fundamentalist

Celestial Fundy said...

Sandro, I have never been to Bulgaria, but I imagine it must be cold in winter because of its separation from the gulf stream.

I believe northern Turkey gets pretty cold in winter. Our troops suffered enormously when figting in the Gallipoli campaign in winter, back in the First World war.

Celestial Fundy said...

Jasper, as I said there are many reasons why my figures are meaningless.

One factor I am ignoring is the small number of Protestant majorities in Europe overall.

There is in fact only one non-shoe removing Protestant majority in Europe, the UK. Germany has slightly more Catholics than Protestants (I would count Germany as non-shoe removing, because I am not sure that those who remove their shoes are in the majority. If they are largely confined to the former Democratic German Republic, then yes, they must be in minority).

Celestial Fundy said...

I re-edited this post.

I don't know if anybody noticed the absence of Moldova.

I was driving down to Hastings on Friday and it suddenly hit me, what about Moldova?

I vaguely remember reading a blog post that mentioned removing shoes in Moldova. Even if I am wrong, I would be pretty surprised if people kept their shoes on in Moldova.

Sandro said...

From a number of films and TV programs in Russian I definitely know Moldova is a shoes-off-at-homes country, and so is Romania

Celestial Fundy said...

Those are not affected by the tendency in film and television to have people in shoes all the time?

Sandro said...

don't know about Moldova, but only a small (10%) part of Russian-written forum visitors advocate shoes-on as something "cute" and "western", maybe as a result of films, while most people express their surprise with such movies

Celestial Fundy said...

That is good.

I don't get many Russian visitors. Those viewing this blog in Russia seldom stay more than a few seconds, according to the stats.

Sandro said...

Removing shoes is an active topic in the "runet". Most people are wondering why TV distorts the picture often.

Celestial Fundy said...

Good to hear. Maybe lack of English puts off a lot of Russian visitors from this blog.

Sandro said...

Must be like that

Sandro said...

there was another census in Russia not long ago; Russian TV channels showed a census girl questioning the Putins supposedly at their place; one of the points mostly discussed by Russian bloggers which they said proved "Putin's home" had been an imitation was "why hasn't the girl taken her boots off?"

Celestial Fundy said...

How fascinating!

In Putin's defence, I would imagine that he must regularly entertain foreign dignitaries and might have at least part of his home where shoes are kept on (though I don't know why it would be so difficult for foreign dignitaries to take their shoes off).

Sandra said...

Putin would never allow a "common citizen" enter his real home

Celestial Fundy said...

You are probably right.