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> Crefydd Yng Nghymru, Religion and Beliefs in Wales
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Siarls 
Posted: 13-May-2005, 08:37 AM
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ZodiacHawthorn

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I am so eager to introduce Wales to the world and everything about our culture. I think religion is a hugely important aspect of culture. I thought here we could discuss religion and beliefs.

Of course, Christianity played a huge part in the development of Welsh and it is thanks to the Bible that most Welsh people became literate in their own language.

Wales is not particularly religious anymore, although the Welsh chapel is always busy. (Welsh speakers are more religious than English speakers).

In fact, I strongly agree with the French concept of lacit - that the state is free from religion. I am trying to coin a Welsh word (please help me if you can, I am having a rough time making lacit look Welsh!).

I thought we could even discuss the ancient religions of Wales, which are the foundation for many Christian festivals today, including Christmas.


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Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf im gwlad
Tra mr yn fur
I'r bur hoff bau
O bydded ir heniaith barhau
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gwenynen 
Posted: 13-May-2005, 01:58 PM
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The decline of Christian influence is seen in most of the Western countries as well. Christianity is often regarded as just a study of theorogies, as a tradition and as a shackle to take freedom away from people.

That is sad because to me Christianity is personal faith in Jesus Christ.


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Weithiau, mae'r ateb i'n problemau o dan ein trwynau, dim ond bod angen i ni gymryd cam yn l ac edrych eto. - Stuart Kerner
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Siarls 
Posted: 13-May-2005, 03:57 PM
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Are you Christian then, Gwenynen?

There have long been religious struggles in Wales. From the introduction of Christianity, to the Anglican Church to Nonconformism. I think the Welsh have come to a point where we don't see the need for religion anymore.

Having said that, most of us still believe in God. I don't go anywhere near Chapel, nor will I ever touch a Bible. But I do believe in God. Most of my friends and family say the same thing.
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gwenynen 
Posted: 13-May-2005, 10:45 PM
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Yes, I am a Christian.

The God you believe says you can come to Him only through Jesus Christ, no other ways. I'm not a theologian and not going to preach. I just have a simple faith in Jesus who has forgiven my sins.

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Siarls 
Posted: 14-May-2005, 07:17 AM
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Is anyone interested in learning more about Druidism? They believe in God, don't they?
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Siarls 
Posted: 17-May-2005, 07:50 AM
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I've just dug up an old book about Ancient Welsh customs. It focuses mainly on Calan Gaeaf (Halloween) if anyone's interested in discussing it?
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Antwn 
Posted: 29-May-2005, 05:35 PM
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Caf i geisio hyn yn Gymraeg gynta, os gweli di'n dda?

Yr oedd dderwyddiaeth grefydd bantheistiedig mewn cyferbyniad 'r syniad Cristnogol o'r "meistr mawr" mewn nef a bydd yn penderfynu'r dynged o bob un ohonon ni yn l yr hyn naethon ni o fewn amrantu y llygad mewn amser a ydi eu bywyd.

Mae dderwyddiaeth ym ymwneud ag astudiaeth a dysg hefyd. Pe byddet ti'n siarad yn hanesyddol, does neb yn wybod faint o wybodaeth am dderwyddiaeth sy'n cywir am fod goroesodd cynlleied a ydi'n gredadwy.

Am daflu llwch i'n llygaid ydy'r swyddogaeth y grefyddon yn fy marn i.

"I believe in God but I spell it Nature" -- Frank Lloyd Wright, Cymro llinach.


Antwn


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Yr hen Gymraeg i mi,
Hon ydyw iaith teimladau,
Ac adlais i guriadau
Fy nghalon ydyw hi
--- Mynyddog
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gwenynen 
Posted: 29-May-2005, 08:25 PM
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This is beyond me. Would you write an English translation, please?
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Antwn 
Posted: 30-May-2005, 09:30 PM
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Hello Gwenynen,

I was just telling Siarls that Druidism is a pantheistic religion as opposed to a single God concept as in Christianity. Druidism also is concerned with learning and study. Unfortunately there's not much known about it that's credible, most of the details about beliefs, rituals etc. are lost. Druids served a social and educational function too, they were a scholarly class and responsible for carrying on an oral tradition.

I happen to know some Neo-Pagans, some in my own family, however personally I'm not much into religion, pagan or otherwise although I do think its an interesting subject. Sorry, this is more synopsis than translation. Next time I'll just post in English. I was experimenting, not sure I even got this Welsh right myself!

Cofion,
Antwn
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gwenynen 
Posted: 31-May-2005, 07:44 AM
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Thanks, Antwn.
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Siarls 
Posted: 31-May-2005, 04:40 PM
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Sai'n gwybod lot am dderwyddiaeth, sef y gair Cymraeg a d'eud y gwir! Ond mae'n eithaf boblogaidd, yn arbennig yn Ynys Afallon.

I don't know a lot about druidism, including the Welsh word to be honest!! But it's quite popular, especially in Glastonbury. (The Welsh word for Glastonbury Ynys Afallon is fairly old fashioned, but you can see that it means Avalon Island. However, I have completely forgotten what Avalon/Afallon is. Something to do with King Arthur?)
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Antwn 
Posted: 12-Aug-2005, 03:03 PM
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I'm curious Siarls, besides Christianity and Druidism/Paganism what other religions are prominent in Wales? I understand there are alot of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent who live there. Are there many Hindu temples or Islamic mosques around, or other religions from that area such as Sikh or Jain? What about Judaism?

Antwn
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Siarls 
Posted: 13-Aug-2005, 07:37 AM
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Hello Antwn.
In the Welsh Valleys, Nonconformism prevails. Although I was recently in Cydweli near Llanelli when I heard a woman speaking Welsh to her children and I noticed she was wearing a hidjab. It turned out she was originally Welsh, but had converted to Islam to marry. Her children are now Islamic Welsh speakers. This is very rare indeed.

The Welsh Language tends to go hand in hand with Welsh Nonconformist Christianity and the Welsh Chapel was the centre of lifestyle in Wales.

Cardiff is a truly multicultural city, like any capital. I was once in a taxi and the driver was Cypriot but wished he could speak Welsh and was proud to be living in Wales and considered himself now more Welsh than Cypriot. For a Welsh speaking Valleys boy with stong ideas of Cymreictod, I was dubious over his claims to Welshness as I often consider Welshness to be a tribe of people rather than a nationality. My nationality is British, my race is Welsh.

Nonetheless, I was open minded and began to enjoy the idea of Welsh nationhood - a nation that was catching up with the world and enjoying cultural transfusion.

There are no mosques or synagogues out of Cardiff or Swansea, really. Maybe Newport and Bridgend. The rest of Wales remains strongly Christian and whilst Welsh Language preservation continues, this shall always be the way until immigrants learn Welsh. This is not right winged ideas, it is a simple fact: immigrants come to Wales and learn English because of British laws and the lack of knowledge about Welsh culture. Consequently, Welsh Language efforts will exclude these people.

Other religions, it must be noted, tend to remain within themselves in Wales. Despite the large proportion of Indian subcontinent immigrants, it is difficult for them to integrate into a society that is passionately proud of its unrecognised culture, whether they speak Welsh, or not. The Welsh can be particularly narrow minded and hypocritical.

When I go to Swansea and Cardiff, I see many Muslims and Sikhs. All of whom are with other Muslims or Sikhs and are speaking their own language. I am so sorry to say that I feel they must learn English AND Welsh. We have a language to preserve here. I am more than open to their beliefs, lifestyle and feel they can only contribute to Wales.

I can go on and on, but shall end here just in case I am going off the point or coming across as a Welsh nazi. (Far from, I'm a pro-Welsh socialist. As in I believe in socialism, but want Wales to be completely Welsh speakingly socialist!!)
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Antwn 
Posted: 13-Aug-2005, 03:41 PM
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ZodiacBirch

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Thanks for elucidating the current status of religion in Wales. What you're saying is pretty much what I'd expected.

I like your statement about Welshness as a tribe, because tribal consituency is defined culturally not strictly by national borders. I share your dream of a Welsh speaking Wales and have often wished that there were only 1/2 million English speakers in Wales rather than Welsh speakers. While I think English is an important language to learn and am grateful that its my native language, Wales could be like Holland or the Scandanavian countries, where English is widely understood and taught throughout school, but its not the national language or the language of every-day use. That may be a naive pipedream, but a bilingual Wales is certainly a realistic possibility, not to mention that a Welsh language requirement for immigrants would do alot to expand the number of speakers.

As far as socialism is concerned, I think if has worked well in smaller countries. I'll use Scandanavian countries as a example again. I don't think it would work well here in our Jeffersonian democracy, and frankly I'm suspicious of it. In the States, government responsibility for services has been historically fickle and I don't trust government ownership of industry here at all, in my opinion its a recipe for abuse - like giving unlimited credit without collateral to someone who's declared bankruptcy 250 times.

Immigrants who come here usually stick to themselves too, at least until the 2nd or 3rd generation. I agree that they should be required to learn Welsh and English to become citizens and live in Wales. Actually, they may be more open to that idea, since many come from multilingual societies and are accustomed to it.

Anyway, I hope we can continue the discussion about religion. I just heard an announcement that the library is closing in a couple of minutes, so I'll have to go.

Thanks again --
Antwn
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Siarls 
Posted: 15-Aug-2005, 06:42 AM
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I agree with you on the idea of a Welsh-speaking Wales, and I also agree that we should remain English-speaking! This is what's so fantastic about the Eisteddfod. Welsh is the language of habitual use and people will first approach you in Welsh, even outside the Eisteddfod. When my car broke down outside the Eisteddfod last year, people were asking me if I needed help... in Welsh. It was wonderful to hear - I nearly cried. Well, my car did also completely fall apart, so I was emotional anyway! (I had to be towed back to Swansea).

Religion is an interesting topic in Wales, and it sort of extends into sociology, language and politics. Doesn't religion always?!

A lot of people, immigrants particularly English, but a lot of native Welsh people are against the idea of habitual Welsh. I recently heard about a woman who was furious that her local council was automatically sending her child to a Welsh medium school because the English medium school was too far away. She was Welsh. I was horrified!

When I was in school, there was a French girl who came to the English medium lessons (my school was bilingual), but was excused from Welsh lessons and did not go to any Welsh medium lessons. Instead, she sat in the library on her own and did work or read a book. Not exactly the way forward to integrating Wales, is it?
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