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The record-breaking Downton Abbey spans a deliciously long stretch of time. The show includes the wreck of the Titanic, in which the Crawley family loses its heir, the lead-up to World War I, the War itself, its ...

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Displaying 1–14 of 14 comments

becky roland

February 04, 2013  6:12pm

Why are Christians even watching it?

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Fred Y

January 15, 2013  5:24pm

It's true that there isn't very much explicit religion in Downton Abbey. Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly spoke with Rev. Ian Markham, dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary—who turns out to be a big fan of Downton Abbey! He talks about religious and spiritual themes in the series, from the invisibility of God to the relationship between faith and a rapidly changing social order. You can view the interview along with previews of Season 3 here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/religion-and-downton-abb ey/14519/

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Pop Seal

January 14, 2013  9:30am

It is both naive and 'unbiblical' to expect legitimate Christianity to get good representation from anything in pop culture, regardless of the nature of the presentation or media form employed.

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Rick Morren

January 08, 2013  12:57pm

God isn't absent in Downton Abbey. Christianity is not about how often you mention the name of Christ or go to Church, or as the writer of the above report, Mr. Dorman notes "that there should be a character in the script displaying visible faith". The subtle mentioning of God by the Downton Abbey creators in some of the scenes shows that they basically applied a Biblical approach in making sure that Christ was not overlooked in this production intended for a global and varied audience, including both believers and non-believers. Watching Downton Abbey the viewer does not come away with the feeling that the Crawley family is composed of a bunch of agnostics. Overall this a positive development when watching most of today's TV drama's and sitcoms.

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Rick Dalbey

January 07, 2013  2:46pm

Paul, by your standard, there has never been a Christian Church. You are asking for absolute moral, doctrinal and ethical purity with consistent behavior. Does your local church fit that? No. Does America fit that? Of course not. What do we mean when we say a Muslim Nation or a Hindu nation or a Christian nation? We mean the majority of the nation respects and assents to the tenets of that religion, basing their laws on its principles as in India or Saudi Arabia. The majority attends religious services or are baptized. We don't measure whether they live up to the tenets or are sinful. Why call India a Hindu nation if the majority do not live up to Krishna's teachings as Ghandi pointed out? Or why call Iran a Muslim country? England has historically been a Christian nation. National polls show a growing apostasy. Plus, you are ignoring all the arguments for the concept of a just war, which is an ancient argument. America did not enter world war 2 for wealth and power. We were attacked.

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Paul Schryba

January 07, 2013  2:16pm

Frank Keefe: The question for every nation, and citizens of those nations, is: what do they really believe in and worship? In what did they trust? What did they strive for? The "kingdom of God"? Did they believe in 'love your enemies', 'gather not into barns', 'seek not the first place'? They sought empire- worldly wealth and power. It was called the British 'empire'; and it was no different for America, France, Germany and Russia . People worshipped Christ in church with their lips; and then went out to get power and wealth. Christianity was limited in the society as a whole to conformity to moral codes of conduct and assent to statements of belief. "Love your neighbor" was confined to your fellow citizens. As to the Nazis, while there were many causes of WWII, the unforgiveness of France and Britain in levying heavy reparations (how many times are Christians to forgive?) on Germany fostered the hatred that led to WWII. "Christianity", as Chesterton observed, hasn't been tried.

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Frank Keefe

January 07, 2013  1:34pm

Paul Schryba,You are right in a sense to say a Christian nation is one that lives Christs teachings but even the churches that Paul raised up had many problems but in essence they worshipped The Lord. Within certain Christian nations like Britain decades ago the church did uphold those beliefs and Christianity was the faith of the nation even though many faults could be found like those in the Pauline churches. If Britain didnt defend its people agains Hitler and Nazism then we would have been slaves and free speech which you and I and others have on this forum wouldn't be tolerated.Today it's much different Britain is more secular than Christian and in my opinion we as a nation are paying a heavy price for it. More teenage mothers than ever before....more violent films including on tv....more violent and sexual video games....and more attacks by young people against the elderly.Britain is truly a more and Moore Godless nation.

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Paul Schryba

January 07, 2013  9:25am

There has never been a 'Christian' nation; a nation where the majority of the population lived Christ's teachings; that His kingdom was not 'of this world', and that wealth consisted not in material possessions and power but in love and service. ("Gather not into barns... store up treasures.') The measure of a 'Christian' nation is not the number of baptisms, but the conversion of hearts. World War I was fought by the 'Christian' nations of England, Germany, America, and Russia. (I'm not sure if France was 'Christian', but it certainly had many Christians in it.) The war was fought over worldly wealth and power; 'Christians' at the behest of their national government bombed, gassed, shot, stabbed their fellow 'Christians'. One brief moment of sanity was the Christmas truce. It was that war that lead to the Bolsheviks gaining power in Russia and the disillusionment of the 'roaring 20s'. Being 'Christian cannot be measured by 'belief', but one's life.

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Emlyn Williams

January 06, 2013  1:06am

For the record - and I know this is very petty in the light of the issues of secularism raised in the other comments - Downton Abbey has nothing to do with the BBC. In the UK it is broadcast on the ITV network. Of course, it may get a mention on BBC News if it wins an award! And yes, Britain is becoming increasingly secular even if it is a more complex issue than simply church attendance. Of course this is not just an issue for Britain, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand are facing it - as is the US!

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Frank Keefe

January 05, 2013  7:58am

Both Kat and Kimberly are right.Britain is now a secular nation more than a Christian one,the latest news about the Church of England recognising gay Bishops proves the point. Even the established church in this country is opening it's doors to the secular world and instead of being a shining light to the world the darkness of that world is putting out the light.And is Britain a much better place because of its secularism NO just look at the statistics. More teenage mothers the highest per capita in the world some girls even much younger..more violence and extreme sex not just in the cinema but on tv....violent video games and attacks on the elderly by young people increasing. Morally this country is in decline and though non Christians will disagree the more God is removed from our land the worse it will get.

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Kat McH

January 04, 2013  8:43pm

Anyone who has watched the series knows that the drama is around the household. The vicar has no real connection to the household and thus is not an integral part of the story. That fact is also a reflection of the increasing irrelevance of religion to modern life.

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Rick Dalbey

January 04, 2013  5:04pm

in 1930, 699 infants per 1000 born were baptized that year, in 1980, 364 per 1000 born were baptized and in 2010 only 121. A steep decline. In 1920, 199 per 1000 of the population were confirmed in the Church, In 2010, 22 per 1000 of the population were confirmed. That is a drop from 20% confirmed to 2.2 % confirmed. England WAS a very religious society in the 1920s and 1930s. The problem is you have post-Christan writers re-writing history. The church WAS an integral part of their lives and values, but Britain has fallen deeply in apostasy and millennials are pretending that this is the way it has always been. There is hope and there are pockets of revival. 72% still regard themselves as Christian.

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KIMBERLY L BALL

January 04, 2013  3:39pm

I visited England in 1980 and I have to comment that the English are not very religious, at least not in an American sense. I don't consider it to be a Christian nation at all. Very few people attend church or consider themselves affiliated with any denomination, and the fervent sort of worship we have here in the States is probably considered unseemly by the laconic English. I think the absence of the vicar in Downton Abbey is a correct reflection of the attitude of the upper classes toward their vicars; not really an integral part of their lives and values.

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Rick Dalbey

January 04, 2013  2:11pm

Though it may be written about the teens and twenties of England, it is written by post-christians and reflects their highly selective world view.

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