Originally Posted by Smokering
I'm confused here. Anglicans aren't Protestant. Protestant doesn't just mean "not-Catholic", otherwise Orthodox Christians would be considered Protestant. Protestantism arose from the Reformation for theological reasons; Anglicanism arose from Henry VIII for political reasons. So is orange a Protestant colour, or an Anglican colour? Or is "Protestant" used in a different sense in Ireland? Or is Anglicanism in Ireland very low-church and evangelical and therefore more similar to Protestantism in theology and practice than Catholicism (there being a very wide spectrum of Anglicanism)? Or what?
I'm really trying to not post on this thread because I really don't have any desire to argue, but since you asked this, no one else has offered an answer. So I'll try.
The terms "protestant" and "catholic" and just a short hand for two different groups of people. There are currently more people in Ireland who consider themselves Catholic, for example, than believe in the existence of god. I follow yoga as a spiritual path and my favorite spiritual book is the Bhagavad Gita. I'm not a Christian, not even close. But, in Irish terms I'm a protestant because my parents are, my grandparents were, etc. For me as an American, that doesn't make sense. I don't think of myself as protestant, because I think one needs to follow Jesus to first, but Jesus doesn't figure much into the whole deal in Ireland.
Really, you can't be a good Christian, either prod or catholic, and participate in murder and terrorism. The conflict was carried about by people on both sides ignoring their 'beliefs." Jesus taught to turn the other check. Even though I'm not a christian, I think if all the people around the world who say they are Christians or considered themselves either prods or catholics actually followed his teachings, the world would be a much nicer and safer place.
Anyway, I was looking around on the internet for something this morning to help explain it and found this
There was often a significant misunderstanding by outside observers looking at the long running conflict in Northern Ireland who frequently saw it as a “religious war”. It never was, it was a struggle between communities with diverse histories and cultures. Thus the well know gag about the Belfast man who stated that he was Jewish, only to be asked “Yes, but are you a Catholic Jew or a Protestant Jew?”.
It's from this web site, http://www.dochara.com/the-irish/facts/about-religion/
which is from a Republic of Ireland point of view, not a N. Ireland point of view, and is quite good. There is a break down at the top that shows the break down of religions, but I can't tell if it for just the Republic or for the whole island.
For a long time, Ireland really lacked diversity. It was all white people who believed (more or less) in Jesus. It's becoming more diverse, which will hopefully help.