I'm new to Baltimore. I've lived here for a little over two years. One of the first things I noticed about the city was the number of churches that scatter the landscape.

At first I was weirded out: I grew up in a town that had churches on almost every corner, and I left that place 13 years ago. I had become accustomed to living in places that had liquor stores on every corner, not churches! To see so many religious buildings again gave me the heebies.

Then I had an interesting exchange with someone who grew up in a very dangerous area of Baltimore. I asked, "So, what's the deal with all the churches?" He said, "I think when people have nothing left, they need something to hold on to."

That really struck me. I haven't looked at the churches in Baltimore the same way since. I see them almost as signposts for the troubles this city suffers from.

(As an aside, I hail from the west, and the churches out there are not nearly as old, or as beautiful, as the churches here on the east coast. I appreciate some of the architecture in the older buildings.)

To anyone who joins this group: I would love to know whether you grew up here or if you moved here later in life, and what you think of religion in Baltimore.

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I moved here for college, moved away, then moved back. I find it interesting that while driving from point A to point B you will pass not only a huge number of churches but a huge diversity, from really beautiful stone buildings to completely sad looking storefront churches. It's a good lesson in how Baltimore works.

There's an awesome church building that appears to have been abandoned across the street from the Rotunda on 40th st that is just begging to be turned into some sort of secular art center or something before it gets bulldozed and turned into a parking lot or retirement building.

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