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Friday, October 05, 2007

Norway Is Not a Christian Nation

 
Recent poll results for Norway give this breakdown when it comes to religious beliefs.
  • 29 percent believe in a god or deity
  • 23 percent believe in a higher power without being certain of what
  • 26 percent don't believe in God or higher powers
  • 22 percent have doubts
No matter how you slice it, Norway is not a Christian nation.

So, how does this lack of firm religious belief translate into Norwegian society? Are Norwegians immoral, warmongering, and poverty-stricken? Here's a letter to the Montgomery Advertiser that answers that question [Norway flourishes as secular nation].
And what has secularism done to Norway? The Global Peace Index rates Norway the most peaceful country in the world. The Human Development Index, a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standard of living, has ranked Norway No. 1 every year for the last five years.

Norway has the second highest GDP per capita in the world, an unemployment rate below 2 percent, and average hourly wages among the world's highest.
Hmmm ... now that can't be right, can it?

How does secular Norway stack up against true Christian nations like the USA and South Africa?


[Hat Tip: RichardDawkins.net]

26 comments :

Anonymous said...

Completely ignoring the content of your post and looking at the picture, I notice that the map of Norway looks suspiciously like a naked mole rat.

Anonymous said...

It ought to be noted that Norway has lots of oil.

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked, shocked I say!

Speaking of odd things that Norway looks like, peer carefully at this euro coin:

http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.anomalies-unlimited.com/Odd%2520Pics%25202/Images/Euro01.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.anomalies-unlimited.com/Odd%2520Pics%25202/Eurodick.html&h=343&w=335&sz=11&hl=en&start=2&sig2=XEnW13hhsaBfU-0L6OXNog&um=1&tbnid=m1oavWUbU4y0cM:&tbnh=120&tbnw=117&ei=xWwGR-nWAZKk0gSw05GVBQ&prev=/images%3Fq%3Deuro%2Band%2Bnorway%2Band%2Bpenis%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-GB:official%26sa%3DN

Anonymous said...

Apologies for the crap link. I really have no idea how to o this sort of thing!

lee_merrill said...

I don't know that I'd call the USA a true Christian nation! Nor does Norway seem especially secular, with 52% believing in a god or higher power.

For a true Christian nation, no nation really springs to mind, how about examining true Christians?

And it might be noted that religious belief has been measured to have a positive effect in various ways.

Anonymous said...

Norway seems like a nice place and Norwegians are surely fine folks.

However, according to that survey, at least half believe in some kind of theism or mysticism, with another quarter on the fence. Rationalist secularism can hardly be said to reign there.

And nobody is perfect. Consider:

Princess Martha Louise's 'Astarte Education Center' AKA 'Angel School.'

Norway is one of the top whaling countries.

There is a militant fundamentalist presence in Oslo. Kadra Noor, a Somali-born campaigner against female genital mutilation, was beaten in the streets of Oslo by Islamist militants in April.
Norway has inexplicably failed to expel Mullah Krekar, founder of the terrorist organization Ansar al-Islam.

A January article in Aftenposten discussed how qualified Norwegian citizens with Muslim-sounding names had great difficulty getting jobs as engineers.

Norway is one of the leading centers of the "black metal" subculture, members of which were responsible for a series of church burnings in the country in the 90s.

But overall, not too bad by international standards.

Tupaia

Timothy V Reeves said...

Ok then, Larry, have it your own way: the Norwegians are either going to hell or they are in hell already, but you had better tell them to stop wearing those funny helmets – only one guy in hell is allowed to wear a set of horns.

But seriously, with only 26% registering as atheists you can hardly call them an atheist nation either! I’d still classify them as a believing nation, if not too sure in what.

As for warmongering: It is an interesting fact that the agricultural surpluses of iron age Britain seemed to have the “I’ve got a lot to lose” effect and favoured the massive bank and ditch defense deterrents we see in many places in Britain. I’m wondering if we can apply this idea to superpowers: Once a country has a superpower ‘power surplus’, naturally enough they want to keep it! Religion may not be the only factor! This may explain the paradox of ‘the insecurity of great power’. What do you think?

Secularism: What this means to me is that the temporal (i.e ‘secular’) resources of politics, power and economics are ideally proportionately shared by all, regardless of conviction. It doesn’t necessarily entail ‘atheist government or ‘Christian government’ - it means fairly shared resources. That’s the ideal but I suppose the distrust inherent in the ‘I’ve got a lot to lose’ effect disrupts this ideal completely!

Rien said...

Norway secular? I'm Swedish, and I always thought of Norway as our little neighbor state, where people are just like us except more into religion, hiking, and clubbing baby seals...

TheBrummell said...

It ought to be noted that Norway has lots of oil.

Quite true. Norway's government-owned oil company is quite large, and by most measures a very well-run and responsible corporation, too. The high wages paid to civil servants (direct employees of the government) is at least partly a result of this nice oil surplus. Compare Norway's national oil company to those of any number of other oil-producing countries (Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Nigeria... et cetera) and the argument that Norway is basically a pretty good place just gets stronger.

The Economist had an interesting article a few months ago about the paradoxical poverty-increasing effect of large oil resources in a country. Apparently, having a national budget dominated by oil export income often leads to increased corruption and other ill effects. Exactly why is an open question, but ideas about incentive, and the role of small business and tax law get tossed around quite a bit. Norway was presented in the article as the honorable, notable exception to this rule.

Torbjörn Larsson said...

There isn't much consistency between different polls. As Scandinavian nations go, IIRC Norway is religious and have a state church. But it is the oil that makes it prosperous.

As for the interpretation of the map, there is an old swedish illustrated children's book that makes out both nations as a horse head. (Avoiding nastier interpretations and setting up a horse as a symbolic animal for the kings use, especially the warrior ones.)

That makes Norway the mane, and lake Vänern the visible eye in the map.

Timothy V Reeves said...

Horses, warriors, manes, Kings - well, I think the Scandanavians had better scrap all that jingoistic war-like stuff and settle for
tegumai's naked mole rat. After all, that's an animal that stays safely underground well out of the way and doesn't get involved in fights.

Truth be know the Scandanavians are probably as bad anyone: The east part of the UK has had a strong scandavavian influence: no surprise then that my country manages to pick a fight with someone somewhere in world at least once a decade!

The Ridger, FCD said...

C'mon, guys. The point is that correlation isn't causation, either way, and there's simply no evidence that being a theistic, Christian, secular (which isn't the same as atheistic), or atheistic society actually makes any impact. A lot of other things - ethnic homogeneity, poverty levels, gun laws, government system - make a difference.

And the real point is that all too many Christians in this country (the US) assume the opposite, and try to legislate religion based on that flawed assumption.

Scott said...

Timothy V Reeves said...

...ther going to hell or they are in hell already, but you had better tell them to stop wearing those funny helmets – only one guy in hell is allowed to wear a set of horns.

Well ... in the interests of historical accuracy, I'm sure you realize that horned helmet are a romatic accretion, with the first representations in the 17C, and no evidence at all they such existed when the "vikings" were enthusiastic tourists ...

Anonymous said...

That's a fallacious argument that brings to mind a joke on the internet. Consider the fact that the world's temperature has been increasing. Also consider that the number of pirates (that is, the seafaring kind) have been decreasing. Clearly global warming has caused the declination of pirates!

All those measures of quality of life, etc that you mentioned have little relation to religion. Rather, they would be influenced by political structure and, as others have mentioned, natural resources. To say that religion (or lack thereof) is the cause is ridiculous.

Also, as others have pointed out, they do seem to believe in *something*, if not explicitly in the Christian doctrine. And I don't consider America to be a very religious country - many people say they are Christians, perhaps, but most do not adhere to the tenets or really act in a Christian-like manner.

Unknown said...

Clearly global warming has caused the declination of pirates!

I thought it was the other way 'round, that the decline of pirates cause global warming. That's why people dress up as pirates, to try to get the global warming to stop.

Timothy V Reeves said...

Yes Scott I knew the 'horns' have a dubious historicity (based on a single illustration showing what may be ceremonial head dress, I've been told). Bit like assuming that all British men walk around in Cricket shin guards or that all Americans wear massive shoulder pads and intimidating wire jawed helmets.

Anonymous said...

The Norse are religious, 95% baptized, married, and buried in the Church. For those of you that disagree with me, me and Olaf will "go Viking" on your lands. May be 66% of the Norse are wimps, but for 1/3 of us, we are willing to "go Viking" again on the sissy boy Euros.

Anonymous said...

I come from South America but have been living in Norway and also attending to classes in a university here in Philosophy, Theology and Sociology of Religion. I can tell that Norway is getting more and more secularized, people hardly ever attend to churches, most of people I have talked to don`t believe in God and even when they do, don`t live according to Christians standards. It is a pitty that a such rich and structured country is gettinh far from God like that!

Anonymous said...

"The Evangelical-Lutheran religion shall remain the official religion of the State. The inhabitants professing it are bound to bring up their children in the same.


The King shall at all times profess the Evangelical-Lutheran religion, and uphold and protect the same.

More than half the number of the Members of the Council of State shall profess the official religion of the State."




etc.


I'd take into consideration the fact that the Norwegian Constitution says "Norway is a Christian nation with Christian leaders"...

Songs Of Worship, Joy & Praise said...

A lot of people in Norway are Christians....I was born in the USA but I have Norwegian blood.
So I am shocked to hear some one say this !!

Well have a good day...


Heavenly Music

Anonymous said...

Norway also kills whales. Now let's compare it to countries like the USA and South Africa that do not kill whales...

See how easy this is?

Vermacian55 said...

Im from Norway and we had some kind of survey on school one time. Just randomly in class. There are 30 students there. Almost all of them are technically Christian. But almost no one of them really believed there is a god. Technically Norway is a christian country but in reality its not really. Just a bunch of people that doesn't really care enough about religion to chance to atheism.

trjonez said...

Yet another typical athiest "professor" (of indoctrination) teaching the reader what to think instead of how to think. I think you'll find all of his posts suspiciously absent of the barbaric murderous history of atheist regimes in the past 100 years,..at least 160,000,000
dead directly due to a lack of belief in God.

Kepha said...

baby seals have great fur and the meat's pretty good, too. You ought to try it.

Kepha said...

I think the age of your population has something to do with it, too.

Kepha said...

tr jonez: You don't understand. Maybe Mr. Moran thinks that one third of the pre-1978 population of Cambodia was made up of goons, parasites, and inhibitors of human progress (how dare Uncle Somdej should wish to keep his own water buffaloes!) and deserved to be butchered by folks who were not the disciples of Orthodoxy-haunted Russia, but of clear-eyed, moderate, peace-loving Parisian Communists. Same with over a hundred million other victims of scientific socialism in the 20th century alone.

BTW, after crowing about how science routed "obscurantism" in the 1920's, people like Mr. Moran find Europe suddenly turning pious again to hold the Shoah.