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Happy…and not religious - Comments

Mette's Avatar Comment 1 by Mette

I love living in Norway.

Fri, 20 Aug 2010 18:17:54 UTC | #503062

JesperB's Avatar Comment 2 by JesperB

Oh yeah. We godless, immoral Scandinavians are the happiest people on the planet. Who'd have thunk it? (Hint: Me).

Fri, 20 Aug 2010 18:26:02 UTC | #503068

Todd Stiefel's Avatar Comment 3 by Todd Stiefel

This is one positive step in the direction of disspelling the slanderous myth of atheists being angry. I look forward to seeing more data like this.

Fri, 20 Aug 2010 18:27:26 UTC | #503070

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 4 by Rich Wiltshir

I think living on Earth is best; pitty those poor folk on the ISS.

Fri, 20 Aug 2010 18:28:45 UTC | #503071

Eric Leblanc's Avatar Comment 5 by Eric Leblanc

This study does not seem to prove the claim that non-religious countries are happier than the rest. Looking at the Global Peace Index, however, shows that they are much more peaceful; something which obviously correlates with happiness.

A fair comparison can be found here.

Fri, 20 Aug 2010 18:29:36 UTC | #503072

1Derek's Avatar Comment 6 by 1Derek

Relaxed attitudes might be the other correlate.

Fri, 20 Aug 2010 18:41:48 UTC | #503078

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 7 by Dr. Strangegod

Mette and JesperB - If it weren't so cold, I bet I'd love living in Norway too. But two words: black metal. Or were Varg Vikernes and his ilk just isolated psychopaths? I've read Lords of Chaos, but I know he hates that book. I haven't seen Until the Light Takes Us though. Am I wrong? Are there not some very unhappy black metal folks around? I never understood getting so deeply into satanism and paganism in such a non-Christian part of the world, but I assumed there was some insidious influence they were reacting to.

Fri, 20 Aug 2010 19:05:26 UTC | #503086

HolyPinkUnicorn's Avatar Comment 8 by HolyPinkUnicorn

This really is not that surprising, religiosity and fundamentalism serve as free passes for all kinds of intolerance and bigotry, further dividing and hurting people. Look at the current 'debate' over the proposed mosque at Ground Zero--much of the zealous religious right claiming superiority in its interpretation of 'freedom' and 'peace.'

The Scandinavian countries are some of the most advanced and peaceful places on earth, due in no small part to their rational and grown-up embrace of secularism. Sadly the U.S. is still in the middle of an infantile phase of Christian fundamentalism.

Fri, 20 Aug 2010 19:13:19 UTC | #503092

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 9 by God fearing Atheist

The more interesting question is about "cause" rather than "correlation".

Do people in a broken society put their trust is the Big Sky Fairy (BSF) because they have nothing better, or, does society get better when people lose belief in the BSF?

My bias tells me the latter, but can it be backed by data?

Fri, 20 Aug 2010 19:32:38 UTC | #503100

HolyPinkUnicorn's Avatar Comment 10 by HolyPinkUnicorn

Comment 7 by Lucas :

Mette and JesperB - If it weren't so cold, I bet I'd love living in Norway too. But two words: black metal. Or were Varg Vikernes and his ilk just isolated psychopaths? I've read Lords of Chaos, but I know he hates that book. I haven't seen Until the Light Takes Us though. Am I wrong? Are there not some very unhappy black metal folks around? I never understood getting so deeply into satanism and paganism in such a non-Christian part of the world, but I assumed there was some insidious influence they were reacting to.

I don't think you can judge an entire country by a relatively small number of angry kids who committed some violent and destructive crimes. Would you judge the whole of the U.S. by the actions of Charles Manson and his Family? Besides, the majority of black metal artists--both in Norway and outside--are not known to be violent and they are still tolerated in Scandinavia, albeit cautiously.

Vikernes has even been released from prison (imagine that happening in the U.S.), and many of these people have matured and are still making music. I think it was always more of a case of overblown media sensationalism coupled with rock and roll posturing designed to attract a devoted fan base that went too far. Their violent acts were more against their society as a whole than Christianity per se. More of a case of extreme nihilism and individualism than genuine paganism or satanism.

Fri, 20 Aug 2010 19:42:53 UTC | #503110

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 11 by Dr. Strangegod

HolyPinkUnicorn - Yeah, no, after I made that comment, I did some quick reading and found I was sort of being idiotic by taking anything in that book seriously. (In my defense, I read it at least a decade ago.) Vikerenes himself says his motives had nothing to do with rebelling against Christianity, so my point is totally moot. I'd dump the comment if I could, but that option seems to be gone. I really don't understand why. Chalkley, what's the deal?

Updated: Fri, 20 Aug 2010 20:14:50 UTC | #503126

HolyPinkUnicorn's Avatar Comment 12 by HolyPinkUnicorn

Comment 11 by Lucas :

HolyPinkUnicorn - Yeah, no, after I made that comment, I did some quick reading and found I was sort of being idiotic by taking anything in that book seriously. (In my defense, I read it at least a decade ago.) Vikerenes himself says his motives had nothing to do with rebelling against Christianity, so my point is totally moot. I'd dump the comment if I could, but that option seems to be gone. I really don't understand why. Chalkley, what's the deal?

The book's still an interesting read even if it's pretty silly and overhyped. A sort of pulp semi-fictional version of events.

Fri, 20 Aug 2010 20:42:12 UTC | #503138

bluebird's Avatar Comment 13 by bluebird

Hooray for Denmark and their Godless Beer - Skol :D

link text

Updated: Fri, 20 Aug 2010 21:02:53 UTC | #503149

ajs261's Avatar Comment 14 by ajs261

If you compare developed nations on statistics such as violent crime, murder, divorce, teenage pregnancy, poverty, prison populations etc you find exactly the same thing: less religious nations fare much better.

Fri, 20 Aug 2010 20:59:23 UTC | #503150

Mette's Avatar Comment 15 by Mette

Lucas - I haven't even heard about that book. And black metal isn't all that common here. You are far more likely to run into people who listen to Hannah Montana, Rihanna and other American artists. There are far more Christians than pagans here, and the elder generations are crying and saying how horrible that Christianity is declining here. A sensus I read last year stated that about half of the people in Norway is non-Christian. Then you have all the immigrants from muslim areas of the world who are angry about the fact that same-sex marriages are legal here and wants homosexuals to not hold hands in public. Those are getting far more media attention than the black metal fanbase and the minority there that are satanist or worshipping the old norse gods.

Fri, 20 Aug 2010 21:14:52 UTC | #503163

victorysongs's Avatar Comment 16 by victorysongs

Comment 7 by Lucas :

Mette and JesperB - If it weren't so cold, I bet I'd love living in Norway too. But two words: black metal. Or were Varg Vikernes and his ilk just isolated psychopaths? I've read Lords of Chaos, but I know he hates that book. I haven't seen Until the Light Takes Us though. Am I wrong? Are there not some very unhappy black metal folks around? I never understood getting so deeply into satanism and paganism in such a non-Christian part of the world, but I assumed there was some insidious influence they were reacting to.

The "insidious influence" Black Metal was reacting to was, big surprise here: Christianity. A cursory reading of the lyrics of these bands can confirm that pretty spectacularly. It's obviously tempting to people here to dismiss these people as sociopaths and "dumb kids" but imo it is religion that creates these people.

If Varg wasn't reacting against Christianity, why did he burn churches?

Fri, 20 Aug 2010 22:08:23 UTC | #503183

njwong's Avatar Comment 17 by njwong

Hey! That is a picture of my avatar :-)

For those who are not familiar, the deity is "Budai 布袋", or more popularly known as the Laughing Buddha:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budai

Sat, 21 Aug 2010 00:38:35 UTC | #503236

satan augustine's Avatar Comment 18 by satan augustine

Comment Removed by Author

Sat, 21 Aug 2010 05:55:04 UTC | #503284

Roedy's Avatar Comment 19 by Roedy

It seems to me it is quite difficult to be happy if you have a scientific world view. Mankind is hell bent on going extinct in the next century by a dozen or so alternate routes.

http://mindprod.com/environment/extinction.html

The religious can console themselves with some fairy tale that a deity will intervene. It is a paralysing delusion, but a happy one.

You need something like Ken Keyes' Living Love techniques to stare at the world as it is, and not let it make you miserable. That takes a tremendous amount of work and discipline.

Sat, 21 Aug 2010 08:33:55 UTC | #503303

sunky4u's Avatar Comment 20 by sunky4u

bullshit !!! >>> since when did being religious or not become a benchmark for 'happiness' in nations

Sat, 21 Aug 2010 13:48:46 UTC | #503395

Beeblebear's Avatar Comment 21 by Beeblebear

Comment 20 by sunky4u :

bullshit !!! >>> since when did being religious or not become a benchmark for 'happiness' in nations

It was never suggested that religious adherence was a 'benchmark for happiness', rather there was a correlation between the two.

However, it seems to be such a strong correlation that perhaps it should be used as a benchmark.

Sun, 22 Aug 2010 12:09:55 UTC | #503751

Beeblebear's Avatar Comment 22 by Beeblebear

Comment 19 by Roedy :

It seems to me it is quite difficult to be happy if you have a scientific world view. Mankind is hell bent on going extinct in the next century by a dozen or so alternate routes.

I'm not a scientist, but I have a very scientific and rationalistic world view and strive to educate myself as much as I can. This very often leads to me discerning some very unsettling truths about the world which can sometimes make me feel sad or even angry, but I think I am fairly well adjusted and these emotional states are merely transitory.

Seeking a wide variety of viewpoints pertaining to the causes and possible solutions for the world's problems can offer hope to anyone with a mind open enough to do so (though not so open that their brain falls out!).

At the risk of building a straw man, I'd say that by looking at the world through their hellfire-tinted spectacles, the average religious fundamentalist completely refuses for their self (and others over whom they hold influence), this kind of rational inquiry.

The religious can console themselves with some fairy tale that a deity will intervene. It is a paralysing delusion, but a happy one.

I'd refute that claim, although, as I have mentioned above, I agree that it is indeed, paralysing to the mental faculties.

I would imagine that the illusion to which you refer is not a happy one at all. It is in fact terrible to imagine the constant fear which must be experienced by the True Believer, that they might yeild to temptation and give in to some repressed desire.

That they might somehow inadvertently commit one of the many thought-crimes proscribed by their holy books, must also put them in a constant state of paranoia.

This, indeed does not seem to me a happy state under which to constantly labour. Total nervous breakdown is the only result I can envisage here.

You need something like Ken Keyes' Living Love techniques to stare at the world as it is, and not let it make you miserable. That takes a tremendous amount of work and discipline.

Rational Skepticism is the technique which I favour in examining the world in a positive way. It takes some work and mental discipline, but I'd not say a tremendous amount. It depends, I suppose, on how exhaustive are your researches.

Updated: Sun, 22 Aug 2010 13:41:26 UTC | #503791

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 23 by Dr. Strangegod

The book's still an interesting read even if it's pretty silly and overhyped. A sort of pulp semi-fictional version of events.

From what I understand, Moynihan is a Church of Satan-satanist who has been accused of neo-Nazi leanings, so I think this effected his "scholarship" to some degree.

If Varg wasn't reacting against Christianity, why did he burn churches?

Well, Varg's been out a year or so now, so you can ask him yourself, or read what he has to say here:

A review of M. Moynihan & D. Søderlind's "Lords Of Chaos: The Bloody Rise Of The Satanic Metal Underground" (New Edition)

Updated: Tue, 24 Aug 2010 14:18:56 UTC | #504742