This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Norway abolishes state sponsored Church of Norway

Norway abolishes state sponsored Church of Norway - Comments

bodleian's Avatar Comment 1 by bodleian

Norway---WONDERFUL>

Tue, 15 May 2012 15:17:48 UTC | #941612

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 2 by strangebrew

Blighty should take particular notice...I wonder if they will cancel next yule's xmas tree?

Tue, 15 May 2012 15:19:37 UTC | #941613

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 3 by Vorlund

Comment 2 by strangebrew :

Blighty should take particular notice...I wonder if they will cancel next yule's xmas tree?

If the blasphemously arrogant Cameron takes any notice of the Ipsis Mori poll on religious attitudes he should take notice if he wants to stay in a job and burn his shitegob on a hot coal before we hear any more drivel about restoring the countries fabled christian values.

Tue, 15 May 2012 15:39:20 UTC | #941614

Sinister Weasel's Avatar Comment 4 by Sinister Weasel

It really pleases me that Norway is so secular and has so little crime (comparably).

Tue, 15 May 2012 15:46:52 UTC | #941616

valla's Avatar Comment 5 by valla

72% of Norwegians are atheists, and only 20% consider religion important. Similar percentages in Denmark and Sweden. Those countries top constantly the classifications on quality of living, education and, lately, also in the happiness report released by the UN. These classifications might be bogus and it might be a coincidence, but they seem to be quite consistent in indicating that religion and belief is not necessary for happiness.

But when we see what is the quality of living in many of the deeply religious countries, the inverse correlation between religion and happiness seems confirmed.

Tue, 15 May 2012 15:50:33 UTC | #941617

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 6 by Zeuglodon

The abolition of a state-sponsored religious institution is welcome news. Hopefully, my own country will not be long in doing the same and removing power from the Church of England, and religions in general. Just look at this map. If it can be trusted, then the UK stands out compared to the rest of Europe, never mind the rest of the world.

Of course, I hope that strategically we're not making a mistake. Not having a state-sponsored religion does not guarantee religions won't have political influence. I just hope the likes of Norway can provide a comfortable role model for how it should be done - by defanging religions in general in the public arena, cutting off their political endorsement, and reducing the belief and practice to a private hobby. On the other hand, a more rational outlook has to take its place, like secular humanism, pro-science, existentialism, rationalism, and so forth.

Tue, 15 May 2012 15:53:08 UTC | #941618

Sue Blue's Avatar Comment 7 by Sue Blue

For some time Norway has been on my short list of countries I'd like to move to if the idiocracy here in the states gets worse. Now it's sounding even better. It just might be time for my reverse immigration, 120 years after my ancestors left it.

Tue, 15 May 2012 15:59:51 UTC | #941621

Nordic11's Avatar Comment 8 by Nordic11

Great idea! Separation of church and state are always a good thing.

Those countries top constantly the classifications on quality of living, education and, lately, also in the happiness report released by the UN.

I believe this has more to do with their homogenous society than atheistic tendencies.

Tue, 15 May 2012 16:47:47 UTC | #941625

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 9 by strangebrew

Comment 8 by Nordic11

I believe this has more to do with their homogenous society than atheistic tendencies.

What exactly is homogenous about their society?

Seems the only tendencies they have are not to pay to much heed to tall tales of sky faeries and so forth!

Tue, 15 May 2012 17:01:48 UTC | #941629

Chad_Is_Rad's Avatar Comment 10 by Chad_Is_Rad

This is pretty awesome news.

I must admit, as an American, I'm a little jealous to see other nations move forward with such progress while my native land seems to be slipping slowly into the dark ages.

Kudos to these great people. Norway, and the entire Scandinavian region for that matter, deserve tremendous props. In a world torn to shit, we see a true light of secular progress in an area with great prosperity and wealth of conscious.

Tue, 15 May 2012 17:03:51 UTC | #941630

Liln's Avatar Comment 11 by Liln

Well done, Norway! If only Denmark would follow their example. sigh

Tue, 15 May 2012 17:12:02 UTC | #941632

gordon's Avatar Comment 12 by gordon

Marvellous. Now for the less well enlightened parts of Europe.

Tue, 15 May 2012 17:28:32 UTC | #941638

Aztek's Avatar Comment 13 by Aztek

I applaud this move, and am waiting eagerly for the same thing to happen soon here in Finland. We essentially have the same situation with a state sponsored church. According to the article, 79 % of Norwegians are registered members of the church. That figure stood out, because the same figure in Finland is almost the same: 77,2 %.

However, I do fear a little what the result of a move like this will be. Many people have pointed out that one of the reasons for why the US is so religious is because they don't have "one official state religion". As a result all religious denominations have to compete for members and do aggressive marketing, resulting in many people being convinced by religious ideas. On the other hand, the population in Finland has been apathetic towards religions for a long time because most are automatically baptised into this one "official" church, like it's a ritual unifying the people. Because of this, people don't have to put an effort into belonging to the church. They don't have to think, live or care about their "faith". This leads to people simply slipping away from their habitual belief. The church doesn't mean anything to people, it's just there, and people belong to it because of tradition.

The church hasn't had to do anything to retain members, because they joined pretty much automatically. But if it suddenly has to wake up and work to get members without the help of a link to the government, it means heavier emphasis on proselytizing and marketing. And all the other religions want to have a piece of the market too. My fear is that this might lead to a larger percentage of hardcore believers.

Tue, 15 May 2012 17:30:00 UTC | #941639

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 14 by Alan4discussion

I only hope that once the religious minority are freed from state influence they don't go ultra-nutty. Disestablishment is a two-edged sword. I suppose some financial adjustments to responsibilities, may curtail any wild religious fundamentalist fervour!

Tue, 15 May 2012 17:41:58 UTC | #941644

Billions and Billions's Avatar Comment 15 by Billions and Billions

With 72% not believing in God, I'm surprised that it took this long to abolish it.

Tue, 15 May 2012 17:52:38 UTC | #941646

tjokkis_ii's Avatar Comment 16 by tjokkis_ii

The constitution no longer states that Norway is a Lutheran state, and the demand for a majority of Church members in the cabinet are abolished. Improvements, yes, but that's about it.

The Norwegian Church keep all its privileges. It will still be 100% financed by Norwegian tax payers, members or not. It's clergy will still be government officials, but no longer appointed by the government. There will still be a minister for Church's affairs in the cabinet. The birth register will still report to the Church, and every newborn where one parent is member of the Church will automatic be registered as "belonging" to the Church, and stay in it's registers to age 18 if they haven't been baptised and become full members, or have been registered as member of another denominational society.

Tue, 15 May 2012 18:10:11 UTC | #941652

xsjadolateralus's Avatar Comment 17 by xsjadolateralus

Excellent!

Be awesome to each other, party on, Norway.

Tue, 15 May 2012 18:10:58 UTC | #941653

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 18 by Premiseless

Comment 15 by Billions and Billions :

With 72% not believing in God, I'm surprised that it took this long to abolish it.

Good to see reason gaining leverage. Pity it is not far more something we all see on a global scale.

Since when has being part of the majority population stopped one from being chained to the deck? A slave ship worked on minimum power to maximum slave ratio.

Religion still holds many of the chains. And the problem still exists where others are waiting to get their hands on them. Religion, despite it being myth, hangs on to all sorts of unwarranted power.

The enslavement of minds and bullying in general are what those with all the affluence are often seeking to reinforce. This alone makes it less viable to construct any reason based teamwork solutions. It's as if the rules of fair play have long been discarded and the likelihood of succeeding without similar cheating strategies has been reduced to nothing. Transparency seems the least viable thing on everyones lips. Everyone is running scared of being double crossed simply for being true to themselves. Corruption is having a marvelous time of itself. Those who function through it must feel very much at home.

Tue, 15 May 2012 18:14:39 UTC | #941655

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 19 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Great news!

The European Spring...?

Tue, 15 May 2012 18:50:35 UTC | #941659

SpleenandSpiceSahota's Avatar Comment 20 by SpleenandSpiceSahota

This is wonderful, does anyone know if this step is unprecedented? I mean has any other state ever taken this step without attacking the church (like the communists?). Hopefully this could set a precedent for other Western European states to follow. Religion is in retreat in many places, and so I had a debate with someone about which religion could be the one most likely to survive free thought, questions, good education, affluence and good standard of living. We decided that Hinduism could be the most robust because of it's flexibility and fluidity. Christianity and Islam are simply far to brittle, and need laws such as blasphemy to sustain their weird notions.

What do others think, which religion is mostly to survive the future?

Tue, 15 May 2012 19:21:49 UTC | #941667

Chad_Is_Rad's Avatar Comment 21 by Chad_Is_Rad

Religion is in retreat in many places, and so I had a debate with someone about which religion could be the one most likely to survive free thought, questions, good education, affluence and good standard of living.and good standard of living.

At the risk of starting an argument (I'm not being intentionally provactive here), I'm actually going to go out on a limb and say Islam.

Yup, that Islam.

If you look at early adherents to the faith, you see a people obsessed with gaining knowledge of all sorts. In fact, many early Muslims translated more Classical works than any of their contemplatives. Most people don't realize this, but the only other word used in the Quran as much as Allah is "Knowledge". Early believers looked to the "Greater Jihad" (that of inner struggle), much more than the "Lesser Jihad" (that of physical struggle), in which the current crop of Islamofascists seem to be obsessed with.

Neil deGrasse Tyson has actually done a few discussions regarding this fact on several occasions. He points out that if it wasn't for the work of a single radicalized cleric who pushed math and science as being "the Devil's work" ... Islam could look completely different than it does today.

To be honest, I think early Islam's progressive history and openness to science and culture could be the best tool we have as atheists to fight radical Islam. We can argue with them until we are blue in the face. Does that work ... on occasion. But if we could simply remind them and reeducate them on who their ancestors were and what they found important ... those gains would be infinitely more impactful in my opinion.

Tue, 15 May 2012 19:46:10 UTC | #941673

tjokkis_ii's Avatar Comment 22 by tjokkis_ii

@SpleenandSpiceSahota

Sweden's separation of church and state in 2000 was quite similar to what happens in Norway now. Peaceful, but rather disappointing from a secular view.

The final French separation of church and state in 1905 was also peaceful, and is still a distant dream for Norwegian secularists more than hundred years later.

Tue, 15 May 2012 19:46:57 UTC | #941675

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 23 by rod-the-farmer

And look where Norway happens to be in the ratings on the best place in the world to be a woman !

http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/11/graphic-a-womans-place-in-the-world-ranked-from-first-to-last/

Tue, 15 May 2012 20:19:26 UTC | #941680

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 24 by aquilacane

Good

Tue, 15 May 2012 22:01:32 UTC | #941702

Sample's Avatar Comment 25 by Sample

Odin be praised!

Mike

Tue, 15 May 2012 22:40:50 UTC | #941709

gerard52's Avatar Comment 26 by gerard52

Bravo Norway!

Tue, 15 May 2012 23:11:20 UTC | #941716

Karen Hill Anton's Avatar Comment 27 by Karen Hill Anton

Thank Thor! Any and every country that takes an official move away from religion has taken a step in the right direction.

                     Karen 

Tue, 15 May 2012 23:14:42 UTC | #941718

RobertJames's Avatar Comment 28 by RobertJames

Cool, they should redesign their flag without a cross now.

Wed, 16 May 2012 00:15:13 UTC | #941727

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 29 by mordacious1

This is, of course, a step in the right direction but until the church loses its unwarranted privileges, it will only be one step. The most important issue is tax benefit restrictions for churches and their members. Tax them like any other business and their power will wane.

Wed, 16 May 2012 00:36:46 UTC | #941730

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 30 by Alternative Carpark

Comment 9 by strangebrew :

Comment 8 by Nordic11

I believe this has more to do with their homogenous society than atheistic tendencies.

What exactly is homogenous about their society?

Seems the only tendencies they have are not to pay to much heed to tall tales of sky faeries and so forth!

Sad though it is, societal homogeneity is a big factor in having high social capital. The Scandinavian countries and places like Japan are prime examples. Low religiosity seems to be another.

Wed, 16 May 2012 02:17:41 UTC | #941747