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← Irreligion & Scandinavian Society - An interview with Phil Zuckerman

Irreligion & Scandinavian Society - An interview with Phil Zuckerman - Comments

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 1 by TIKI AL

Every godbot in America needs to listen to this.

Especially the ones that were just pounding on my door to "save" me with their iron age delusions and superstition.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 11:50:00 UTC | #294874

Mr Jaguar's Avatar Comment 2 by Mr Jaguar

I met a swedish couple in Mexico.And, like Zuckerman, I asked them simular questions. They laughed.
Although, they did say because of increased liberal immegration laws, their crime rate is slowly rising. Many of the immegrants are from religious countires. Ummmm.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 11:50:00 UTC | #294876

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 3 by NewEnglandBob

I read Zuckerman's book a month ago. It is fantastic.

It is definitive scientific sociological ethnographic research coupled with superb analysis in a narrative style.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 12:54:00 UTC | #294916

Thor25's Avatar Comment 4 by Thor25

His book was quite refreshing, thanks for posting this interview.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 13:30:00 UTC | #294931

Dhamma's Avatar Comment 5 by Dhamma

I'm a Swede myself, and I can only agree. I hardly know anyone that is religious.. I have to search them up! There's definitely less criminality over here, but the immigration most certainly has increased it. There's social issues as well, of course, but I'd imagine their religious backgrounds do help aide in their criminality.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 14:04:00 UTC | #294950

LaurieB's Avatar Comment 6 by LaurieB


How are you these days? Happy New Year!
Some time ago you recommended this book very favorably and I can now say that I second that! I just finished reading it last week. I now understand why Europeans may not really get what we are dealing with as far as religiosity here in the States since I was completely unaware that there are countries in the world that are as secular as the two that he describes! I am puzzled as to why the seemingly secular Swedes and Danes still access churches for their ceremonies such as baptism etc. This is explained by the section on cultural religiosity which I've read and understand, yet, I admit to being a bit baffled about atheists/agnostics celebrating xmass and singing caroles. I'm trying to reconcile this but it's not happening for me yet.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 14:20:00 UTC | #294961

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 7 by NewEnglandBob


Happy New Year to you too! (Happy Monkey also for Pharyngulites).

I understand your bafflement about the cultural religiosity but I think it is not too difficult to celebrate occasional cultural ceremonies for the family/tribe just for the ceremony itself. It makes more sense than those who go to services regularly and pretend to believe. RD has stated that he enjoys beautiful religious music for its own sake.

The people in Zuckerman's book simply stated that "everyone just does it", although I chuckle that many people pay the church tax voluntarily and then never go. That is a whole different psychological mine field that I prefer not delving into.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 14:40:00 UTC | #294965

geru's Avatar Comment 8 by geru

Yup, we Scandinavians* rock, nothing new there. :)

*Although Finland isn't really a part of Scandinavia, but we're close enough.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 15:00:00 UTC | #294979

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 9 by mordacious1

I hear that the Mafia is very religious.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 15:06:00 UTC | #294983

mdowe's Avatar Comment 10 by mdowe

Re: #309776 by geru

Yes, and you know the rest of us are kind of tired of you nordic types constantly making us look stupid.

Still, an entire country where the vast majority of people share my values ... imagine that. Lucky for you guys I can only speak english. And even the female cops were hot-looking ... lucky bastards.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 15:07:00 UTC | #294985

LaurieB's Avatar Comment 11 by LaurieB


Getting together with family/tribe is the only reason that I come out for holidays. I was just thinking, could it be possible that the constant onslaught of religion here has caused us to be more defensive against it? Just today on the phone with a friend, she tried to convince me that fate has a plan for us, my Mother told me to stop being a bully aetheist, and another friend told me that God made us meet for a reason! Perhaps the secular Swedes and Danes find religion to be so neutral and irrelevant that it doesn't bother them to access it from time to time for their own convenience. You can see why I can't put myself in that mindset. I resolve to remain on defensive alert status! :)

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 15:12:00 UTC | #294987

dochmbi's Avatar Comment 12 by dochmbi

@10: Come over here :) , you will do just fine with no finnish skills.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 15:17:00 UTC | #294989

Don_Quix's Avatar Comment 13 by Don_Quix

Hey there's nothing wrong with secular people enjoying religious music or celebrating Xmas. Some of the music is quite beautiful and moving despite its unfortunate subject matter. And the time around Xmas was originally just a Pagan winter solstice festival, after all, so nothing wrong with celebrating that either. I also imagine a lot of atheists/agnostics enjoy Xmas music because it reminds them of their childhood and is nostalgic to them.

I've been trying to convince the wife that we should vacation in Norway, Finland, or Sweden (I guess I'll have to consider Denmark now as well), but she hates cold weather. I'm still working on changing her mind ;)

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 15:58:00 UTC | #295006

j.mills's Avatar Comment 14 by j.mills

Off-topic: Happy New Year! :) (GMT - fireworks going off as I type.)

(New year, new avatar.)

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:02:00 UTC | #295008

ColdFusionLazarus's Avatar Comment 15 by ColdFusionLazarus

Happy New Year j.mills and Hapy New Year to the atheist community on this site. I never thought it would be so educational, entertaining and thought-provoking as it has been to visit this site. Let's hope more and more people in 2009 show their colours and embrace rationality, rather than hoping that a god is somehow to explain for some random events, some good times and some truly awful times. We don't need no more lazy interpretations of what is happening.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:12:00 UTC | #295012

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 16 by the great teapot

Nice thought but on reflexion...
as a grownup...

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:16:00 UTC | #295013

AllanW's Avatar Comment 17 by AllanW

Comment #309816 by ImAChristian on December 31, 2008 at 4:20 pm

'im not a grownup. but even so. we are called to have a childlike faith. '

We can tell. Run along now. We all smiled politely at your little presentation piece but it's time for beddy-byes so up the little wooden hill to bedfordshire for you. Us adults want to talk about grown-up things now.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:24:00 UTC | #295018

Don_Quix's Avatar Comment 18 by Don_Quix


Unfortunately, if you don't literally follow everything stated in the bible to the letter, you will spend eternity being tortured and burning in hell. And so will everyone you know. Because Jesus loves you!

I'm just kidding. Lucky for you (and all of us), there is no Jesus or God. :)

Happy New Year!

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:28:00 UTC | #295021

Marku's Avatar Comment 19 by Marku

I'm surprised my dad isn't in Sweden evangelizing by building you a security fence for free to keep the godless out, as long as you listen to him preach the bible, of course. Oh wait, he does that to the heathens in Africa. SWEDEN IS NEXT! AGAIN!'s a 1200 year cycle, get used to it. :P

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:32:00 UTC | #295023

MPhil's Avatar Comment 20 by MPhil

Unfortunately, if you don't literally follow everything stated in the bible to the letter, you will spend eternity being tortured and burning in hell.

Quix, what were you thinking...

I guess ImAChristian probably knows that he has worn clothes of mixed fabric all his life. Perhaps he even ate seafood in his days... you'll give him nightmares by reminding him that his holy book states that this will earn him eternal torture.


Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:33:00 UTC | #295024

Don_Quix's Avatar Comment 21 by Don_Quix


Good try, my friend, and Happy New Year to all trolls and non-trolls alike!

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:34:00 UTC | #295025

Goldy's Avatar Comment 22 by Goldy

Comment #309823 by ImAChristian
Bye. And there are no gods, so unfortunately your blessing is rather empty. Bit like religious promises.
You have my personal blessings for the New Year. These I extend directly from me to you. No gods, no fairies, no myths. Just heartfelt good cheer from a fellow man.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:37:00 UTC | #295027

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 24 by Laurie Fraser

for we are born with a sinful nature

Speak for yourself, goat-herder.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:40:00 UTC | #295031

Goldy's Avatar Comment 23 by Goldy

Comment #309828 by ImAChristian
Unless Mohammed was right, in which case we missed the boat and are all going to Hell. Then again, maybe the Hindus are right - we've got an interesting next life. Or Lord Buddha was right and ....

You get the picture. Pray you chose the right religion (and pray it wasn't just because your parents told you which one to chose...) or we'll be keeping company for all eternity :-)

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:40:00 UTC | #295030

Don_Quix's Avatar Comment 25 by Don_Quix


No you don't understand. You actually have to follow the bible to the letter. It's the law laid down by God himself (who is also Jesus, but err...let's not get into that). Jesus himself said all of the old laws were still valid. If you don't follow all of the laws of the Old Testament, you will go to hell. It doesn't matter if you accept Jesus and ask for forgiveness. All Jesus did was require you to believe in him in addition to following the old laws. So that means that you and your whole family and all of your friends (and all of their families and friends) will be going to hell regardless of if you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior or not.

Sorry, you fail at trolling again. But Happy New Year, anyway! :)

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:41:00 UTC | #295032

Goldy's Avatar Comment 26 by Goldy

And IAmChristian, I am totally without sin. Seriously.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:42:00 UTC | #295034

Don_Quix's Avatar Comment 27 by Don_Quix


And IAmChristian, I am totally without sin. Seriously.
You too? Man we should start a club or a website or something :D

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:43:00 UTC | #295035

Oystein Elgaroy's Avatar Comment 28 by Oystein Elgaroy

Comment #309836 by Goldy

And IAmChristian, I am totally without sin. Seriously.

I sinned once, but I think I got away with it.

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:44:00 UTC | #295038

j.mills's Avatar Comment 29 by j.mills

ImAChristian said:

we can sin (for we are born with a sinful nature)...
We were made in the image of god and the first thing we did, apparently, was sin. What does that tell us about god?
...and still go to Heaven as long as we accept Jesus Christ
Super! While you're busy following those boring and incomprehensible commandments, I can sin all my life, enjoying myself with wild fornications, murders, cuss-words and shellfish, and then accept JC at two minutes to midnight. Sorted! And if I also accept Vishnu, Mithra, Zeuss, Wotan, Osiris and L Ron Hubbard at the same time, I'll be well covered.

On-topic: that Zuckerman chap sounds very reasonable, and there was Dan Barker too. Gonna end up with a couple more books on my wishlist!

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:46:00 UTC | #295039

AllanW's Avatar Comment 30 by AllanW

Comment #309836 by Goldy on December 31, 2008 at 4:42 pm

'I am totally without sin. Seriously. '

You lucky, lucky bastard; that means you get to cast the first stone ...

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:47:00 UTC | #295040