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BridgeTheGap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 12:39 PM
Original message
The World's Happiest Countries are the Least Religious
The world's happiest countries have been announced, and three of the top five are among the least religious countries in the world, reports Alfredo Garcia at Religion News Service. Garcia acknowledges that this "might be like comparing apples to bookshelves" and that "measures of 'happiness' or 'religiosity' can often be so vague and difficult to quantify that they lose their meaning" but it's a notable finding all the same. Here's more:

The nations taking the top spots include: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands. This might not come as a surprise to many who have been to these nations. What is surprising, however, is that three of these five nations are among the top 10 least religious nations in the world (also from Gallup).

Indeed, Sweden, Denmark and Norway came in at second, third, and fourth, respectively. Only Estonia was less religious than these nations.

http://www.utne.com/spirituality/the-worlds-happiest-co...
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 12:42 PM
Response to Original message
1. +1 googol
But of course!!!! None of that "my afterlife is better than your afterlife" silliness.
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jdlh8894 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. But of course ! You have to be in church
EVERY Sunday to be Saved.
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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. Man! I missed a few Sundays in my youth...
...can I still be saved? How many Sundays do I have to go to church in order to be saved? It is a ratio or percentage thing?
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 01:43 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. Saved for what? nt
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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #11
20. Why...saved for marriage, of course!
BWHAHAHAHA!!!...if that were the case, nobody's going to Heaven!
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 03:55 PM
Response to Reply #20
28. Ah, that's why the pinheads don't want gays to marry. They don't 'the gays' desecrating their
heaven!!!!

:rofl:
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maxsolomon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
2. also, Democratic Socialist countries
where you get something back for your taxes besides mercs and drones.
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 01:43 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. + 2 googol.
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #2
24. Just heard a discussion on radio about "happiness". It was said that in
Edited on Thu Aug-26-10 02:45 PM by BrklynLiberal
doing an international poll, it was the countries with a social/economic safety net where people felt the happiest.

It seems, for some unknown reason, :sarcasm: when one does not have to go thru life worried about whether one will die in poverty, alone and unaided without medical care on a street corner, one's life seems so much happier.

In all the polls, US is usually at or very near the bottom of the list.

http://www.forbes.com/2009/05/05/world-happiest-places-...
http://www.newsweek.com/2008/01/21/the-pursuit-of-the-b...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/5224306.stm
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/14/60minutes/mai...
http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/10/happiest_countr...


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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
3. not surprised..no fear of hell or damnation makes one a happier person...
Sad that it takes that to make some people be able to do the right thing.
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #3
19. And a nihilistic void is supposed to make them happy? nt
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #19
23. Is that the only alternative you see to religion? How sad.
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #23
33. What else is there?
Science doesn't solve the problem of death. Existential philosophy might, but it's just as rigourous in some ways as religion.
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 04:53 PM
Response to Reply #33
35. ...That assumes that death is a problem..rather than part of the natural cycle of life.
Edited on Thu Aug-26-10 04:57 PM by BrklynLiberal
http://gregscheckler.wordpress.com/2009/11/25/happy-hea... /

<snip>
Those of us who are not religious are frequently told that lacking religion we have no basis for being ethical or moral, no way to live the good life. Nothing could be further than the truth. Athiests have many motivations, and one of them is that its important to do good today because life is rare and valuable, yours and mine.

In fact if youre an atheist youre far less likely to be a criminal than if youre Christian, youre far more likely to be highly educated, much more likely to be happy, much more likely to have a high i.q., more likely to be employed, less likely to be divorced, and more likely to advocate nonviolence as a lifestyle.Countries that are primarily secular and that contain fewer religious individuals are more likely to be prosperous, peaceful, and wealthy than highly religious countries. If youre interested in these trends, see the book Society Without God: What the Least Religious Countries Can Tell Us about Contentment, by sociologist Phil Zuckerman. Yet despite these simple facts, many religious people believe that the only way to be ethical and moral is to join and practice their religion. Thuggishly, most religions clearly state that if you are not a member, then you are damned to eternal torment (what kind of peer pressure is that!?)It could of course be, that athiests being generally more educated than otherwise tend to be more literate and therefore prosperous and wise. It may be that the benefits of athiesm have more to do with literacy than non-belief, in the same way that literacy is a better source of debate than Barro and Mclearys assumptions. Nevertheless, it isnt athiests who think that if you dont join them, you are evil and doomed to Hell!

So just what do atheists say about Morality and Ethics and how we relate and interact with other people in peaceful, productive ways? We rely on study and evidence. We have strong evidence that morality and ethics are human patterns of behavior, evolved over time, and shared with many other animals. We dont need to invoke anything supernatural to understand that being good to each other is best. (This is mere logic, the tautology that an action wouldnt be good and couldnt be described as good if it werent beneficial) The story is much bigger than logical definitions

<snip>

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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. Agree to disagree
I think you've got the cart before the horse here: a successful society sees less need for religion, rather than a society withour religion leading to a more successful society. Scandinavian countries have had socialism of some sort for more than 50 years (and at least a few are still officially Christian).

And from my experience, many people who think that this is all there is decide to take what's theirs and screw the rest. Randroids come to mind. (I don't for a second believe that an atheist George Bush, for example, would be any less venal and greedy than the nominally Christian one is)

And many religious people don't believe you're evil and doomed to Hell if you don't join them. Sorry, many of us don't fit the stereotype.

Ultimately, it's a matter of temperament. Good people do good and bad people do bad regardless of their belief or lack of belief.
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LAGC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 10:21 PM
Response to Reply #36
44. "Good people do good and bad people do bad regardless..."
Edited on Thu Aug-26-10 10:24 PM by LAGC
So why believe at all? Nothing you have said makes me want to become a believer.

Religion brought me no happiness as a kid growing up.
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 10:58 PM
Response to Reply #44
46. I'm sorry for that
ANd *I don't care* if you're a believer or not. It works for me, it doesn't have to work for you.

I would prefer if everyone lived by the words in my signature. They don't even need the God part, as long as they keep the humble part.

Be nice to each other, seek justice for others, and be humble. That's enough for me. I put in a Christian/Buddhist context, but that's really all it's about for me.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #36
57. Partly true.
Edited on Fri Aug-27-10 10:42 AM by cleanhippie
Good people do good and bad people do bad regardless of their belief or lack of belief.

Generally speaking, sure, you are right. However, people DO do bad things BECAUSE of their beliefs, while very few, if any, do bad things BECAUSE of their LACK of belief.
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #57
63. Depends on what you call belief
Everyone, unless they are a complete and utter nihilist, have no belief system whatsoever, no guiding worldview.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #63
67. How about we just call it what it is, then, religious belief.
We both know what is being discussed here. No need to be obtuse.
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #67
68. No, I don't think you can confine it to religious belief
People do bad things for what they consider rational, well-thought out beliefs. Try as some might to portray the USSR as a de facto "religious" state, the Soviets *believed* that they were taking a scientific, rational view of history.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-28-10 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #68
75. No, it is the same thing.
The Soviets STILL had a belief in their ideology, and THAT is what drove them.

Show me an example where a LACK of belief is what drove someone to do bad things.
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Silent3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 08:14 PM
Response to Reply #33
38. Nothing solves the problem of death
The supposed "solution" religion offers isn't a true solution, just something made up that's supposed to be comforting.

And how comforting can the religious "solution" actually be if all of those religious people aren't, on the whole, happier because of it? Why are they just as afraid to die, if not more so, than unbelievers?
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onager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #33
40. Epicurus came close enough for me.
Death is nothing to us. When we exist death is not, and when death exists we are not.

Also expressed this way, in a common epitaph found on ancient gravestones: I was not; I have been; I am not; I do not mind.

But I'm just a grumpy Fundamentalist Atheist.

The existentialists only trick people into thinking they have solved the problem of death - trying to read their damn books can seem like eternity.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #33
56. There is a problem with death?
What problem is there to solve?
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #19
26. Doesn't hurt. nt
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #26
48. this actually made me laugh nt
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #48
60. Good!!!! Even though I said it in all sincerity, any opportunity for a good laugh is a
Edited on Fri Aug-27-10 11:56 AM by valerief
good opportunity!

:hippie:
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #60
69. I am not one to force my beliefs on anyone.
If you have no problem with believing in Nuzzing, all the power to you, as long as you treat people nice.
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
5. It appears Scandinavia has cured Seasonal Affective Disorder
that or the survey was done during high summer.

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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
6. When Marx said
"Religion is the opium of the people," he did not mean in terms of doping people to control them. He meant that it was the way to relieve their pain. He argued that communism was a replacement for religion, which he thought would naturally die away. I think what we're seeing here is not a causal connection, but two different products of socialism.

My point is that getting rid of religion (not sure how that would work anyway) will not lead to Utopia. Getting closer to Heaven on Earth will lead to people not needing religion.
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. If we get rid of Fox, we've got a good start at getting rid of religion.
Get rid of the propaganda that feeds it.
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #13
17. Doesn't feed my religion
In fact, it's diametrically opposed to it.

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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #17
27. Ha! That could change once the wind blows. nt
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #27
32. what is that supposed to mean?
That anyone remotely Christian must be a Fox News teabagger?

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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #32
39. You said Fox and your religion are diametrically opposed. I assumed you were Muslim
Edited on Thu Aug-26-10 08:39 PM by valerief
since Fox is attacking Muslims. But if the RW Corp benefited from saying something good about Muslims (the wind changing), then Fox wouldn't attack your religion. However, it's a moot point, because you sound more Christian than Muslim.
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 10:56 PM
Response to Reply #39
45. If I'm a Christian, it's one of those dread Social Justice ones.
I am leaning heavily towards Buddhism, but I still think it's important to keep JC as an exemplary figure.
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #45
58. I don't really care. I was just explaining #27 since you requested that in #32.
Edited on Fri Aug-27-10 11:31 AM by valerief
Of course, I don't know any non-wealthy person, regardless of atheism or religion, who benefits from what Fox spouts.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 06:38 AM
Response to Reply #6
50. STRAWMAN ALERT!
Who said we should get rid of religion?

The OP noted that the the happiest countries are some of the least religious. That's all. If you dispute that fact, say so, and why. Otherwise put the strawmen away.
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #50
64. My point was
That people seem to be thinking that lack of religion makes one happy. My argument is happiness makes people think less about religion.

In any case,"happiness" is kind of a bullshit term that has no measurable meaning.

Easy with the "STRAWMAN" stuff.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #64
65. Then you changed your point.
Because you said: "My point is that getting rid of religion (not sure how that would work anyway) will not lead to Utopia."

No one said anything about getting rid of religion. So you presented a strawman, and bashed it into submission. That's my point.
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #65
70. It was implied by many of the comments
that a lack of religion somehow led to happiness. If I posted a straw man, I apologize. (And it's simply not true that *nobody* is saying get rid of religion. I've heard many people say "we will only have peace when we get rid of religion." Again, I think it's probably the other way around).
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #50
73. +666 trillion
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opihimoimoi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 01:03 PM
Response to Original message
7. Their YOKEs of FEAR have turned to noodles??
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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. All-powerful noodly being
who lives we know not where and who makes pigs and cowries, make some for me.
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AlecBGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 01:34 PM
Response to Original message
10. correlation =/= causation
100% of people who drink water WILL DIE!!!

I am both happy and a Christian. :hi:
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. Faith = / = Fact. That said, I'm glad you're happy!!!! I am, too, despite
how pissed I get at our puppetmasters.
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unblock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #10
16. and "causation" is not absolute causation
yes, it's possible, that one causes the other, the other causes the one, or that both are caused by some third factor.
it's also possible that there's nothing to it at all, that it's just a coincidence.

but single counter-examples are of little value. they don't contradict everything, other than the extremely strict interpretation that it isn't a 100% absolute causation. fine, it's not true that every last religious person is miserable. so?

whether, on average, happier people tend to abandon religion, or, on average, those who abandon religion tend to be happier, individual mileage may vary. there's obviously more than one factor at play here.

for example, people who have suffered great traumas and loss might be miserable and also find comfort in religion. if this doesn't apply to you, it proves little; in particular, it doesn't deny any statement about those who suffer great traumas if you haven't.

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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
14. What are the sour-faced priests and imams thinking?


(It must be the lack of religion bringing happiness; it sure couldn't be the weather!)
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. Yeah, Desmond Tutu is one gloomy gus, isn't he?
Or the Dalai Lama, or Thich Nhat Hanh...

(cue comments that they "aren't really religious."
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foxfeet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #14
21. That they need more sugar syrup in their mojitos?
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 02:27 PM
Response to Original message
22. It's hard to know what "comparisons" like this actually mean: until
rather recently, Finland had the highest suicide rate in the world

I'm going to repost some of my comments about Denmark from earlier threads on this claim


struggle4progress (1000+ posts) Thu Dec-10-09 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #40
53. It might take some work to decipher what Danes believe: Denmark has an official state church;
the majority of Danes belong to that church; and yet if one polls Danes on their beliefs, a majority seem rather heterodox and decidedly undogmatic
And some estimates of the prevalence of Danish atheism would suggest that a number of atheists belong to the official state church

struggle4progress (1000+ posts) Thu Dec-10-09 09:34 AM
Response to Reply #40
54. ... Danes joke that almost everyone in Denmark is Lutheran but almost no one is religious ...
Something spiritual in Denmark
01:00 AM EDT on Saturday, June 16, 2007
By Kevin Sullivan
The Washington Post
hhttp://www.projo.com/religion/content/LBdenmarkreligion_06-16-...

truggle4progress (1000+ posts) Thu Dec-10-09 09:35 AM
Response to Reply #40
55. ... Denmark has the highest level of confidence in religious institutions at 74%, yet a meager 3% of
Danes attend church at least once a week ...
September 21, 2004
Religion in Europe: Trust Not Filling the Pews
by Robert Manchin, Senior International Correspondent
http://www.gallup.com/poll/13117/religion-europe-trust-...


in this thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

struggle4progress (1000+ posts) Thu Dec-31-09 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #46
63. Scandinavian Nonbelievers, Which Is Not to Say Atheists (NYT | Feb 09)
By PETER STEINFELS
Published: February 27, 2009
... The many nonbelievers he interviewed, both informally and in structured, taped and transcribed sessions, were anything but antireligious, for example. They typically balked at the label atheist. An overwhelming majority had in fact been baptized, and many had been confirmed or married in church.
Though they denied most of the traditional teachings of Christianity, they called themselves Christians, and most were content to remain in the Danish National Church or the Church of Sweden, the traditional national branches of Lutheranism ...
Thoughtful, well-educated Danes and Swedes reacted to Mr. Zuckermans basic questions about God, Jesus, death and so on as completely novel. I really have never thought about that, one of his interviewees answered, adding, Its been fun to get these kinds of questions that I never, never think about ...
At one point, he queries Jens, a 68-year-old nonbeliever, about the sources of Denmarks very ethical culture. Jens replies: We are Lutherans in our souls Im an atheist, but still have the Lutheran perceptions of many: to help your neighbor. Yeah. Its an old, good, moral thought.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/28/us/28beliefs.html?_r=...

in this thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 03:02 PM
Response to Original message
25. The five happiest countries in the world ... all enjoy high levels of prosperity.
They're also all European. I guess we're free to pick the "cause" that we like best.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 06:40 AM
Response to Reply #25
51. However, it clearly puts to bed the fallacy that people NEED religion to be happy.
If you have any evidence otherwise, please present it. Your silence will be understood as agreement.
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 04:10 PM
Response to Original message
29. Don't have to worry about going to hell or not going to heaven.
Don't have to be preached against as those that go to church.

Don't waste time blaming god or it is god's will.

Have more free time to enjoy.

Don't have to spend money on church.

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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #29
34. They also have free health care
I think that has more to do with their happiness than lack of religion.

BrooklynLiberal finds it sad that I think that the choices are religion or nihilism. I find it sad that your view of religion is anxiety about heaven and hell and being "preached at." Certainly not my experience.
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #34
41. My anxiety is that religion is a farce. It is based on fear and control.
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 11:10 PM
Response to Reply #41
47. not from my experience
to each their own. That's why democracy is so great.
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 08:46 AM
Response to Reply #47
52. Thank goodness we have a republic otherwise I would be forced to belong to a state religion.
A true democracy would have demanded it.
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #52
53. I've never gotten that "this is a republic, not a democracy."
In any case, the way the actual government is set up in the U.S. is very unwieldy, IMHO.
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #53
66. If it was a true democracy everything would be decided by majority vote. Not good.
If there was a democracy the Constitution would be useless.
If there was a democracy it would require a vote on every piece of legislation by the people instead of the representatives.
If there was a democracy everyone would have to attend church and if they didn't they would have to pay a fine. And they could not choose their religion. And everyone would be taxed with the money going to the church as they did prior to the very early 1800's.
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #66
71. Um, there are things in between...
Parliamentary democracies are not republics, and are (IMHO) much better at representing the people than the U.S. system. For example, if the ruling party loses the confidence of the parliament, the government falls and an election is called.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
30. Creating causation out of coincidence is unscientific.
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dimbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
31. William Blake: the Garden of Love


I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut
And "Thou shalt not," writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.
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wookie72 Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #31
37. Barking up the wrong tree
If you think Blake was an atheist.
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dimbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #37
43. an alternative explanation might be
that his well known but rather unusual theology might add a little spice to that quote. Never can tell. It's the interwebs.

At any rate, a very fine poet.
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onager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-26-10 09:50 PM
Response to Original message
42. They forgot the Czech Republic and Flying Invisible Baby Jesus...
The Czechs advertise themselves proudly as one of least religious nations in the world. And they sure seemed happy when I was there. Who wouldn't be? A thousand great local beers to wash down all the pork, dumplings and cabbage. I also learned why so many stunning supermodels have names that end in "-ova."

Dave Hein is unhappy, but he's a missionary trying to convert the Czechs:

Since coming here, I have become increasing dissatisfied with the concept of Santa Claus.

The Czechs have a day for Saint Nicholas (a real historical Saint who despite modern American folklore did not live in the North Pole or wear red. Actually, he lived in Turkey in the 12th Century). For all the faults Santa Claus has, at least we can poke fun of him for what he is a tool of modern corporate America.

Czech Christmas means that a flying invisible Baby Jesus delivers presents.

Czech children have a similar feeling of letdown upon discovering that it is actually not Baby Jesus but Mom and Pop who are putting the presents under the tree.

The result is that I can read journals from my students that say "I believed in Jesus as a child" in the same way an American lad might bashfully remember believing in Santa Claus.

So if I tell Czechs I am a Christian, it is not something that smacks of intelligence to them.

At worst, I am mocked in the way one might mock an adult who insisted on Santa Claus existing. At best, I may receive a pained expression of wanting to believe but wondering "how in the world do I believe in Santa Claus all over again, only this time as a personal God?"


http://atheism.about.com/b/2004/08/05/czech-republic-mi...
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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 02:39 AM
Response to Original message
49. Of course the least religious are the most happy. How could it be otherwise?!
Religion is an ancient crutch for the cognitively disabled. It is for those for whom confirmation bias makes perfect sense. And it is for those for whom the scientific method only matters when one must take a pregnancy test. And you're hoping the line goes in the right direction.

Religion is a cornucopia -- a veritable plethora of scary fables and myths for the evolutionarily immature. Where the good knight always saves the day. Saving the downtrodden and the put-upon from the mean 'ol devilish dragons, leviathans and golems. And Muslins.

Religion is a suit of armor that protects with straight-jacket security. Where you wear blinders so that you only need to see one way - the Right Way. Their Way. Forget "free will" you'll never need it in Heaven!

Religion is learning to love to think backwards -- and to look backwards because in sameness there is comfort and safety. Even though by always looking backwards one risks constantly running and stumbling into things and having no idea where one is going. But you know that you're just marking time anyway -- in this punishment called "your life," -- but best of all you KNOW that you're Heaven-Bound. Which is all that matters.

But alas, in truth few are ever really happy about religion these days. Magical thinking ain't as easy to come by as it used to be. But most wouldn't know what else to do with their lives if religion weren't there to tell them. Which I guess is why it persists.


- By default.......

K&R

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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 09:36 AM
Response to Reply #49
55. ROFLMAO! I loves me some Mithra!
And now I'm hungry, too!
1000 x :rofl:
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 09:26 AM
Response to Original message
54. There's an apparent correlation between latitude and religiosity


countries closer to the equator seem more religions, those farther from the equator less religious. Maybe religion is a product of an overheated brain?
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #54
59. More like poverty and desperation drive people to religion.
Considering it's been used by the powers-that-be to convince the poor to accept their lot in life (and religion lends itself so well to this purpose with promises of a blissful afterlife), this is nothing new.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #59
61. How does that explain the USA? nt
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #61
62. Would you say there is more or less poverty and desperation in America...
vs. non-religious countries in Europe?
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 03:55 PM
Response to Reply #62
72. I'm not sure, I haven't lived in Europe in decades.
I'm pretty sure there are similar levels of poverty and desperation in Canada, though, and we're only about half as religious as the USA. There is certainly more poverty and desperation in Azerbaijan and Mongolia, both of which are less religious that the USA. However, they are both further north...
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dimbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-27-10 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #61
74. There is less religion in the northern tier, more in the southern tier
but that doesn't explain the average high level. Maybe the ancient legend that we're populated by religious refugees? If religion is anything, it is persistent through generations.
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