Friday, October 5, 2007

Norway flourishes as secular nation

"Rev. Rick Mason notes that atheism is on the rise. He blames Christian fundamentalism. Certainly the ineptness, dishonesty and lack of ethics of the overtly God-fearing Bush administration may be turning people off on God.
A case study shows what this could mean for America. Norway has embraced secularism at the expense of its Christian roots. A 2005 survey conducted by Gallup International rated Norway the least religious country in Western Europe.
In Norway, 82.9 percent of the population are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (they are automatically registered at birth and few bother to be unregistered). However, only approximately 10 percent regularly attend church services and identify themselves as being personally Christian.
A 2006 survey found: 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.
Depending on the definition of atheism, Norway thus has between 26 percent and 71 percent atheists. The Norwegian Humanist Association is the world's largest humanist association per capita.
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.

David N. Miles, Montgomery Advertiser (letters), October 5, 2007 (also at Dawkins.)
While I knew this already, this pleased me no end to read! And I have to say that in the early 90s I never thought I'd sit here 15 years later and cheer that religion is on the retreat here.
Of course, the case of Norway doesn't say that secularisation leads to prosperity(there's the oil and everything), but it says firmly that secularisation does not lead to immoral chaos, which is what many Christians want you to believe.
And just so there's no jealousy, it has to be said that Norways neighbours fare no worse. ;)

See also: Norway: 68 percent skeptical to religious organisations

1 comment:

Stian said...

Thanks for posting this article - I live in norway and has alway thought about it as a christian country, and that has always pissed me off. I am 15 now, and had my "Confirmation" at the Humanist "Group". I and a friend was the only ones in our class.
Thanks a lot for the article - made me look with a brighter smile at norway.
Atheism to the world ^^