Greetings from Sweden

Giant Moth
Giant Moth's picture
Posts: 16
Joined: 2007-05-17
User is offlineOffline
Greetings from Sweden

Hullo Rational Response Squad, and all the others on this forum.

 

As you might have guessed, I'm from this little country in northern Europe known as Sweden. I watched your debate online on ABC, and became interested in this organisation, and their website. So good work on that, your incresed publicity will further serve your goals. Undermining the great religions that has been in controll of humanity for so long time is not an easy effort, even in these "free" times we live in. So keep up the good work.

 

You mentioned us on the debate! Unlike the US, we're not quite as used to that as you(if you're there) might be. We're but a small country of 9 million. Our entire nation could fit into New York. In either case, I feel I need to clearify something. We were mentioned to be one of the most atheism nations in the world, and still keeping to logic, morality, and the capacity to be good. This is sort of true. I'm not sure what the propper term is, but we're not techincally atheist. The majority of the population here is, whatever it's called, chose neither to believe, nor to not believe. I'm sure there's a good word for that. But true, I think if you made an official poll, we'd have a higher percentage of open atheists(note percentage, not amount) than perhaps your place. Religion is just not any important aspect of most of our lives. It's generally rather ignored, nobody will bash you for going to church on sundays, and nobody is going to shoot you for being an abortion doctor. You will still find parrents telling their children that the dead goes to heaven, but you will also notice that the impact dosn't really go beyond that. It's there, but very few people grow up with it actively.

Somebody in the audience of the debate asked for nations that could be "good" without god. But one thing that has always perplexed me about the United States is your capitalistic nature. I'm not going to turn this into a political debate, but I feel I must explain. Sweden has for the last 100 years or so, been mostly under the influence and governing of the Social Democratic Party. We're a socialistic nation, and pretty much any other political party, though some might be more rightly focused than others, still clinge to the fundamental socialistic ideas that has formed our modern nation. The socialism system we have can in short be explained as every citizen pitches in to help the rest. We have a very structured and established wellfare systems, that gives money to those of our citizens that are in need. If you lost your job, you recieve money untill you can find a new one(but we also make sure you're looking, and you can loose the benifits if you're abusing it). We're still very influenced by the west, but we clinge on to our social system quite well.

Now say what you will about such a system, but it's rather very opposite to that of the US. In which I have understood, you pay very little taxes, manage your own wellfare etc. Anybody who is "weak" or simply does not have the right circumstances, might end up on the street with very little help from the state - or anybody else for that matter. Now going back to my original point, I think this is curious. The christians in the United States seems to think they are on top of the world. Did not George Bush use the words of god to justify their actions and war on terrorism? It seems there is an awfull lot of god loaded into your country, and people who think their nation seems to be the greatest because of god. But christians speak a lot about the forces of goodness, light, freedom. And then comes our little faithless nation of 9 million, with a political system that cares for everybody in it, no matter who you are or what your situation is. Is it just me, or do I sense a lot of hypocracy in this?

Please don't misunderstand my intentions here. I am not trying to bash your nation or promoting mine. The guy in the audience asked for nations that knew goodness without god, and Sweden is a leading nation in wellfare systems, yet have very little religion in overall. Short in short, we care a lot for the well-being of our citizens, no matter who they are. I'm just curious what your thoughts on this are?

Residential Swedish Moth


BGH
BGH's picture
Posts: 2772
Joined: 2006-09-28
User is offlineOffline
Welcome Giant Moth! Great

Welcome Giant Moth!

Great post, maybe the term you are looking for regarding your nation's stance on belief is 'non-belief'? 


Giant Moth
Giant Moth's picture
Posts: 16
Joined: 2007-05-17
User is offlineOffline
Yeah, that's as simple as it

Yeah, that's as simple as it can get. I'm sure there is some fancy latin term though.


marcusfish
Superfan
marcusfish's picture
Posts: 676
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
Giant Moth wrote: Please

Giant Moth wrote:

Please don't misunderstand my intentions here. I am not trying to bash your nation or promoting mine. The guy in the audience asked for nations that knew goodness without god, and Sweden is a leading nation in wellfare systems, yet have very little religion in overall. Short in short, we care a lot for the well-being of our citizens, no matter who they are. I'm just curious what your thoughts on this are?

It is highly unlikely that you are going to offend anyone here by suggesting that the US is a screwed up country. And you did so in a very constructive manner Smiling

At any rate, it is VERY reasonable to look at this guys question and ask that he point out where the good religious countries are. We are certainly no example, though I'm sure a god fearing hate monger would argue that.

Personally I feel that Sapeint and Kelly made a mistake in even trying to answer this guys quesiton. By doing so they allowed him to assert that there ARE in fact healthy religious countries. This is a point that I would LOVE to see someone prove. He stood from an undefendable point of view and they allowed him to corner them into trying to defend their own (which is also undefendable). Now, I have the utmost respect for Kelly and Brian, I just consider this to be a mistake and in retrospect it is one that could have been handled differently.  


BGH
BGH's picture
Posts: 2772
Joined: 2006-09-28
User is offlineOffline
Giant Moth wrote: Did not

Giant Moth wrote:
Did not George Bush use the words of god to justify their actions and war on terrorism?

Sadly, yes, he did. Not only are the atheists here disgusted by that, but also many rational minded theists.
Giant Moth wrote:
It seems there is an awfull lot of god loaded into your country, and people who think their nation seems to be the greatest because of god.

You are also very correct in this statement.
Giant Moth wrote:
But christians speak a lot about the forces of goodness, light, freedom. And then comes our little faithless nation of 9 million, with a political system that cares for everybody in it, no matter who you are or what your situation is. Is it just me, or do I sense a lot of hypocracy in this?

I certainly see the hypocrisy.
Giant Moth wrote:
Please don't misunderstand my intentions here. I am not trying to bash your nation or promoting mine. The guy in the audience asked for nations that knew goodness without god, and Sweden is a leading nation in wellfare systems, yet have very little religion in overall. Short in short, we care a lot for the well-being of our citizens, no matter who they are. I'm just curious what your thoughts on this are?

I agree completely with this, like I said before… EXCELLENT POST!


Lux
Theist
Posts: 204
Joined: 2007-05-14
User is offlineOffline
There are nearly as many

There are nearly as many people in New York city and there are in the entire Country of Sweden. Does it really matter that many of them are atheists? Also I've read that many swedes are Lutheran. I think also that the atheist population is misleading by the form of the question. The Majority of Swedes answer "no religious affiliation" But on the same question, they all have thier weddings and funerals in Churches, and even have their infants baptized. Non-religious doens't = atheist. Just for the record, Our Country, the US, has a population of close to 400,000,000 with only 10-12% atheist.

"Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning..." -CS Lewis


American Atheist
American Atheist's picture
Posts: 1331
Joined: 2006-09-03
User is offlineOffline
Welcome to the forum, Moth.

Welcome to the forum, Moth.


Giant Moth
Giant Moth's picture
Posts: 16
Joined: 2007-05-17
User is offlineOffline
Yes, as I explained in my

Yes, as I explained in my post, the majority is not atheists. However, marriage in church, furneral in church - it's simply part of our christian background. Yes, christianity has it's roots in our countrys traditions and history, big suprise here - as does the rest of Europe(mostly). People get married in church because that's how things are done. They don't go there with the thought of "i'm marrying under god" they go there with the thought "im marrying in church, that's where you marry". I don't know anybody who celebrates christmas because of it's religious meaning(ok, I do know one, but he is christian, and the only one I know). Everyone just celebrates it, because it's a fun holiday! And because it's tradition.

 

As for baptism, it's rarer these days. A lot of people I know are not baptised. And as for Lutheran, I don't know. All I know is that our state religion is Protestantism, after Gustav Vasa kicked catholism out in the 1500's.

 

Edit: Thank you American Atheist. 

Residential Swedish Moth


marcusfish
Superfan
marcusfish's picture
Posts: 676
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
Just stop, stop. *gets all

Just stop, stop. *gets all weepy* You had me at...

Giant Moth wrote:
It's there, but very few people grow up with it actively.


Bjxrn
Bjxrn's picture
Posts: 57
Joined: 2006-07-26
User is offlineOffline
Another fellow Swede, cool,

Another fellow Swede, cool, where are you from?


LeftofLarry
RRS local affiliateScientist
LeftofLarry's picture
Posts: 1199
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Welcome to the forums..hope

Welcome to the forums..hope you enjoy your stay Cool

 

I too find it ironic here in this country that no matter how chilvarous and altruistic the christians of this country think they are, they will step on a homeless man in a heartbeat and vote for politicians that will promise to disintegrate our welfare system so as to allow the capitalistic "dog eat dog" ideology to perpetuate by cutting taxes.  It's part of the big Straussian neoconservative ideology.  Use religion to preach moral values while the elitists profit.  The way to keep politicians fat and happy is to ensure that the people will vote for them, one way to do this is to use religion.  They exploit evangelical christians on issues like homosexuals (appeal to fear) and abortion.  These evangelicals vote only on these matters and of course with it comes the promise of more money in your pocket, because obviously, being christian apparently means having creationism taught in schools while starving the homeless and pocketing more money by not paying taxes.  Selfish greed seems to be part of this system, with the undrlying "moral authority" they claim they have.

Europeans seem to get it a bit better than Wal Mart Americans.

Cheers.   

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server which houses Celebrity Atheists.


Giant Moth
Giant Moth's picture
Posts: 16
Joined: 2007-05-17
User is offlineOffline
Bjxrn wrote: Another fellow

Bjxrn wrote:
Another fellow Swede, cool, where are you from?

 

Stockholm Smiling

 

Anyway yes, Larry I agree. While I am not personaly an open atheist, I do however despise organised religion. As you say, it is yet another tool for power to not only be used by politicians, but also by small people. People will find power in the comunities that comes through certain religion, especially those at top of it. Preachers and important community figures has a lot to say in certain things, with people so docile to a lot of bullshit, they very easily take in a lot more. Good examples of these are silly parrent unions that goes around censoring things left and right - because it's immoral and wrong. But any charismatic person can really say things in the name of god, and others will believe him very easily. 

Faith should be a personal matter and a personal matter -only-. It should  be kept out, and perhaps even a punishable offense to bring up in politics, education(except education of faith of course. But no more damn intelligent design in science class!), work(ie forced to learn certain beliefs from superiors while working at one said place etc). 

 

Residential Swedish Moth


Andyy
Andyy's picture
Posts: 182
Joined: 2007-05-18
User is offlineOffline
Valkommen Moth!  I've

Valkommen Moth! 

I've traveled to many parts of the world and I found that my time in Norway, Sweden, and Finland (I spent about 3 months total in those countries) were the most intellectually stimulating months of my life.  Whether it was a conversation on the street, at a bar, a festival, a museum, on a bus, or mearly observing how the society treats people, everything seemed to be on a different level than in my experience in the USA.  Whether it was meeting quad-lingual 80 year olds, having a 10 year old explain to me how to use the buses (in perfect english I might add), or not seeing nearly the number of homeless people in Stockholm or Goteborg as I do in other similar sized cities, I was always impressed.  While freethinking exists in the US, in Scandinavia, I found it to be the norm.

The 24 hour sun was great, but I don't like the weather up there in the winter though.  And one old religous influence you need to get rid of there, is not being able to buy alcohol at certain times/days! Laughing


Trevlig dag!


Bjxrn
Bjxrn's picture
Posts: 57
Joined: 2006-07-26
User is offlineOffline
Andyy wrote: And one old

Andyy wrote:

And one old religous influence you need to get rid of there, is not being able to buy alcohol at certain times/days! Laughing

 

That is actually not a religious blue law at all, we have that because the Social Democrats instituted a government run monopoly on the sale of alcohol back in the days, and for the longest time you couldnt buy alcohol on Saturdays and Sundays, that changed in the end of the 1990s. The reason for this is to minimize the negative effects of alcohol on people and society, according to them.

Is it better to have loved and lost?


Andyy
Andyy's picture
Posts: 182
Joined: 2007-05-18
User is offlineOffline
Bjxrn wrote:   That is

Bjxrn wrote:
 

That is actually not a religious blue law at all, we have that because the Social Democrats instituted a government run monopoly on the sale of alcohol back in the days, and for the longest time you couldnt buy alcohol on Saturdays and Sundays, that changed in the end of the 1990s. The reason for this is to minimize the negative effects of alcohol on people and society, according to them.

 

Thanks for correcting me on this one, I should have never doubted Sweden Smile

Out of curiosity, does that law have support among the people?  Any chance they may change it in the next few years?  It still seems like such an odd law for a country like Sweden to have... 


Giant Moth
Giant Moth's picture
Posts: 16
Joined: 2007-05-17
User is offlineOffline
As he said, the law changed.

As he said, the law changed. Goverment still have monopoly on all sale of Alcohol. They used to have monopoly on a lot more back in the days, like telivision, telephone, blahetc. But as I said, we got a lot of western influence. Now, they only have it on a few things... Drug Store and Alcohol Store is the only ones that come in mind right now. While govermental monoplies are anti-capitalistic, it's a very nice way of actually controlling, enforcing and keeping statistics on those parts. Of course, a lot of people smuggle home spirits from German and Denmark instead ^^

Residential Swedish Moth