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Old 02-16-2014, 02:35 AM
 
Location: Sweden
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People in small villages are still very religious and conservative, at least here in the north.
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:13 AM
 
Location: Currently living in Reddit
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
It's only part of political/public/community discourse because of the rise of the fundamentalist Right in politics, a result of G. W. Bush "discovering" a source of political support when he ran his father's campaign for President. Prior to that, religion was not at all a part of public/political discourse. It was a very private matter in most parts of the US, and not an acceptable topic of discussion in the workplace or at private gatherings, unless they were church-related gatherings.
As far as the current US definition of "conservative" goes, you're correct. It wasn't all that long ago that "conservative" in a political context had nothing to do with religion, only political policy. But religion was a huge talking point in JFK's (Catholic) candidacy and election and even to a certain extent Nixon's (Quaker).

I'd agree with the point made about pretty much all of Western Europe being less religious than the US. Here's an excerpt from a recent Pew study on "values gap" difference between the US and EU:

Quote:
Americans also distinguish themselves from Western Europeans on views about the importance of religion. Half of Americans deem religion very important in their lives; fewer than a quarter in Spain (22%), Germany (21%), Britain (17%) and France (13%) share this view.

Moreover, Americans are far more inclined than Western Europeans to say it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values; 53% say this is the case in the U.S., compared with just one-third in Germany, 20% in Britain, 19% in Spain and 15% in France.
So as was noted previously by another poster, it's not just Scandanavia, it's pretty much the entire EU, save possibly Ireland.
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:40 AM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
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I also think it has a lot to do with wealth and education: the wealthy/educated/intelligent people tend to be less religious - more rational thinking decreases religious beliefs.
(of course that does not apply to everyone, or every country, but that's the general trend)
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:46 AM
 
2,816 posts, read 5,365,649 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
It's only part of political/public/community discourse because of the rise of the fundamentalist Right in politics, a result of G. W. Bush "discovering" a source of political support when he ran his father's campaign for President. Prior to that, religion was not at all a part of public/political discourse. It was a very private matter in most parts of the US, and not an acceptable topic of discussion in the workplace or at private gatherings, unless they were church-related gatherings.
It comes from before that. Remember Reagan's "Evil Empire" speech before a fundamentalist audience?
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ABQConvict View Post
Don't discount the fact that many of the Scandinavians who emigrated to America were among the most religiously fanatical population in the countries of their origin.
Emigration from Scandinavia was not religiously motivated.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:55 AM
 
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Those countries are NOT atheist. You ask most people out on the street in any region of Scandinavia if they believe in God and most will tell you yes. The fact is the church has taken a back seat. NOT the beliefs of the people. Atheist and liberals in general remain the loud vocal minorities in Europe.
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Leeds, UK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allenk893 View Post
Those countries are NOT atheist. You ask most people out on the street in any region of Scandinavia if they believe in God and most will tell you yes. The fact is the church has taken a back seat. NOT the beliefs of the people. Atheist and liberals in general remain the loud vocal minorities in Europe.
This depends on the definition of atheism - which is, strictly speaking, the lack of belief in deities, and nothing else. Using this definition, the vast majority of Swedes, Norwegians and Danes are atheist. 18% of Swedes believe in God, 22% of Norwegians and 28% of Danes. A much higher percentage believe in some sort of spirit or life force, but that does not equate to belief in deities.
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:22 AM
 
501 posts, read 459,209 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allenk893 View Post
Those countries are NOT atheist. You ask most people out on the street in any region of Scandinavia if they believe in God and most will tell you yes. The fact is the church has taken a back seat. NOT the beliefs of the people. Atheist and liberals in general remain the loud vocal minorities in Europe.
I don't think this is true. In France I do not know anyone under the age of 35 who still believes in god (except for recent immigrants from more religious countries), and I spent some time working in Berlin and would say it was about the same.

According to Wikipedia only 18% of Swedes profess a belief in God, for example. I think religion in Europe is more of a cultural thing than a personal belief. Religion is part of our history so we may still go to mass on Christmas or take a holiday on Assumption, but I don't think many people are actually celebrating the birth of Christ or Mary going to heaven.
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:55 AM
 
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Generally, the higher the education level is, the less religious the population is. You're talking about relatively small nations with a highly developed society so it makes sense they don't care much for religion.
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada
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Sensibility prevailed, I guess.
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