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Old 02-15-2014, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
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When our Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish ancestors came to settle the lands here during the late 19th and early 20th century, they built Lutheran churches where they worshiped weekly.

Yet these countries are now practically atheist or at least indifferent to religion. In addition, their sexual norms have liberalized beyond those of the U.S. For example, I hear that is not unusual for a 15-year-old couple to spend the night (have sex) at one of the parents' houses, with their full permission. Granted, such things happen here, too, but they seem to be much more limited.

In the U.S., on the other hand, descendants of immigrants from Norway, Sweden, and Finland seem to be no less religious than the general public in their states. Many, especially those from small towns, attend church on a weekly basis.

What, in the intervening period of time, separated the Swedes, Finns, and Norwegians from their distant cousins in the U.S.?
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Old 02-15-2014, 02:59 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Linguistic studies show that emigre communities tend to conserve their language as it was when they left their home country, while the language back on its home turf continues to evolve and modernize. I'd bet the same holds true for culture. An immigrant community may tend to keep their culture somewhat frozen in time, while back in the "Old Country", the populace is open to change and innovation.
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Old 02-15-2014, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Monnem Germany/ from San Diego
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I had a devout Catholic Polish girlfriend who´s 15 year old daughter´s boyfriend spent the night. For her it was normal. Sexual norms are really not necessarily religious in nature. Here it is accepted, why should it not be? Religion is personal, what you believe or don´t believe.
I imagine quite a few Scandinavians are religious but why should someones personal belief affect someone else´s sex life?
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Old 02-15-2014, 04:55 PM
 
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there certainly are some scandinavians with religious devoution. however, here religion is (thankfully) a striktly personal matter. i've never really understood the mentaltity of some of the american bible thumpers, that seem to show a greater interest in what others choose to do with their private parts than in fulfulling their own religious needs. if someone has pre-martial sex, is homosexuall, transexuall or whatever - why does i bother you personally? the act of sticking the nose into others privates parts over religion, is IMO waaay more disgusting than being sexually-liberal, gay, transvestite or whatnot.
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:19 PM
 
Location: Estonia
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It might be that the northern people tend to be more practical, more pragmatical.
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Old 02-15-2014, 06:06 PM
 
Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands
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Thank god for Abba!
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:08 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
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...and religion here is mostly a "personal matter", too. Yet we are far more religious than you.
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
...and religion here is mostly a "personal matter", too. Yet we are far more religious than you.
Religion in the US is mostly a personal matter but it is also very much a part of public/community/political discourse. I am still not sure why it is so, perhaps it's the competition between churches and the different branches of Christianity -- "in my church...".

I don't see the parallel you're trying to draw between 2014 Norwegians/Swedes/Finns and 2014 Americans who happen to have Scandinavian ancestors that immigrated 4 or 5 generations ago. And even if these (say) Minnesotans resembled their 1900 ancestors, those immigrants were not chosen at random from the Scandinavian population. They self-selected into immigration, and selected the US, whose promise of religious freedom has been a non-negotiable feature since the Mayflower. The fact that they actually immigrated to the US shows they were at least a bit different from those who stayed.

As far as your question goes -- the answer is probably the same for all other western countries with similar standards of living as the US (except maybe Ireland), and then the question can be rephrased as "why is religion still so important in the US, when it decreased in importance everywhere else?" I believe that question is more worthwhile (albeit more dangerous given some of the US haters on this board) than one that's circumscribed to Scandinavia.
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:08 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barneyg View Post
Religion in the US is mostly a personal matter but it is also very much a part of public/community/political discourse. I am still not sure why it is so, perhaps it's the competition between churches and the different branches of Christianity -- "in my church...".
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.
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:25 PM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
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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.
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