Home Discussion Forum Why is the US so 'backwards' when it comes to religion? (seeking...

Why is the US so 'backwards' when it comes to religion? (seeking serious answers)?

I’ve been living and working in Norway for several months now, and I’m astonished at just how LITTLE Norwegians care for religion. Nobody here cares what my religion is, or is not. In fact, if you bring up the subject, they look at you funny and try to steer it in another direction. Today’s top news story (after the Earthquake in Haiti, obviously) is that according to new polls and surveys, there is now a strong, growing, public pro-science and anti-alternative belief movement, there are is a record uptake of science and engineering students, and even a majority of the theology students are atheists. Some of the background for this is that the princess of Norway received a lot of criticism in the media after she started an “Angel Guidance” school and charged people to teach them how to get in touch with their angels and spiritual whatnots.
As our country seems to be descending into economic despair and a growing evangelist movement that loves to fantasize about Armageddon and the end of the world, and anti-science creationists and religious sects, and people continue to cry out for MORE religion…
Why can’t we follow Norway’s lead? Why is the US so ‘backwards’ when it comes to religion?
As for the economic despair bit, check this out… Norway has not only avoided the financial crisis, they have beat it hands down. Some people will claim oil is the reason for it’s success, but Norway’s oil reserves are extremely modest, and all of the profits from oil have been invested in the global market. Next to humongous China, Norway is the biggest player in the global stock market, and it’s riches belong to the people.
Purchasing Power Parity (increasing poverty causes increasing stupidity and vice versa?)
$47,500 (2008 est.)
$47,700 (2007 est.)
$47,200 (2006 est.)
$59,500 (2008 est.)
$58,200 (2007 est.)
$55,100 (2006 est.)
lol it’s not as bad as people say. I was expecting it to be worse. The streets here in Oslo have ground heat cable thingies running underneath, and it seldom gets under 40-50 degrees. Spring, summer and fall are all very temperature and comfortable, at least near the sea in Oslo and Bergen 🙂
Fireball: Born and raised. Like I said, I’ve been working here a matter of months, and the contrast is astonishing. It feels like they are 10-20 years ahead of us in most respects.
Reverend Soleil: Do you think religion could actually be genetic? Could there be a God-gene? It would explain a lot. I don’t think just culture is sufficient to explain such contrasts in two societies that are, in most respects, eerily similar.
Brilliant answers so far today, thanks. Wish I could thumb you guys up, but alas this is a new account… thanks fundies 😛
Blessed: Norwegians are not hung up much on money either. Another survey today said that 8/10 males thought the most important issue in labor and wage negotiations between government, private sectors and unions this year was not their own wages, but evening out wage earning disparities between men and women! Staggering, considering they have the second lowest difference after Sweden. They also have healthcare and social reforms and programs Americans would not believe… my jaw was on the floor when my employer explained my rights. As a foreign citizen and laborer, I’m entitled to long term sickleave as well as free healthcare, and a year of paid leave if I have a child etc.
Norway’s anti-god belief system?
They have a protestant state church with 86% membership.
It’s just that nobody takes it seriously! They view it as an institution which cares for ceremonies related to birth, illness, death etc.
And yes, I am a humanist. Very much so. And after living in a humanist Europe, I have to say, humanism and science work much better to guide people’s lives. They do a far better job of following the MORAL PRINCIPLES of religion than do Christian America, Christian Phillipines, or Islamic Saudi Arabia etc.


  1. Honestly? It’s a mystery.
    Some folks have suggested that, as a nation of immigrants, people have clung to religion as one of the last reminders of their old homelands.
    Others have postulated that America’s “free market” principles have been applied to religion as well — religion is a product, and successive generations have tailored their sales pitch to get the largest number of butts in the seats.
    As for relocating? I happen to LOVE my country, for all its faults; and think that with time and attention we can return to the ideals of the Founding Fathers…

  2. They are a higher, superior society to that of the U.S.
    I’ve been to Sweden many times (my mother is Swedish), same deal, they don’t care about religion, and they don’t need it.
    The stanard of living in Norway and Sweden both easily exceeds ours.
    Biggest mistake of my life? Being born in the U.S. My mom should’ve stayed in Sweden.

  3. the majority of americans are FAT, lazy and very ignorant sheeple.
    I hope this helps (!)
    Love is the answer … Peace be with U

  4. You might as well ask, why don’t sick people just get better? Fundamentalism is the chronic viral disease of America. Kids catch it at a young age from their parents, and it is hard for them to shake — even though kids born into virus-free families tend to stay free of it all their lives.

  5. Our country is run by special interest groups and not by the people anymore. These special interests groups create propaganda to further support their cause, and often go after the most gullible and this would be the religious folks.

  6. There is no mystery about it if you read and understand the bible book of revelation.
    It’s all there. Consider it from the point of view that the beasts are governments.
    We ARE in end times and man simply will not get his way anymore.

  7. Got us there, guess we’ll have to get down an pray for an answer 😉 nyuk.
    Just kinking you. I am in Canada, and we, like my Norwegian ancestors, don’t go crazy for money money to the point of throwing out all the rules.
    As our lead money guy said to the U.S. “Fix your banks” In other words, see the sense of living within your means instead of the love of money as your true God.
    We’ve done not to bad in this too.
    How do you find the people there?

  8. What are you trying to tell us? To turn our back on God our creator and follow money instead? Now, who’s backwards?
    Matthew 6:24-34
    24”³You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.

  9. Perhaps it’s because falsehood, misrepresentation and deceit are too highly treasured in America. Otherwise, half the country would realize the truth about the religious issues and stop knocking down straw men majorities and stances (like creationists as anti-science or zealots as over-fantasizing about Armageddon).

  10. Quite honestly, the second paragraph gave you away for your new age/secular humanistic belief. Why would we Christians in America want any resemblance to Norway’s liberal, anti-God belief system?
    You have been deceived just as the majority of Norwegians, a warning Christ gave In Matt 24.

  11. There are myriad of factors contributing to the U.S.’s religiosity. One of them is what you mention, economic disparity. Another would be the “religious capitalism” present in our society–whereas Western European countries generally have state religions that can grow lazy and uncompetitive like monopolies, religions in America must actively strive to convert.
    Another is our poor education system.
    Another is perceived risks (religiosity strengthens as a factor of improving in-group solidarity).
    But in all actuality, this is a hard question to answer.
    There’s lots of good books on the subject.
    Phil Zuckerman’s Society Without God is great–he spends a year in Denmark and Sweden asking just the question you are.
    Gregory Paul’s paper in the journal Evolutionary Psychology “The Chronic Dependence of Popular Religiosity upon Dysfunctional Psychological Conditions” is also directly dealing with this.

  12. Lol no offense, but everyone in europe (including me soz) thinks americans are a wee bit retarded when it comes to religion. Hardly anyone is christian here in England btw. Well, long long ago, americans moved to america from where ever in europe to be religious in there own way. They wanted to worship God in a “God is my friend” sort of way. I guess if anything I’m catholic, but the truth is is that Religion was used for reassurance and money up until lutheran times, when luther decided people should “love” God.

  13. The ‘problem’ is not the people of the USA believing in the higher power’ God’; but that they have not gotten ‘Satan’s additions’ out of the Bible yet.

  14. Personally, I do not see the connection between their economy and religion. The government of the U.S. has no religious ties (unlike the State church of Norway) and that is what is running, and ruining the economy. As for Norway, it seems to be a great place. Especially if you want to live exactly like your neighbor and be heavily taxed. They have very high taxes on income, property, AND sales taxes. They have re-distribution of wealth as well. It seems to be working for them so far, but it is NOT for me. There is a reason most of the inventions we use today came out of the U.S. (planes, cars, televisions, radios, computers, etc) and that is because of the ability to creatively invent and market something and be rewarded financially for it. You CAN become wealthy through hard work or creativity in this country and taking that right away is dangerous to progress. Why work harder when it gets you no where? Why work to invent if there is no reward?
    Another aspect is their isolation from the world as far as economy and war goes. Many will argue the U.S.’s involvement in the worlds problems but when we try and stay out of things we are criticized. Personally, when I saw the photos of Iraq people showing off their ink-stained fingers after voting I could not be more proud that my country was a part of helping those people become free. And it does take time to teach people how to be free so I am also ok with still being over there. And we are often the first to jump in to aid other countries in times of disaster such as this latest in Haiti. While I am not pleased with some of the latest things going on, I am proud to live in this country.
    “Norwegians are among the most heavily taxed people in the world, and that in turn has made Norway one of the most expensive countries in which to live. Most accept the taxes they’re ordered to pay on income and even net worth and property, but growing numbers are publicly complaining about sky-high taxes on everything from cars to fuel to consumer goods.
    Norwegians differentiate between skatter (taxes) and avgifter (duties, fees or user taxes) and the latter is the most hated. They’re what causes a glass of house wine at an Oslo restaurant to cost the equivalent of nearly USD 16, or a gallon of gas to cost nearly USD 9 at current exchange rates.
    “It’s clear that taxes are much too high in oil-rich Norway,” Oslo resident Gro Pettersen told newspaper Aftenposten. “It’s sick!”
    Personally, the way we Americans already complain about our taxes I can not imagine us putting up with such things. Of course, certain people are trying to get us to go in that direction….


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