Denmark and Sweden
Denmark has Lutheranism as its state religion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Denmark so, yeah, secular. Nice research, Proxima.
An established church means that the church is under state control. It does not mean that the country's law in general is anything but secular. This is, after all, Lutheranism we are talking about here...
There's so many reasons, though I think LX comments (oh crap, first Roberts, now i agree with LX, it really is the end of times) are probably the best answer.
But you also have to look at size of the countries, proximity to the so-called atheist russia, general focus on culture over religion, economic and education levels (both of which, being highly subsidized states, are very sound and important).
Do you think these sources are good or bad? Please give reasons for your answer.
- Secularism:The Case in Denmark
- Society without God
- Scandinavian Nonbelievers, Which Is Not to Say Atheists
Phil Zuckerman is a good writer and researcher, so his book should be an interesting read. That said, I'm not sure you can extract "what we can learn about contentment" from non-religious societies and come away with anything fruitful, since by and large, societies are built over hundreds of generations, including in all cases, religious ones.
The separate article "Secularism - the case in Denmark" is pretty light on anything really useful to say. It's trying hard to make a claim about what being a Dane is, while stripping from Danes the fact that they were largely religious and pagan for so long, it permeates their national views.
I think one thing you want to consider when making a claim that religion (lack or presence) effects the wealth, the development, the education system , and corruption (and not the other way around) is to look at France. France has now and has had the highest rate of atheism in Europe. It has had and has now one of the most secular governments regarding how decisions are made, what is taught in school, etc. Yet it is largely stricken by economic woes, it has a high level of internal political corruption, there is a large trend towards "nationalism" (FN for example). And their high quality education system is falling apart in lower income banlieue and rural areas.
So while I think it's an interesting thing to explore, I don't think it can be as simple as "religion cause" or "secularism causes".
However, if your argument is "society can function just fine and totally morally without religion", then yes, these would be good sources, cause that's what they show.
- Yes I know my sources prove that society can function well without religion and that’s a powerful argument for atheists and other freethinkers worldwide.
- I think the sources I cited above give inconclusive evidence that secular societies do better than religious societies. More research is needed for this and I plan to spend some time on this research.
- There is, I feel strong evidence that religious fundamentalism and Christian fundamentalism is harmful. Look at the social problems in the United States Bible Belt for example.
- It’s less clear in my opinion whether Liberal Christianity, Cafeteria Christianity Fast-food Christianity and the like are harmful. I have respect for small numbers of Christian groups, notably the Methodists and the Quakers.
What is the time in your time zone of the United States? It’s 8 o’clock in the morning in Britain. I didn’t expect a reply till early afternoon here. Yes I know the knife edge decision by SCOTUS yesterday was exciting but the body needs sleep.
The problem you are making is easy to make. You are confusing causation with coloration. There is no reason to think that a secular society functions better without religion. France is a perfect example. There is no reason to think a religious society functions better. Afghanistan is a perfect example. Because of the serious amount of factors, there is no way to draw any kind of conclusion about religion and society.
You mention the south. You blame the problems of the south on fundamentalism, with out recognizing that the fundamentalism could be the RESULT of the social problems. Why is the south drawn to fundimentalism in teh first place? They were not always so religious. Why is denmark not drawn to religion, this was not always their case.
I'm 8 hours earlier than France. But i never remeber if UK is the same as France or an hour earlier.
The social problems in the Bible Belt, I think, have more to do with poverty and racism than Christianity. Remember what Martin Luther King, Jr.'s occupation was.
You're right in Social Science things can rarely be simplified down to a single cause. That's why research is needed. Incidentally how far is France secular and how far is France still Roman Catholic?
It's not really "that research is needed". I'm not sure how you even *can* research it.
I'm also personally bothered by your use of "religion", when you say "to find out if religion is harmful or not". Which religion? The Methodist Church down the block that holds formal "Tea servie" every tuesday at three? The New Age religions that are basically self-help be happy and buy tarot cards. The Mosque in canada that meets in the choir room of a local church which also doubles as the school house? Shinto religions that ask you to respect and "worship" nature? The 3 kids who call themselves "satanists" to piss off mom and dad?
Even "organized religion" varies far and wide from church to church. But you lump them all together and say "is religion good or bad".
As for France, simply because of their intellectual traditions, the community at large has little place of discussions of religion in schools, in government, or in any public section. To the point of saying "no teach may wear any symbol of a religion at any time during the day". compared to say Denmark's 19% self identified "non religion, non god" people, france has 31%. another roughly 40% that say something like "there might be, whatever, doesn't really impact me", and 30% who attend church or mosque.
Hell, if you want to know if religion is "good" or "bad", fuck the definition of religion, you're going to have to spend 95% of your effort properly defining "good" and "bad" things, and then you'll suddenly notice that things like supporting a football team is a "bad" thing, or voting for a political party is a "bad" thing.
And you have the problamatic situation in China and Russia where at least one generation if not two were raised formally atheists - and look where both of them are on 1) education, 2)commerce, 3) basic human rights (sex slavery, anyone?)
Or is someone going to argue the time honored "but communism is virtually a religion" line.
China is only nominally communist today, though. And Russia -- not even close.
So they are fucked up, and there's no religion to blame. Personally, I think i'm goign to research that atheism is what made them worse.
And Germany has a tradition similar to France of being highly academic, philosphical, and rather anti-religion in the schools and all. Clearly, that caused hitler, which is clear proof how much society needs religion!
I'm on to something here. wonder how much I can make publishing a book.
Well, there is a new book coming out about Fast and Furious being a liberal conspiracy theory (I'm dead serious) to somehow make the country more "pro gun control". the NRA is up in arms about this, demanding to see Holder's papers, to prove that it's a conspiracy.
I was talking to some people in the facebook "conspiracy theorists say the darnedest things", adn they AGREED it was likely a conspiracy.... sighs.... people really do turn off their so called analytical skills when their political party is involved, don't they. (me too. I think obama is teh best, and won't let anyone say otherwise. heh)
You can make a packet of money if you know how to write scary stuff with good academic words included so it reads professional. Pseudoscience sells very well.
Warning RationalWiki will write an article about that book and your readers won't like that article.
So, apparently, do both "anti religion" and "anti atheism" books. :-)
seems everyone is all too happy to point fingers, and far less people want to look at a more rational, reasonable, balanced view of "the Other" or simply the world's problems.
Some people care a great deal about religion because they are devout believers. Other people are anti-religious because religious people have hurt them or have hurt friends, family in the name of religion. What proportion of those who hate religion have been hurt that way I don't know.
of those who *Hate* religion? probably quite a few. Most grownups who have simply come to the idea that religion isn't right for them, and that there is no god, have no need to *hate* religion. They don't tend to say things like "all religion is bad", or work to stop religion. they don't actual proselytize.
The link below has information about the college where Zuckerman is a professor and a list of publications.
Prox, you don't need to obsess over Scandinavia if you want to disprove the connection between religion and morality even on a sociological basis. Read this paper by Rodney Stark.
How do i get the Rodney Stark text large enough to read?
First, print it out. Second, borrow your grandparents' text magnifier.
"An emergent page saves me having to explain what ZOOM means, using small English words, a measure of patience and a length of plastic hose." 
Am I supposed to understand why you posted his name and linked to his page?