The least religious nations may be the most successful and healthiest. But will they burn in hell? James's blog Comments Heathens From the story linked above: Just to be perfectly clear here: I am not arguing that the admirably high level of societal health in Scandinavia is directly caused by the low levels of religiosity. Although one could certainly make such a case — arguing that a minimal focus on God and the afterlife, and a stronger focus on solving problems of daily life in a rational, secular manner have led to positive, successful societal outcomes in Scandinavia — that is not the argument I wish to develop here. Rather, I simply wish to soberly counter the widely touted assertion that without religion, society is doomed. Money and mouths In case you haven't heard yet, there's a strike going on. You can read more about it here at Daily Kos. Reform groups are blasting letters to congressional committee chairs and the head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, urging an investigation into whether bailout recipients used taxpayer money to benefit political candidates or organizations. The letter -- signed by officials with U.S. PIRG, Change Congress, Public Campaign, Public Citizen and Democracy Matters -- builds off a Huffington Post report... "We're calling for Congress to investigate whether Bank of America, AIG, or other recipients of billions in bailout money used taxpayer dollars to send 'large contributions' to any political organizations," reads the letter. "Congress has a responsibility to oversee the $700 billion bailout of the financial services sector. That means making sure that these taxpayer funds are used transparently, and in ways that benefit regular people -- not special interests." For the record, I'm on strike. Help is just a click away Hey, James...there's a secret republican fund to help folks like you so that they can influence your support in future conservative legislative efforts. All ya gotta do is click the right block on the right website. Need help? Just a click away, my friend............: The best thinking is independent thinking. Well... I suppose you could probably just ask the new Treasury Secretary about how he distributed those funds to his buddies on Wall Street. The dude was one of the chief architects of the bailout - and despite being a Wall Street crony (which makes him an "expert" in conventional political newspeak), he is the new appointee of the "change" administration. Hahaha. I don't mean to make fun of the left's political messiah, but this is something myself and others saw coming from miles away. Obama is just another corporate stooge, but with a new rhetorical spin to reel the left back into the establishment fold. Everything that is happening in our world makes a lot more sense once you start to realize how this system of social control really operates, who is running it, and what their aims are. If you really think that Obama's rise to power is some miraculous byproduct of a democratic system, you've been conned. Wall Street's got him by his Goldman Sachs. What is the sound of one libertarian clapping? . We won Ron!!!!!!!!!! and Bob you were close? What is the sound of one libertarian clapping?* Great Architect Ron Paul former Campaign Manager clapping, thinking they had seized the Republican Presidential Primaries last year? Or Bob Barr thinking he came in a close 3 rd last November.. Or Mike Munger clapping for himself and the Duke Basketball team for being number one for one day. It must suck to be so thoroughly incapable of defending your ideology (or even defining it) that this is the only way you can respond to rational argument. Really, it's no different than saying that the greens or the socialists are wrong because they don't have wide-spread support (and while I disagree with them for philosophical reasons I have a lot of respect for them as people who actually have the capacity to employ critical thinking skills and engage in rigorous discussion). Of course you wouldn't criticize them in the same way as you do libertarians, probably because you recognize the fact that they have a much better handle on the 'liberal' ideology than you do (hence their dedication to principle rather than political cheer-leading which is left up to those with only a vague sense of what they support). What's most interesting about the "lol libertarians don't win/aren't popular" response to criticism is how characteristic it is of your supposed arch-nemesis, the conservatives. Conservatives dismiss alternative viewpoints with the exact same attitude. So congrats on working with the republicans to monopolize the electoral process, ye believers in "democracy". The fact that you are able to lock out any options but yourselves and your nearly-identical twin party Republicans is certain proof that your ideology isn't internally inconsistent and morally unjustifiable. To you, what matters is winning elections. To me, what matters is being right. I'll take superiority in the latter category over the former any day. Have fun destroying the economy and bankrupting the state (well, I hope you had fun doing that over the past several years). We knew this, Paul To me, what matters is being right. It sort of explains everything. Health Benfits by Heathens & Viking? I am not arguing that the admirably high level of societal health in Scandinavia is directly caused by the low levels of religiosity. I simply wish to soberly counter the widely touted assertion that without religion, society is doomed.*James You got it backwards! It's that stong Viking Blood that still rules today in medical health! Are you suggesting that we dance nude around Thor to cure the common cold in Iceland during the middle of winter, instead of begging the Pope to cast out the Demon cold before the World ends tommorrow. Cheer up! Your name was not found in the Viking book of Doom! However, the Pope has a bounty on your head, should you ever try to access his private Porn collection. having spent a lot of time in Denmark I would say that people do have an openness to spiritual pursuits, but like the English, a state church becomes just a place for the occasional ritual, not the center of spiritual practice. My sense is that they are grounded in what we would think of as Judeo-Christian values of compassion, tolerance, looking out for one's neighbor, but they encode them in their government, with extensive social services for all. They have their fundamentalists, who would like to push an agenda that is far from the basic views of Danes. Denmark is one of my favorite places on earth. They contribute a lot to international aid, take in a lot of refugees, and eat brie for breakfast, which in my mind goes a long way to making them the happiest people in the world. I've always wanted to visit there. It's on my list of "somedays". Brie for breakfast just makes me want to go there more. Brie for breakfast makes me want to go to Whole Foods right now.