THE MASKED ANGEL:
I've often talked on this blog about how dangerous atheism is not only to the individual person but also to society as a whole. However, whenever I point this out to an atheist, I hear the same statement set every time:
"What about Sweden? That's an atheist nation and they seem to be doing great."
"Doing great" is a relative term (although we will come back to it) but overall how truthful is this as a whole? Is there a slight chance that atheists missed something important in their conclusion?
It comes as no surprise the answer to these in order is "not very" and "yes, by a wide margin."
Let's break this down to the separate notions atheists use to support their conclusion:
MYTH:"More than half of Swedes are atheist."
THE TRUTH: According to surveys, no more than 23% of Swedes are atheists, and 23% is not a majority by any stretch of the imagination. According to a Eurobarometer poll, only 13% are atheists.
I once pointed the 23% out to an atheist who claims to live in Sweden and his answer was (and I am not making this up):
"You must have been looking at a poll done at the start of the 20th century. The atheist rate in Sweden is much higher than that."
I then pointed out to him the figure was from a 2012 survey conducted by his own (supposed) government. What was his answer after that?
"You're a poopy-head."
(Disclaimer: Ok, he didn't phrase it like that but that's what it boiled down to.)
Going back to the Eurobarameter poll for a moment: The 2012 poll said 13% of Swedes are atheist, but atheists shouldn't cheer at that: when the poll was conducted in 2010, 34% of Swedes were atheist, meaning more than half gave up on atheism after just two years.
MYTH: "The Swedish government recognizes mulitiple religious holidays."
THE TRUTH: Sweden's Parlament recognizes eleven federal holidays (not counting Sundays because those are considered "days of rest" for the government), and here they are:
-All Saint's Day
-New Year's Day
-International Worker's Day
-National Day (the American equivalent would be Independence Day)
-St Lucy's Day
Once you factor in New Years is also a day for the Virgin Mary, and Midsummer is also called St John's Day, that means 9 out of 11 recognized holidays are Christian and Christian only.
"But wait," the atheist I argued with said. "Swedes also celebrate some Viking holidays too and St Lucy's Day isn't on the federal holiday list so that shouldn't count."
Notice the slight of hand here: if the holiday is pagan but not on the list, it should count but if it's Christian, it shouldn't count. That's not being honest in the slightest. Besides, he was wrong anyway: whereas some Swedes might celebrate Norse or Viking holidays, that's peanuts compared to how many Swedes celebrate St Lucy's Day.
When I confronted him with this error, what was his response?
He didn't give one: he was so tired of his ignorance showing, he just gave up...proof positive atheism makes one ignorant of your own nation.
MYTH: "Swedes as a whole don't care about religion."
TRUTH: That would come as a shock from the Swedish government who has made it mandatory for all children in pubic schools to learn about all religions. While only 1 in 10 Swedes thinks religion is important in daily life, around 7 out of 10 children are christened in the Church of Sweden, just over 5 out of 10 weddings take place in church and almost 9 out of 10 Swedes have Christian burials.
Geez, for a group who supposedly doesn't care about religion, their actions tell a different story.
MYTH: "The greater acceptance of atheism in Sweden means a brighter future."
TRUTH: Studies have shown as atheism goes up, birth rates go down, and if the birth rate goes down far enough, a nation will no longer have enough people to support itself.
That's because higher atheism goes hand in hand with making a false idol out of the state, which in turn means growing the state far past its proper role, which often means bloated government programs and handouts.
All these programs mean higher payments and taxes the citizens must pay, but what happens when there are not enough people paying into the system to support the programs? It's basic economics: when you spend more than what you take in, you run in the red. Because the people are so used to things being handed to them, and since the state can't force people to have more children or worse won't give up the insane notion of world overpopulation, then you have a huge gap of elderly people taking out of the system vs a smaller work force being into the system.
This has also taken its toll on Sweden in economic freedom terms. In 2010, the Fraser Institute came out with their Economic Freedom of the World Index; whereas the US tied with Switzerland for 4th place, Sweden sank all the way down to 30th place.
MYTH: "But atheism must be better. Sweden is consistently ranked as one of the happiest nations."
TRUTH" The notion of Sweden being a happy nation comes from studies which base happiness on how many handouts people are given, not on any psychological basis for happiness. Those come from things like being married (single people are not as happy as married people), going to church/finding religion, and giving of yourself. While I won't bash any money giving to worthy causes, it's impossible to ignore other nations just give away more than Sweden does.
So there you have it: there is no way Sweden can be used as an example of how atheism can work. All it does is show atheists don't know what they're talking about because atheists are idiots.