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Religion in Denmark

American sociologist Phil Zuckerman discusses religion and secularism in Denmark.
(tip to Mykl)



Am I the only one thinking... "Wow, what an intelligent, lively yet polite and articulate interview?

(and why aren't more of ours like that?)"


Excellent point! Bill O'Reilly and the entire Fox News team could really learn a thing or two from this interview.

Hey Norm, the new Mr Deity is out! With a twist! This needs to be on the OGM front page ASAP!

That thing is my worst enemy.

dude, you don't like mr. deity? i am thanking andyo for doing what i couldn't- convincing norm to just post the embedded videos. this is one of the best episodes yet, and this is it's natural home. (too much static and mutual backslapping over at pharyngula). i is happy.

I was referring to the banana.

so the jewish sociologist says the danes and swedes are almost as smart as the jews in their approach to their own religion. this must be very edifying for you, norm. :)

He was talking about most American Jews. I rather like the religious views of Jews like Woody Allen and Lewis Black.

i'm not sure you get it. he was saying most american jews, like most danes and swedes, are secular (with a slice of ritual on the side) and it works great.

allen and black are purely secular- in a purely jewish way.

and frank, and franken, and stewart, and chomsky and harris and half the columnists he posts- the list of norm's (and my) heroes who "happen" to be secular jews is pretty astounding.

i didn't mention hitchens because of 2 things: he didn't know he was jewish until late in life, and the iraq war thing, which makes him questionable as a "hero". but not to me. i finally decided, after an initial strong dislike that he's ok in his sodden intellectual way. he's the closest we have to a politically and historically savvy oscar wilde.

he didn't know he was jewish until late in life

I love it, you have to know you're jewish or it doesn't count.

still counts.

Hitchens also has the drunken arrogance thing.

you don't like the drunken arrogance thing? i guess you don't like writers in general, then.

bill maher, same problems. but still a jew.

Catholic - don't let the name fool you.

if you have a jewish mother you are and always will be jewish as far as the jews are concerned, and bill does.

he can't be considered catholic since he doesn't practice any religion. you can't be a secular catholic.

actually i don't mean to pontificate :) about what makes a catholic to the catholics- it's not really my area, obviously. maybe you CAN be a secular catholic.

I don't believe I hear other religions referring to themselves in that way. At least not often. It's more about Jewish people that see themselves as part of a people based on religion, while most folks see themselves as a people based on country of origin. So there are secular Americans but a christian ceases to be a christian when they are secular.

All seems silly to me.

while most folks see themselves as a people based on country of origin.

jews, too, see themselves as a people based on country of origin. and that country is...(repeat after me)...

palestine, that's right kids. :)

So Bill's Ma was Jewish, thus Hitler would have made sure Maher ended up in Aushwitz. Bill was raised Catholic, so he could get confirmed and a bah mitzvah then.

R7 is right in that you hear Jews refer to themselves as secular Jews, but you rarely hear others refer to themselves in such a way. Looking back at my childhood, we were mostly secular Christians, celebrating the holidays - sometimes even at church! Remarriages changed all that and I had to go to Sunday school - zounds! (exclamation chosen on purpose, yes.) I think all that did was help to push my brothers and me off to the sidelines more. Still, my relatives don't use that combination of terms - secular + christian. It doesn't jibe with them.

Hitler would have made sure Maher ended up in Aushwitz

actually hitlers criteria for aushwitz, like the state of israel's for it's "law of return", was one jewish grandparent of either sex.the similarity is intentional and has not been un-remarked-upon, especially by religious jews who, again, insist one's mother be jewish in order for one to qualify for the "honor" of jewishness.

also mahers surname, like my own is one of those of german origin which are shared by jews and non-jews. so bill, as the offspring of a (non-jewish) german and a jew is, umm, sort of like barack obama in a certain way if you're interested in these sorts of things. (i am.)

one jewish grandparent of either

I heard that Adolphe Hitler had Jewish relatives - an aunt an uncle. Is this true? Anyway, they weren't his grandparents.

no idea if it's true. "they" are saying similar things about ahmadinijad now. i'm guessing this is because what are universally known as "self-hating jews" are also universally known as being unholy terrors in general. (i'm thinking of norman finklestein here).

The perfect reply to the ending comment ("Only God knows") would've been "Yeah, but only for those that believe".

While I certainly agree with buddy's overall goal here (i.e., that it would benefit more American's and people in general to hear that belief in God does not equal social prosperity and vice versa), his findings are really nothing new in the sociology of religion. David Martin, Rodney Stark, Peter Berger, and Steve Bruce (among others) have been writing about this for decades. What is annoying is how buddy polarizes secularization in Denmark vs. the US. In Denmark they practice a privatized, 'healthy' form of religion, whereas in the US its all evangelicals. How in the hell does the interviewer let such a crass generalization like that pass without comment? It doesn't undermine his point of course, but reveals a certain lack of depth in his analysis. I'm sure the many "religion light" Americans would strongly protest.


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