Posts Tagged “areligious”

Smile!Is it possible that the least religious countries in the world, are the happiest? Is there some relationship between irreligion and well-being? That’s the possible conclusion of a study I read about recently on the Religion News Blog (WebCite cached article):

Yahoo travel produced a piece on the world’s happiest countries [cached] citing data from a Gallup poll that looked at responses from 155 countries between 2005 and 2009. …

The nations taking the top spots include: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands. This might not come as a surprise to many who have been to these nations. What is surprising, however, is that three of these five nations are among the top 10 least religious nations [cached] in the world (also from Gallup).

Indeed, Sweden, Denmark and Norway came in at second, third, and fourth, respectively. Only Estonia was less religious than these nations.

I’m never fond of making too much out of pollster’s measurements of happiness, which is extremely subjective, or of degrees of religiosity. Nor am I a fan of confusing correlation with causation. So I’m not saying this conclusion can be assumed absolutely true. I simply find it thought-provoking — especially in light of the fact that theists often insist that maximal happiness and well-being require belief in a deity, and that atheists/agnostics/skeptics are a collection of miserable wretches.

Hat tip: Utne Reader.

Photo credit: Silvain de Munck.

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As I noted this past summer, the Republic of Ireland dragged itself kicking and screaming back into the Dark Ages, by outlawing blasphemy (this law took effect yesterday, January 1, 2010). A group of atheists in Ireland has decided to challenge this law by publishing a number of areligious and anti-religious quotations by a wide range of famous folks, as the (UK) Guardian reports:

Secular campaigners in the Irish Republic defied a strict new blasphemy law which came into force today by publishing a series of anti-religious quotations online and promising to fight the legislation in court.

The new law, which was passed in July, means that blasphemy in Ireland is now a crime punishable with a fine of up to €25,000 (£22,000). …

… Atheist Ireland, a group that claims to represent the rights of atheists, responded to the new law by publishing 25 anti-religious quotations on its website, from figures including Richard Dawkins, Björk, Frank Zappa and the former Observer editor and Irish ex-minister Conor Cruise O’Brien.

Michael Nugent, the group’s chair, said that it would challenge the law through the courts if it were charged with blasphemy.

Of course, in order to raise a legal challenge to this law, the group would first have to be prosecuted for having broken it. It’s not yet clear if the Irish government intends to do that. We’ll have to see what results this has, if any.

Here is a link to the group’s own published quotations.

Hat tip: iReligion Forum on Delphi Forums.

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