Saturday, November 7, 2009

With or Without Him

I'm reading a book called "Society without God" by Phil Zuckerman. It's about how moral, ethical, and productive society can exist without God or religion. It's basically a case-study of Denmark and Sweden, the two most "godless" societies by Zuckerman's standard. Two countries where atheism is the norm and God has mostly been forgotten, Denmak and Sweden are filled with people who are interested in social justice, quiet lives, and a healthy environment.

I'm only barely into the book so far, but what I find interesting is not the stats and stories. I find it perfectly believable that countries without God (which are certainly not truly without God, He's there whether acknowledged or not!) can be peaceful and productive, not full of crime and debauchery. Some of the stats are interesting, some not so much. But I think the curious thing is his obvious reaction, a total knee-jerk... someone or some situation ticked him off. Enough to move away in search of utopian atheistic society. He constantly quotes Pat Roberston and other such talking heads as the voice of evangelicals who claim such things as destruction to godless places and self-implosion of societies who do not base themselves on Biblical rules, and claims that events like 9/11 were God's wrath on an American society that is falling away.

Why is it that the voices recognized by the non-christian world as christian are those that are a bit nutty and not so Jesus-like? I don't think we (Christ-followers who are willing to take 1 Thess 4:11 as a verse that at least slightly applies to us all!) should have louder voices of dissent, because no one should yell that loud, but perhaps there could just be enough other voices to disassociate that mess with Jesus. Maybe.


Nick K said...

I wonder how the author would respond to the question of whether these people have made the attainment of a God-less yet moral society their own god. Do they (or does the author) worship a society without God? If so, then its just a matter of whose object of worship is mightier. I have not read the book, nor am I familiar with the author. Does he address that?

Michael & Joe Joe said...

Not yet, but I haven't finished the book. The general impression I've had so far was that it wasn't necessarily the case for the Swedes and Danes, but I could say without a doubt that Zuckerman appeared to be worshipping this utopian godless society he sought out.

Mike C. said...

He (zuckerman) asks a good question. One thing I'm curious to know, though, is if he considers the Christian heritage of these two countries and how maybe some of the values of justice, etc., ultimately had their roots in this heritage.

Michael & Joe Joe said...

Good question Mike. I haven't finished the book, and to be honest, I got a little bored with it and put it down (he just kept harping on the same things over and over). He may make a note to that effect later, but didn't seem to be going that way. I'm not sure he recognizes the Christian heritage as impacting, but I'm ok with that. It's nice that he sees Christianity as having to do with belief in God more than culture. I wish Christians would do the same.