by Vesa Annala
Sweden, perhaps, is known as the most secular country in the world. According to one study covering 1986 to 2011, the average Swede attended a worship service or religious meeting seven times a year.1 These visits include funerals, weddings, baptismal services, and Christian holidays, for example. Another study showed that 23 percent of Swedes believed in God, 19 percent say they do not believe in God, while 53 percent believe in some kind of spirit or life force.2 All in all, Swedes take first place in admitting that they are atheists, agnostics, or nonbelievers. Next come people from Vietnam, Denmark, and Norway.3
Often described as “postmodern,” the secular individual is known as an individual who has a strong, individualist outlook on life. Characterized by gadgetry, the postmodern has and would like even more gadgets. Often people say that the postmodern individual no longer believes in the “big stories” we find in the various religious books (including the Bible). This mentality has led many to throw the major Bible stories into the “historian’s hotchpotch,” as the former archbishop of Sweden, K. G. Hammar, is credited to have once expressed.