Report on Icelandic religious belief “literally” misleading


continental-fault-line-iceland-2013

The Washington Post reports under the headline, “In this country, literally no young Christians believe that God created the Earth.” The country is Iceland.

So is it “literally” true? God by any standard conceptual defintion just is the creator of the entire physical universe, which includes the Earth. So whether a Christian, or any theist for that matter, believes this through young earth creationism, old earth creationism, theistic evolution/evolutionary creationism, intelligent design, natural theology, or by logical inferences after reading the back of a cereal box, she believes indeed that God created the Earth. For any theist, the Earth did not get the way it is today without at least two means. First, God’s immediate, creative act that brought the physical world into being out of literally nothing, and second, God’s sovereign supervision over ordinary physical means, attributed by virtually everyone to what are called the laws of nature.

This piece of reporting shows how major media can drastically downplay what Christians actually think while in pursuit of the sexy narrative that traditional religious belief is in dramatic decline.

Exemplifying the misleading pull of this narrative, one graphic charts the “Rise of atheism in Iceland,” but the two mutually exclusive responses plotted are “Religious Believers” and “Non-religious,” where the latter includes atheists and non-religious people. Like a cheap off-brand hot dog vendor, some editor has allowed this chart to puff up “atheism” with filler that includes agnostics and non-religious people. This probably counts many spiritual theists who for whatever reason don’t self-identify with a religious tradition.

So all told, don’t believe a headline when it says “literally” no young Icelanders believe in creation.

Photo credit: travfotos via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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About Lewis W
I earned an M.A. in Christian apologetics at Biola University, and occasionally write on ethics, truth, science and politics.

2 Responses to Report on Icelandic religious belief “literally” misleading

  1. Kevin says:

    Hi Lewis.

    There’s been plenty of discussion about this one, ‘out there’. It is the usual simplistic atheist meme we’ve all come to expect. Here’s some additional links which may be helpful:

    http://www.snopes.com/iceland-meme/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Iceland#Eurobarometer_Poll_2010

    http://www.iceland.is/the-big-picture/quick-facts

    and, of course…

    http://px.hagstofa.is/pxen/pxweb/en/Samfelag/Samfelag__menning__5_trufelog/MAN10001.px

    Bests, Kevin

    • I’ve been tracking some of that, too. In American debates, Iceland is becoming the new Sweden–the incomensurate Scandanavian utopia by which to assault traditional social mores.

      Thanks for these extras, Kevin!

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