A Scandinavian Writes to Dr. Bart Ehrman

Hi Bart,

This time you are sounding like a redneck American (hope it has the same meaning there as it has here).
Anyhow, in Scandinavia, evangelical-Lutheran churches used to be the state churches and still are in most of the Scandinavian countries. Before the freedom of religion was granted some 100 years ago, practically every citizen belonged to this Christian denomination. The number of adherents has been falling ever since the freedom of religion was granted. However, evangelical-Lutheran is still the dominant fate here in Scandinavia.

The percentage of citizens belonging to the “state” churches is currently roughly the following in Scandinavia countries:

Sweden 65%
Denmark 80%
Norway 75%
Finland 75%

Plus there are all the other Christian denominations on top of these figures.

Hence, I would claim that it is nonsense that “in parts of Scandinavia — it is a dominant view that Jesus never existed”.

I would rather say that it is things like Zeitgeist: The Movie etc. (that are actually quite entertaining) that promotes such a worldviews. These ideas are distributed through US companies like Netflix. Do not get me wrong as I have nothing against them doing so but [a few people buy] such ideas here in Scandinavia.

Bart's Response

Interesting. Of course, belonging to a church and having certain beliefs is not the same thing. (Think of all those Brits who identify as Anglican!)

I got the informatoin from a poll that had been done, but I’m not sure I saved the specifics. And of course the poll could have been completely wrong!