Secular Europe and loneliness

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Denmark has the highest proportion of single-dwellers, at 24%.[1]

Compared to deeply religious cultures where an extended family and a sense of community often exists, secular countries are often lonelier societies.

A BBC article entitled Is Modern life making us more lonely? declared:

EU figures suggest that, in the UK as a whole, 13% of the population lives alone. Denmark has the highest proportion of single-dwellers, at 24%. In Germany, Finland and Sweden, that number is just below 20%.

The figures suggest that in southern Europe people are less inclined to live alone. In Greece, Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria and Romania, that amounts to fewer than 10% of people, with Malta having the lowest rate at about 7%.[2]

A Eurobarometer poll in 2010 reported that 37% of UK citizens "believed there is a God", 33% believe there is "some sort of spirit or life force" and 25% answered "I don't believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force".[3]

In 2005, Denmark was ranked the third most atheistic country in the world and the website adherents.com reported that in 2005 43 - 80% of Danes are agnostics/atheists/non-believers in God.[4] Denmark has the highest rate of belief in evolution in the Western World.[5]

Germany is one of the most atheistic countries in the world and the website adherents.com reports that 41-49% of Germans are agnostics/atheists/non-believers in God.[6]

According to a 2010 Eurobarometer Poll, 33% of Finnish citizens "believe there is a God". (In 2005, the figure was 41%).[7]

Sweden is one of the most atheistic country in the world and the website adherents.com reported that in 2005 46 - 85% of Swedes were agnostics/atheists/non-believers in God.[8]

Indian anthropologist's commentary on lonelineness in atheistic Denmark

The Indian anthropologist Prakash Reddy found Denmark to be a neat and tidy, cozy little society, stiff, rigid and seemingly full of practical, down-to-earth but lonely people, isolated from each other and lacking much sense of religion. Compared to the teeming villages of India, a Danish hamlet seemed deserted and closed. To an Indian, accustomed to constant close contact in an extended family and community, Danish life was cold if not nonexistent.[9]

In 1993, Reuters reported:

Indian anthropologist Prakash Reddy has turned the tables on Western colleagues who put Third World cultures under the microscope.

Reddy, of Sri Venkateswara University at Tirupati in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, spent four months in the village of Hvilsager--population 104--on Denmark's Jutland peninsula.

His study, published in book form in English under the title "Danes are like that!" expresses dismay at the loneliness he found and the hope that India would not have to pay the same price for prosperity.

"The most fundamental question that should bother every social scientist in the East is: Is there no way of achieving development without sacrificing the human values and the way of life cherished by homo sapiens?" he asked....

Reddy said he found a neat and tidy, cozy little society, stiff, rigid and seemingly full of practical, down-to-earth but lonely people, isolated from each other and lacking much sense of religion.

Compared to the teeming villages of India, the Danish hamlet seemed deserted and closed. To an Indian, accustomed to constant close contact in an extended family and community, Danish life was cold if not nonexistent, Reddy said.

"Coming from an Indian village, I was used to seeing people in the streets . . . but here in Denmark not a single soul was sighted and, except for the sound of a passing automobile, absolute silence prevailed," Reddy wrote.[10]

1.5 million elderly English men are expected to suffer from loneliness by 2030.[11]

England and loneliness

See also: England and loneliness

In October 2014, The Guardian reported:

The number of men over the age of 50 suffering from severe loneliness in England will increase to more than 1 million in the next 15 years, research based on government statistics has revealed.

More than 700,000 older men already report feeling a high degree of loneliness and with the population of older men living alone predicted to swell by 65% to 1.5 million by 2030, the impact of isolation will spread, according to advice and support charity, Independent Age...

“This matters because loneliness is actually a health risk,” said Janet Morrison, chief executive of Independent Age. “If you allow people to suffer from loneliness it has the equivalent impact as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is as big a risk as obesity.”[12]

Atheistic France and loneliness

Since 2010, the last time the survey was carried out, one million more French people are leading solitary lives, with an estimated five million or 12 percent of the nation’s population aged over 18 now living without any social relations through family, friends, work or their community.[13]

See also: Atheistic France and loneliness

France has the 8th highest rate of atheism in the world with 43 - 54% of the population being atheists/agnostics/non-believers in God.[14] In addition, France has the 4rth highest belief in evolution in the Western World.[15]

In 2013, The Locale FR reported:

Loneliness is on the march in France and it is no longer an affliction that only blights elderly people, a worrying new survey by the organization Fondation de France revealed on Wednesday.

Since 2010, the last time the survey was carried out, one million more French people are leading solitary lives, with an estimated five million or 12 percent of the nation’s population aged over 18 now living without any social relations through family, friends, work or their community.[16]

Godless Germany and loneliness

According to the German Center of Gerontology (DZA), over 20 percent of Germans over the age of 70 are in regular contact with only one person—or nobody. One in four receives a visit less than once a month from friends and acquaintances, and nearly one in 10 is not visited by anyone anymore. Many old people have no one who still addresses them by their first name or asks them how they are doing.[17]

See also: Atheistic Germany and loneliness

Germany is one of the most atheistic countries in the world and the website adherents.com reports that 41-49% of Germans are agnostics/atheists/non-believers in God.[18]

In 2013, Spiegal Online International reported:

More than 2 million men and women in Germany over the age of 80 live alone, and most of them ended up isolated when their spouses died. Experts anticipate that their numbers will grow considerably thanks to today's increasing life expectancy. A study by Germany's Allensbach Institute finds that senior citizens in Germany are healthier and fitter than at any other time in history. Nevertheless, it's also true that people over the age of 70 spend an average of 17 hours a day alone -- longer than any other demographic group.

According to the German Center of Gerontology (DZA), over 20 percent of Germans over the age of 70 are in regular contact with only one person -- or nobody. One in four receives a visit less than once a month from friends and acquaintances, and nearly one in 10 is not visited by anyone anymore. Many old people have no one who still addresses them by their first name or asks them how they are doing. For many of them, soap opera actors have become a kind of substitute family.[19]

Atheistic Sweden and loneliness

Sweden is one of the most atheistic countries in the world.[20] In 2009, 42 percent of Swedes reported being lonely often or sometimes.[21]

See also: Atheistic Sweden and loneliness

Sweden is one of the most atheistic country in the world and the website adherents.com reported that in 2005 46 - 85% of Swedes were agnostics/atheists/non-believers in God.[22]

In 2009, 42 percent of Swedes reported being lonely often or sometimes.[23]

The Local SE reported in 2009 concerning Sweden:

Women experienced greater loneliness – and younger people more than older individuals.

When people were asked for the factors contributing to their loneliness, younger people attributed their social isolation to personality traits, such as being uninteresting or deviant. Older people cited a lack of close relationships and transportation to get out of the house.

People in their thirties experienced the greatest degree of isolation. “It might be that it is then that you are expected to have paired off, gotten married and had children. Not following that time line might lead to a sense of exclusion,” Tornstam said.[24]

Irreligious Finland and loneliness

President Tarja Halonen has characterised loneliness as a real and serious problem faced by all age groups in Finland.[25]

See also: Irreligious Finland and loneliness

According to a 2010 Eurobarometer Poll, 33% of Finnish citizens "believe there is a God". (In 2005, the figure was 41%).[7]

In 2011, the Finnish news website reported:

President Tarja Halonen has characterised loneliness as a real and serious problem faced by all age groups in Finland. Her comments came in a TV address opening the annual Collective Responsibility fundraising campaign.

She reminded her audience of their responsibility for relatives and others. Dialogue was the answer, she said. The President called for efforts to combat both loneliness and marginalisation during periods of economic hardship...

Change in society had been so rapid that support measures designed to help young people had not kept pace with modern society. Halonen demanded that all means be applied to promote the well being of youth and to protect them from marginalisation and other risk factors.[26]

According to the paper Loneliness among elderly people in Finnish health care institutions:

Loneliness contributes to major health problems among the elderly people and its associates

are still in dispute and nurses have a limited means to alleviate it. When people get older and experience different kinds of losses they are exposed to the threat of loneliness that might lead to death. Earlier research findings suggest that about a third of elderly Finnish people suffer from loneliness in Finnish health care institutions. Current Finnish president noted that there are more than a million people over the age of 65 in the country. Polls indicate that one third of them report feelings of loneliness. He defined the term loneliness as “means that one feels excluded and that life lacks meaning”.[27]

Finland, decriminalization of bestiality and loneliness

See also: Irreligious Finland and bestiality and Irreligious Finland and loneliness

A prominent Finnish news website reported in July 2015:

Finland is indeed a last bastion of bestiality. Here a person can have sex with an animal as long as the animal is not harmed. The absence of legislation against bestiality makes the nation one of the last in the European Union not to institute a legal ban.

As the law currently stands in Finland, a person can engage in sexual intercourse with an animal as long as it cannot be proved that the animal has been treated too roughly or cruelly or that the act has caused unnecessary pain and suffering.

...Finland legalised bestiality in 1971, following in the footsteps of other European countries. It was thought that criminalising the act was not the right way to deal with people who are likely to suffer from mental illness or who are simply lonely.[28]

See also

External links

Notes

  1. Is Modern life making us more lonely, BBC, 8 April 2013
  2. Is Modern life making us more lonely, BBC, 8 April 2013
  3. Special Eurobarometer, biotechnology, p. 204". Fieldwork: Jan-Feb 2010.
  4. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  5. Photo: Evolution Less Accepted in U.S. Than Other Western Countries, Study Finds
  6. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Special Eurobarometer Biotechnology (PDF) (Fieldwork: January–February 2010;Publication: October 2010). Retrieved on 2012-10-17.
  8. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  9. India Anthropologist Finds Denmark Wanting : Research: He laments the loneliness and lack of human values in remote village and asks if prosperity can be achieved without such sacrifices, LA Times archives, June 20, 1993, CHRISTOPHER FOLLETT, REUTERS
  10. India Anthropologist Finds Denmark Wanting : Research: He laments the loneliness and lack of human values in remote village and asks if prosperity can be achieved without such sacrifices, LA Times archives, June 20, 1993|CHRISTOPHER FOLLETT | REUTERS
  11. [Number of severely lonely men over 50 set to rise to 1m in 15 years], The Guardian, Robert Booth,Sunday 12 October 2014 19.01 EDT
  12. [Number of severely lonely men over 50 set to rise to 1m in 15 years], The Guardian, Robert Booth,Sunday 12 October 2014 19.01 EDT
  13. More and more French living lonely lives, The Local FR, Published: 26 Jun 2013 15:44 GMT+02:00
  14. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  15. Photo: Evolution Less Accepted in U.S. Than Other Western Countries, Study Finds
  16. More and more French living lonely lives, The Local FR, Published: 26 Jun 2013 15:44 GMT+02:00
  17. Alone by the Millions: Isolation Crisis Threatens German Seniors By Guido Kleinhubbert and Antje Windmann
  18. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  19. Alone by the Millions: Isolation Crisis Threatens German Seniors By Guido Kleinhubbert and Antje Windmann
  20. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  21. Fewer Swedes feeling lonely: study, Published: 23 Jun 2009 08:00 GMT+02:00
  22. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  23. Fewer Swedes feeling lonely: study, Published: 23 Jun 2009 08:00 GMT+02:00
  24. Fewer Swedes feeling lonely: study, Published: 23 Jun 2009 08:00 GMT+02:00
  25. President Halonen: "Loneliness a Real Problem in Finland", News 6.2.2011 14:17 | updated 6.6.2012 7:49
  26. President Halonen: "Loneliness a Real Problem in Finland", News 6.2.2011 14:17 | updated 6.6.2012 7:49
  27. Loneliness among elderly people in Finnish health care institutions, (Systematic Literature Review), Abot-Okelo, Milka
  28. Yes, in Finland you can have sex with your pet, July 14, 2015