One of my goals for this coming week is to get the book piles sorted and put away. I’m one of those academics: if you visited my house right now, probably the first thing you’d notice is a few dozen piles of books stacked up on the floor of the living room. Some I’ve read and just need to shelve properly; some I’ve glanced over with amusement and will be adding to my growing collection of creationist literature; and some will put ready to hand because they’re on my list of books I should get read this summer. One in that last category is Phil Zuckerman’s Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us about Contentment(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). I guess I’ll have to sort it somewhere towards the top of that pile, now that I’ve seen a review by a Dane that says it actually gets the godless Scandinavian culture right. Apparently, what Zuckerman finds noteworthy also says a lot about American culture.
Scandinavia isn’t quite perfect yet, though. Here’s a story of a Norwegian doctor who prescribed Christianity for depressed patients (google translation). A few kooks still slip through, but the culture as a whole seems to regard that doctor as a nut — here in the US we’d be having sober, serious discussions in the opinion pages of our newspapers about how maybe he was doing something positive.