Situation in Norway

Inge Frette (
Wed, 18 Mar 1998 16:05:13 +0100

Hello Chuck,

in Norway cirka 90 % of the Norwegian population are members of
Church of Norway (lutheran), a state church.
Typically 10-20% of the population in Norway would
consider themselves christian - most with a kind of evangelical commitment.
Half of those considering themselves as christian are members of free
churches. ( A small digression. When counting members, the islamic
community is the second greatest religious community in Norway - after
the Church of Norway. The pentecostals are third. )
Since the Church of Norway is a state church there is a great pressure
from liberals in the parliament and government to accomodate the teaching
about ethical and theological issues towards what ordinary Norwegians
think - which is rather liberal.

I am a lutheran and can speak only of what is going on in Church of Norway(CN),
but definitely it is in CN the important theological things are happening.
I guess no theological student preparing for minitry in CN are taught
a literal understanding of Genesis for example. The use of the historical
critical method is extensive - also at the evangelical faculty.
Thus I guess no pastor enters ministry with a belief that there are
dificulties between science and Genesis. Maybe one can find YEC thinking
in the free churches, but I don't know that. But I know there are many
very conservative christians in the free churches.

There is very little public debate about science/theology
issues in the secular and
christian media. There are still several christian academics that I know are
quite sceptical about for example evolution. The "leader" of them, a
professor in mathematics has actually published several papers in
Journal of Theoretical Biology about population genetics.

I studied physics at the University of Oslo, and there are surprisingly many
christian professors in physics at this university. But they seem to be
busy with physics and not that interested in the relationship between
theology and science. Natural science students are in general the greatest
fraction of students active in InterVarsity related activities.

In general I think that the interest in these questions are quite low,
since there is no strong focus on controversial issues.
I guess that
John Polkinghorne, Arthur Peacocke and Ian Barbour are read by people that
are interested in these questions. Have never seen a discussion about
"methodological naturalism" or about Intelligent design. So it doesn't
seem that important issues in USA reaches Norway that fast.

Compared to the impression I get from some on this listserver, we live
a very peaceful life here in Norway when it comes to questions about
science and theology.

Best regards from Inge

Olav Inge Frette Schlumberger Geco-Prakla
Voice : (+47) 6678 8061 (direct) Software Craft
: (+47) 6678 8000 (switchboard) Schlumberger House
Fax : (+47) 6678 8500 Solbraaveien 23
mailto: N-1370 Asker, NORWAY

> From Wed Mar 18 15:25 MET 1998
> From: "Vandergraaf, Chuck" <>
> To: "''" <>
> Cc:
> Subject: RE: Greeting
> Date: Wed, 18 Mar 1998 09:25:41 -0500
> X-Priority: 3
> MIME-Version: 1.0
> Inge,
> You bring up an interesting point. I would think, though, that most of
> the correspondents are located in the USA. Just out of curiosity, what
> is being discussed in Norway? What are the pressing issues "out there?"
> For that matter, what is the religious situation in Norway?
> Chuck Vandergraaf
> Pinawa, MB Canada