Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA: Separate Religion from Schools

***Update***: AxeGrrl informed me that there’s an older video of Björn speaking about his atheistic beliefs:

Here’s Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA, talking about the Swedish atheist bus campaign and why the country shouldn’t be mixing religion with schools:

Without thinking too much about it at the time, when I wrote the lyrics for Abba’s songs the message I wished to convey tallies well with campaigns launched recently by humanist organisations in the UK, US and Australia:

“There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

Earlier this month the Swedish Humanist Association (Humanisterna) launched a similar campaign. And in light of the growing influence of religious schools in Sweden, the campaign could hardly be more timely.

A religious education makes it more difficult for children to form their own views on the world. It puts obstacles in their way that not all are capable of overcoming.

The headmasters also put it to me that there were plenty of famous free-thinking, prominent figures who had gone to Christian schools. But really this just annihilates their own argument. These people learned to be free thinkers despite, not because of, their Christian schooling.

I’ve resisted, but maybe I’ll finally go see “Mamma Mia” now…

(Thanks to Tony for the link!)

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    “One oughtn’t have to say one is an atheist. It should be the other way round…One ought not to say: ‘I have no god.’ On the contrary, it’s those who have one who have to say ‘I have a god.’” What excellent advice. As atheists we have nothing to justify for our lack of beliefs. It is those who have made a decision to believe in gods who have a position to defend, not us.

  • Nick L

    I’ve often wondered why I like ABBA…

    I’d recommend just going to Mamma Mia and enjoying it. It’s just pure fun. Don’t take the story line too seriously. :)

  • CybrgnX

    Don’t go to MammaMia for the singing or acting. But the words to the ABBA songs fit the plot line very well. Being an ABBA fan I was disappointed with the singing quality but I like the movie just because the song interpretations where interesting.

  • Bacopa

    If you really want a great retro musical experience go seeLove, Janis. Very good show here in Houston last year. It had to be good since Janis Joplin’s family lives around here.

    Bjorn seems wise.

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  • http://lena-anderssonhubbard.blogspot.com/ Lena Hubbard

    Björn Ulveaus, who I know to be a very intelligent, smart individual is using his name and influence to come against faith based schools in Sweden. He questions why tax payer’s money should be used. I’m a Christian and can only speak for Christians; first of all, Christians are tax payers like everybody else and are great contributors to our society. They are hard working with ethics way beyond average. They should have the same right to give their children an education where they feel true values are taught. I also know that in most cases the tax funded part is not sufficient to run Christian schools, and parents are paying extra money to keep their children there. They are also dedicated to volunteer to take care of the facilities, doing all the cleaning and general maintenance when needed.
    I quote Björn Ulveaus : -“ Freedom from indoctrination ought to be a basic human right for all children.”
    One of the reasons Christian parents don’t want their children in public schools is that they don’t want them to be indoctrinated by an atheistic, humanistic, God denying society. I don’t think it’s a human right to be taught that there is no God.
    There is no neutral ground, even if that’s a very popular “Swedish” thought. You are either for or against something. Jesus says in Matthew 12:30: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”
    Christian children are mocked and ridiculed by both teachers and their peers in Swedish schools today. You can’t speak up against for example evolution or the homosexual lifestyle without repercussions. Evolution is taught as being proven facts when in reality it is just a theory and a belief. The homosexual lifestyle is said to be just as natural as being heterosexual. This is completely contradictory to what the Bible says. (Homosexual groups are welcomed into our schools today encouraging children at a very sensitive age to try and see if they are homosexual.)
    We still have freedom of faith in Sweden. This means that you are allowed to have your faith, to live in accordance to your faith and to act and speak in accordance to your faith.
    As adults and parents we are called to teach and guide children and show them what is right from wrong. We are not here to present a smorgasbord where we show everything there is in this world and then ask them to choose. No, we are showing them the right way so they will have the best life they can have and thrive and prosper. What parent would want their child to try heroin just because it’s out there? In the same way there’s “poison” in the spiritual realm and in the intellectual realm with thought systems that lead directly to hell.
    Children don’t belong to the government. It’s the parent’s responsibility to give them what they need for this life.
    Someone once said, for to know a false $100 bill from an authentic $100 bill you don’t study all the false ones, you study the authentic one till you know it so well you can’t be fooled.
    Christian parents want their children to know who God is, how God fits into history and our society today, and to know that Jesus died for them, loves them and wants the very best for them. They will never get that in a public school today. I’m old enough to remember morning prayer in my public school and we had Christendom on the schedule my first years before the government took that away. That was back in the 50’s and early 60’s. It was a different time very much because of the still domineering Christian influence.

    The Swedish Humanist Association had this advertising campaign in Sweden, (and I’ve seen a similar one here in the US), saying: “God probably doesn’t exist: but still he affects you. Less than 20 percent of Swedes are religious. Yet God is holy in our country. We in the humanist movement think it is worth considering. There are many examples of how religion affects our lives – not only for believers but also for the seven million other people in Sweden. How religious are you? Do our web test!”
    This is so funny to me. “God probably doesn’t exist” So you’re not quite sure, are you? Well, let me tell you. The Christian faith is a living faith. It’s not a dead religion. It’s a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Every person that has ever received Jesus in his or her heart, knows that He is alive and real. We don’t believe in a dead thing. The word of God, the Bible has transformed us. Ever heard of metamorphous? This is it. This is a transformation that if you have not experienced it, there’s no way you can understand it. It’s spiritual and not intellectual. It doesn’t mean that you leave everything intellectual behind. It means that there are spiritual realities that cannot be comprehended by the intellect. Why? Because God is spirit and we can only receive His knowledge with our spirits. It will bear fruit in our intellect as well, but it doesn’t begin there. And it is for everybody to receive. Christian faith is not exclusive. Salvation is available for everybody. It cleanses our hearts and our minds.
    To want to take away God from the schools which has already happened in Sweden, and is happening in the US, is to take away everything good. Thank God for Christian schools. Here is what Christian faith stands for, and you want to take that away?
    Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, righteousness and wisdom.

  • http://shelter.nu/blog/ Alexander

    Lena Hubbard: “This is so funny to me. “God probably doesn’t exist” So you’re not quite sure, are you?”

    Um, no, this is you not comprehending basic epistemology, possibly philosophy, and definitely not science. The “probably” has all to do with the fact that you can’t prove a negative, ie. you cannot prove that something *doesn’t* exist, only things that do. We can’t prove the non-existence of your god, just like we cannot prove the non-existence of any other god, so we’re going by the evidence and project a probability. You see, we can only test realist claims, ie. your magical god’s influence on the world, his interaction with it. Why your god looks so much like non-existence is interesting, though. And the correlation between the projected non-existence of your god and the evidence for his existence is somewhat striking.

    You know what’s funny? When we say “probably”, we’re being humble and respectful, yet you manage to read it as “you’re not sure.” Now *that* is funny, in a “I feel sad for the future of humanity” kind of way.

  • John Scanlon FCD

    Lena H.:

    Every person that has ever received Jesus in his or her heart, knows that He is alive and real.

    ‘knows’ means ‘has a justified true belief’. So prove your Jesus ever lived anywhere(and then the rest), or shut up and stop lying about it.

    Also, I laughed at your phrase ‘with ethics way beyond average’ – yes, I was brought up Catholic, why do you ask? However, I rather suspect you are lying again, and actual data would find Xtians have exactly the same range of ethical competence as the rest of us.

    But it’s ‘not intellectual’ so you obviously don’t care if you make sense or if what you say has any truth value at all. Another lying liar for Jesus… film at 11!