Iceland builds temple to the Norse gods

In the once firmly Lutheran nation of Iceland, some residents are erecting a temple to the Norse gods. (more…)

Iceland will ban porn?

Iceland, a Lutheran country, steps up on an issue hardly anyone else is touching:

The government is considering introducing internet filters, such as those used to block China off form the worldwide web, in order to stop Icelanders downloading or viewing pornography on the internet.

The unprecedented censorship is justified by fears about damaging effects of the internet on children and women. (more…)

The little nation that defeated the Soviets

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Simo Häyhä, the “White Death”

A nation is defined by its history and its people’s common experiences.  That is especially true of nations whose citizens, for the most part, share a specific ethnic identity.  In Finland, where I spent some time recently, history is a living force.

For some 500 years, Finland was part of Sweden, a region in the East where members of the Finnish tribe dwelt.  Finland was Swedish during the 17th century when that kingdom was a world power, as the Swedish kings saved Lutheranism during the Thirty Years’ War and dominated much of Northern Europe.  To this day, Finland has a Swedish-speaking minority.

But then, in 1809, Sweden lost a war with Russia.  Finland, on Russia’s border, was ceded to the Czar, who made it an autonomous Grand Duchy under his authority.  So Finland went into its Russian phase, though it resisted assimilation.

When the Communist Revolution broke out, Finland saw its chance.  It declared independence and established itself as a free republic.  This happened in 1917, so that this year Finland is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

The Communists had their own problems in 1917 so basically let Finland go.  Some Finns, however, were on the Bolshevik side, so the new nation fought a bloody civil war, with the “Whites” defeating the “Reds.”

But in 1939, Stalin resolved to take Finland back.  Soviet troops poured over the Finnish border.  In this conflict, known as the “Winter War,” the Soviets outnumbered the Finns three to one, with 30 times more airplanes and 100 times more tanks.

I was told that the president of Finland then was a devout Christian.  He called upon all Finns to pray.  And they did. (more…)

U.S. no longer makes the “free country” top 10 list

The United States is no longer in the top 10 of the world’s most free countries.  We are number 15.  However, despite our obesity rates and bad eating habits, we are number 1 when it comes to health.  We are #33 in safety and security.  The United States is #11 in economic strength and overall prosperity.

Scandinavian countries take most of the top spots, with Norway winning the top marks when all of the categories are considered, making it the most prosperous of nations.  All of this is according to the Legatum Prosperity Index.  See details after the jump. (more…)

Scientific outrage!

A paper on the workings of the human hand published in a scientific journal uses the term “creator” and “design,” sparking sputtering outrage and calls for boycotting the publication.

The authors, most of whom are Chinese, say the apparent reference to Intelligent Design was a mistake due to a mistranslation.  Chinese writing does tend to be much more lyrical and metaphorical than the generally dull Western academic prose.

But it’s interesting how so many scientists are set off by words and are so eager to silence people. They do not want themselves to be exposed to anything incompatible with their materialistic worldview, not allowing anything to the contrary to be so much as uttered.  Even the news account from a British publication, excerpted after the jump, feels that it must refer to Intelligent Design as a “pseudo-science.” (more…)

C.S. Lewis, secret agent?

The discovery of a recording of a lecture by C. S. Lewis has connected him to the British Secret Service during World War II. (more…)

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