Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer was prompted by last night’s post about the Dearborn T-Shirt Project to translate an article about what reading material Norwegians would be ashamed to be caught with. He notes:
If we are to believe the information presented in this article, approximately 82% of Norwegians would voluntarily put on a t-shirt displaying a verse from the Bible and wear it in public. I wouldn’t know the corresponding number for a hate-filled verse from the Quran, but my guess is that that figure would be a lot more modest.
Although I’m not a religious person, I find it strange that so many people consider it embarrassing to be caught leafing through a Bible. I have read both books and it wouldn’t bother me one iota to be seen reading any of them on a bus, train or in any other public area for that matter.
However, I would probably consider throwing myself in front of a moving train if I were ever forced to read the entire series of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’.
The translated article from Dagbladet:
There is only one type of prose that Norwegians find more embarrassing to be seen with in public than the Bible
And no, it’s not erotic-housewife literature.
The Bible was one of the bestselling books in Norway last year, but few want to be seen reading the book in public, writes Vårt Land [Our Country — Christian Newspaper].
According to a survey by Norstat carried out on behalf of the NRK-produced entertainment program, “Brille” [“Reading glasses”], 18 percent of the respondents stated that they would prefer not be seen reading a Bible in a public area.
Only the gossip magazine ‘Se og Hør’ [“Look and Listen”] is more embarrassing. 20 percent replied that they did not want to be caught with that particular magazine in public.
Many of the respondents admitted that it would be less embarrassing for them to be discovered reading the erotic-housewife novels “Fifty Shades of Grey”. Only 8 percent of the respondents answered that they would prefer not be caught immersed in the erotic world.
The author Hanne Ørstavik, who was involved with the translation of the new Bible, is surprised. She thought that Norwegians were more sophisticated when it comes to matters related to religion.
“Today society is more pluralistic, and thus has more voices. We are also much more exposed to the great religions of the world these days.” She is baffled as to why some consider it embarrassing to read the Bible.
“I guess it’s about how people want to be perceived. It is considered normal to promote oneself with smart phones and on Facebook, but apparently it’s a big no-no to be caught reading a Bible,” she says.
Personally she doesn’t have any problems being observed with a Bible in her hands.
“It wouldn’t even bother me being caught reading a porno magazine,” she says.
Anne Kristin Aasmundtveit from the Norwegian Bible Society believes that the survey reveals that there are many shy people in Norway.