Dispatch #22 – Religion.

I AM a representative of the former British Empire and the current Commonwealth of Nations; I am the descendant of Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and the son of an RAF pilot. I did not graduate with First Class honours from Cambridge University and since then have not entered the Foreign Office’s prestigious diplomatic corps.

The Northern Plights’ documents my assessment of Sweden for the possibility of any future conquests which the British Government’s War Cabinet is not considering.

I’ve gone for many a brisk Sunday morning constitutional through a plethora of European ‘centrum’ city streets; I have soiled the soles of my brogues as I wade through Saturday eve’s fallout of discarded kebab, burger, falafel, gyros and langos wrappers while I try and enjoy the tranquil silence – the calm AFTER the debauched storm.

But nowhere – NOWHERE – have I experienced a hush as hushed as a Swedish Sunday Silence. In most countries the Sabbath’s air is, at the very least, punctuated by the subdued nagging of a middle-aged woman trying to motivate her browbeaten husband, or her shrill, curt instruction to her children – her message is clear:

“We’re going to be late for Church.”

But Sweden, it seems, is a godless country. One particular Sunday morning ramble took me to the foot of the 105-metre spire of St Petri, a staggering goliath of a medieval church – architecturally it is to Sweden’s Malmö what the Notre Dame is to France’s Paris. Surely here my monocled-eye would manage to spy the usual dour expression so often frozen onto anyone wearing their Sunday’s finest.

But no. No incessant clattering of pealing bells, no organ grinding out its deathly dirge, no hushed chatter of a deluded congregation – zip, absolutely nothing. As it turned out the church in question was not just ‘out of service’, it was shut – permanently. Sure the building still looms like the spectre of Biblical-bullying bygone times, but with my ear trumpet to the studded oak door I can reveal that inside it was as quiet as a church mouse, in fact it was quieter, because the church mouse has had to relocate to find a new source of broken Communion breadcrumbs – my guess is that the mouse may now have starved to death.

Atheism may be a step forward for critical thinking, but it is a tad of a blow to Empire Builders like my good self.

Gone are the days when the British Empire could waltz into a country, shoot a few savages locals and scare the bejesus out of the rest with demonic tales of fire and brimstone. We could then distract them with Empire-endorsed Bible classes; while they lived in fear of plagues of locusts we could strip their land bare like a plague of, well, like a plague of locusts. We WERE better off and they THOUGHT were better off; everyone was a winner…sort of.

Things were so much easier before the scheming likes of Charles Darwin and his so-called proof there was no God foiled our modus operandi. What ‘in God’s name’ are we to do now?

At last count, 52% of Europeans believed there was a God and did things like ‘pray’ rather than ‘go to a doctor’. Turkey, which must be very poorly by now, topped the believers chart with 95% of the Ottomans worshipping some God or other, but in fighting fit Sweden only 23% confess to a belief in God. The Church of Sweden has 6,664,064 members, of which only 2% regularly graze their knees on a prayer mat.

That’s a whole lot of people we need to distract before we plumb the depths of their reindeer stocks.

Advice to War Cabinet: Pray for a miracle.

Religion depresses me; I am off for a drink, now who serves Holy Spirits around here?

Toodle pip,

ATTENTION BOTH THE FOREIGN OFFICE AND EMPIREES: On the Seventh Day God rested, but later on in the evening he got bored and created The Dippylomat esq and instructed him to teach ‘manners maketh man.

Ergo, I hereby cordially invite you to subscribe to these Dispatches.

About The Dippylomat, Esq.

A connoisseur, a charmer and a bit of a cad.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Culture, Ex pats, Gothenburg, history, Humour, Religion, Stockholm, Sweden, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Dispatch #22 – Religion.

  1. Carrie says:

    My dear chap, are you telling me that if one was walking – or in my case wobbling – down a street in Sweden, one would be free from a happy clapper, bible basher and telling one that if one prays for a miracle one would become ‘normal’? 😮

    Whenever ‘those types’ 😦 comes up to one, one usually replies, ‘The great almighty God made one the way one is!  So, please kindly pxxs off before one put one’s crutch (the one you walk with!) up where the sun don’t shine! Good day’. :p They broke the mode when God made me. (Well, the mode was already fxxxed in the first place! Haha!) 😉

    My God bless you and your blog, Mr Dippyolmat. 😉

  2. plantera7 says:

    Personally, I am sold on living in Sweden, but it is probably too hard to get there being an American. Not to mention, I don’e speak the lingo. So, I will return to my home of the USA next year and hope “to God” (ha ha) that I end up in a “blue” state so I can carry on with my own life without someone telling me I am a bad Chrisitan. Of course, I am a bad Christian; I’m an Atheist. religion depresses me as well. And Sweden sounds like a great place to live. Great post.

    • How very kind of you to say so! Where might I ask are you now?

      Trust me, you do not need to know the lingo to live here, most people speak English with an American accent thanks to the constant re-runs of Friends! I think I wrote a Dispatch about it further down, perhaps number 4 or 5.

      ~The Dippylomat esq.

  3. plantera7 says:

    I live in England right now where most people keep their religion to themselves; for which I am appreciative. Ah Friends, my wife likes that show. That was on television for a long time. American does have some good television although still a bit on the conservative side compared to many European countries. I like the liberal-minded television England has to offer.

    You commented on A Metal State of Mind about Katatonia. I appreciate your visit. I like your writing style and will be checking back regularly. I like the metal scene from Sweden and other Scandinavian countries.

  4. Rebekah says:

    Faith, would be a wonderful thing, if not religion got in the way.

    *a Swedish expat in the diaspora*

    I picked up my American accent l o n g before Friends came along, but I’ve tried to penetrate the North American culture by watching Seinfeld.

    As far as I know, our Swedish churches aren’t turned into condos.

    • Seinfeld is just one step away from Curb Your Enthusiasm, and once there you are home dry 🙂

      Thanks for jaunting by.

      ~The Dippylomat esq.

      • Rebekah says:

        Curb Your Enthusiasm just doesn’t do it for me. Can hardly believe that he [Larry David], was a producer of the Seinfeld show. After having watched probably each episode, there’s almost not one situation in life, where not a Seinfeldian expression applies.

        I might swing by some more … Cheerio!

  5. The key to making the step from Seinfedl to Curb..is to know that ‘George’ is just acting out Larry David’s life and lines..I found it a sloppy start, but buy season 3 I was hooked 🙂

  6. plantera7 says:

    Are you the master of your domain? 😉

  7. I am in Malmö, been here for just over a year.

  8. Oh, do let me know..we can do fika perhaps?

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