Norway church leaders don’t believe in Bible

More than three quarters of Norway’s Christian leaders believe the creation story depicted in the Bible to be little more than a fairy tale, according to a new survey.

Norway church leaders don't believe in Bible
Bishop Halvor Nordhaug's consecration in 2009 (Photo: Marit Hommedal/Scanpix)

Just 15.8 percent of respondents said they considered the creation story to be a historical fact, while 8.8 percent said there was an “other” explanation.

More than half of the 58 priests and pastors surveyed by Christian newspaper Vårt Land considered the tale of Noah’s Ark to be grounded in historical fact.

17.2 percent said they didn’t believe in the story of the deluge and the giant vessel, while 20.7 percent agreed that “there are several indications that there was a great flood, but one can ask questions about the ark and Noah.”

Half of the respondents said they believed in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in some form, while a third said they did not lend any credence to the nineteenth century biologist’s explanatory model.

Siding with those who doubted the literal veracity of the Bible was the Lutheran Bishop of Bjørgvin, Halvor Nordhaug.

“In my view, some people make things incredibly difficult for themselves and for others when they produce a contradiction between the Biblical creation narrative and modern research findings. It’s completely unnecessary and it complicates faith,” he said.

Newspaper Vårt Land approached 200 Christian leaders for their views on the bible but only received responses from 58 people.

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Norway’s conservative parties yet to agree on government partnership

The leaders of Norway’s four conservative parties, who must work together to ensure a parliamentary majority during Erna Solberg’s second term as PM, were unable to come to agreement after a meeting on Thursday.

Norway’s conservative parties yet to agree on government partnership
Party leaders (from left) Siv Jensen, Erna Solberg, Trine Skei Grande and Knut Aril Hareide at the Prime Minister’s residence. Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix

The two-hour meeting, which took place at the Prime Minister’s residence, did not bring any definite solution to the problem – particularly that of the role to be played by the Christian Democrats, who have stated they will not govern with the populist Progress Party, the furthest right of the four.

As well as Solberg, Progress leader Siv Jensen, the Liberals’ Trine Skei Grande and Knut Arild Hareide of the Christian Democrats (KrF) were present at the meeting.

“We have had good political discussions, and we agreed to meet again next week. That means that we have not reached any final decisions,” Hareide told NRK.

The KrF leader is scheduled to meet with the national leadership of his party on Friday.

“I would like to bring the party leadership into this discussion, so it is natural for me to have a meeting with them. The signals I received from the meeting tonight will be taken into that [party leadership] meeting,” he told NRK on Thursday.

Hareide has stated on several occasions that he neither wishes to go into a coalition government nor provide parliamentary support for a government that includes the Progress Party – an issue that was raised during Thursday’s meeting.

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“It is natural for this type of question to be raised. But regardless of what happens, there is reason for us to have a political discussion,” Hareide said.

The parties will now meet again next week, with leading members as well as party heads present, writes NRK.

Prior to the meeting, Liberal leader Grande told the broadcaster that she had not yet given up hope of establishing a government with all four parties.

She repeated that sentiment following the meeting.

“I have not given up hope yet. We are not in any kind of rush to reach our goal, so we will sit down and continue discussions,” Grande said.

Jensen called the prospect of a government without KrF “unrealistic”, but added that she believed a support party-system in which not all parties were involved in the coalition was also a viable option.

“We are open to sitting down with the Liberals and KrF and finding a solution with them,” Jensen said.

Although the four parties are still divided on the form the government will take, they all continue to back Solberg as prime minister.

“We have spoken about where the various parties stand and the challenges facing Norway,” the PM told NRK following the meeting.

“We have time on our side. The current government will stay in place until we have a new government or a new type of partnership. We must collaborate on a new budget in parliament and will find good solutions,” she said.

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