Monday, December 10   Sign in or Register
Evangelical Focus
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud

Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.

Do the media in your country usually portray evangelical Christians accurately?



United Nations 2018 Hapiness Report

Nordic nations top the list of “happiest countries”

Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and three other European countries are in the top-10. What should Christian mission look like in such countries?

AUTHOR Evangelical Focus GENEVA 16 MARCH 2018 10:07 h GMT+1
A view of Helsinkin, in Finland. / Timo Newton Sims (Flickr, CC)

The best places to live in the world, according to a United Nations report, are in the north of Europe.

The 2018 Happiness Report says Finland is the best country of the 156 countries analysed. They were ranked according to their GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption.

Other Northern European countries are right behind: Norway (2), Denmark (3), Iceland (4) . Fellow European nations Switzerland and the Netherlands are next, and Sweden (10) also makes the list.

The only non-European countries to make the top-10 list are Canada (7), New Zealand (8), and Australia (10).

For the first time, the report ranked the happiness of foreign-born immigrants in 117 countries, with Finland scoring double-gold as “home to the world’s happiest immigrants”. According to the BBC, Finland has a population of around 5.5 million people, counting some 300,000 foreigners in 2016.


Happiest and least happy countries, according to the UN report. / Source: BBC

Among the countries that most improved their scores this year are Bulgaria and Latvia.



Feeling happy at all costs has become a business”, psychologist Daniel Sazo explains. Big companies “sell happiness through products and have turned the citizen into a consumer who never has enough”.

The reality is that most people are “happy at certain times” but “many are never satisfied in the long term”. According to Sazo, “the search for happiness can turn into an escapist solution”, because some difficult situations “could help us mature if we were not trying to avoide them”.



This pursuit of happiness has even led a group of six countries to form a “Coalition for Happiness” earlier this year. The aim, it was said, was to make the “happiness” of citizens “one of the objectives of the governments”.

United Arab Emirates and Kazakhstan are two of the members of the coalition. Both countries are known for their heavy restrictions of freedom of speech and religious freedom and appear in the Open Doors World Watch List 2018 of countries where is most difficult to be a Christian.

The other countries of this group are Mexico, Costa Rica, Portugal and Slovenia. Costa Rica is the one that scores highest in UN report list (13).



Most of the countries leading the UN report have a Protestant Christian background. But only a minority of citizens are practising Christians.

“One of the challenges for mission in Nordic context is to be able to motivate curiosity about Christianity as well as to be able to go beyond the lack of interest or negative attitudes”, theologian Vija Herefoss said in an article.

“Most Norwegians (up to 80% of the population) are members of the Lutheran church and therefore consider themselves Christians, but less than 10% actually attend church services or are actively engaged in the life of the local congregation”, she says. The question, then, is: “What does it mean to be a Christian?”

Responding to this question is a key to Christian mission in places were people already describe themselves as “happy”.




    If you want to comment, or


YOUR ARE AT: - - Nordic nations top the list of “happiest countries”
The Impact of the Reformation on the social  reforms The Impact of the Reformation on the social reforms

David Hilborn, Principal, St. John's College, explains how has the Reformation view of justification led to social and political reforms.

Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

Bulgaria: Evangelicals ask government to protect religious minorities Bulgaria: Evangelicals ask government to protect religious minorities

Christians rallied in Sofia on November 18 to defend their rights. It is the second Sunday of peaceful demonstrations against a new religion draft law that could severely restrict religious freedom and rights of minority faith confessions.

Photos: #WalkForFreedom Photos: #WalkForFreedom

Abolitionists marched through 400 cities in 51 countries. Pictures from Valencia (Spain), October 20.

Photos: Reaching people with disabilities Photos: Reaching people with disabilities

Seminars, an arts exhibition, discussion and testimonies. The European Disability Network met in Tallinn.

Photos: Hope for Europe Photos: Hope for Europe

Unity in Diversity is the theme of the conference. Representatives of Evangelical Alliances and many other church leaders gathered in Tallinn (Estonia).

Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement” Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement”

“We have to understand the times in which we live, and have discernment”, says Doctor Peter J. Saunders.

The Manzanas case The Manzanas case

A short documentary about how retired pastors and widows of an evangelical denomination in Spain fight a legal battle for their pensions after the favourable ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.

‘Mediterráneo’ ‘Mediterráneo’

“Something will change if you have hunger and thirst for justice”, sings Spanish artist Eva Betoret in a song about the refugee crisis.

Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube

EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.