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Thousands descend on Stockholm for annual Jesus fest

TT/The Local · 23 May 2010, 12:57

Published: 23 May 2010 12:57 GMT+02:00

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With their weather-worn leather jackets, untended beards and multifarious tattoos, the bikers rolled into the capital with the sun in their faces and Jesus Christ on their mind. Patches on the backs of their jackets revealed the start point of their journey or the nature of their mission: Nights of Heaven Kronoberg, Streetchurch Bikers, The Salvation Riders.

Thomas Gustafsson parked his Honda CB1300 by the square at Kungsträdgården after riding up from Linköping. He had just come from a blessing ceremony at Rålambshov park where bikers and ex-criminals praised Jesus in the breaks between musical acts. After the ceremony, they mounted their bikes and thundered along the waterfront on Norr Mälarstrand.

“It was a powerful feeling,” said Gustafsson.

It was the third time the ”Jesus Manifestation” was held in Stockholm. Last year 18,000 people participated in the event, but organizers were expecting at least 25,000 this time round.

The day began with a series of smaller events across the city before the disparate strands converged on Kungsträdgarden, which was filled to capacity by 3pm.

The main service began when the bells of St. Jacob’s church marked the hour. Devout Christians from all over the country rejected evil and professed their belief in Jesus Christ and the creator with a resounding “ja”. Children paddled in the fountain while queues for the surrounding restaurants and café were seemingly endless in the blazing Whitsun Eve sun.

Thomas Gustafsson had ridden to Stockholm with his wife on the pillion. The pair were joined on their journey by forty other bikes from Östergötland. Having been involved from the start, they have watched the event grow.

“The way we see it at our church, things are starting to happen. More and more people are finding salvation and we actually believe there’s a revival afoot. You can feel it in the air; it’s so easy to talk about the gospel,” he said.

Story continues below…

“I don’t come from a Christian background. I was 43 when I found salvation and I really have a life before and after. This is fantastic.”

His message is emphasized by the sticker on his Honda: "I like bikes but Jesus is my life".

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:27 May 23, 2010 by Venturisection
LOLLLLLLLLLLL omg i thought this was the most non relgious country in the world what a fail for common sense and logic.
14:37 May 23, 2010 by Mr Gee
I'm not religious but like bikes (used to have one) and think it's better to join in than express scorn for these people.

There's nothing harmful going on, they're onl;y trying to be 'good' so let them pray /do whatever they do, forget your high principles and just join in the fun.
16:08 May 23, 2010 by Tall swede
Sweden is the most non religious country in the world. That doesnt mean that there are no religious people here. As long as the rules of society are based on something else than nonnegotiable rules in a old book religion usually dont cause any harm. And notice the total lack of signs that says that someone deserve to be killed. Thats civilization for ya! This is the result of tolerance, free speech and a will to live in peace. You dont see this in muslim countries!
17:09 May 23, 2010 by fikatid
As long as they don't impose their views on others, I'm fine with them. What I despise the most are those religious freaks that force upon their views on other people. That's how those terrorists come into existence all in the name of serving their gods. Some fundamentalist Christians spread hatred and intolerance. They are no difference from terrorists. They can believe whatever they want and I can NOT believe whatever I don't want to believe in. Why can't we all live in peace. Why do these religious people think that their god is THE ONLY ONE and people will burn in hell if they don't follow suit. I despise these blind followers of any religion.
17:59 May 23, 2010 by bichito
Library of the Senate of Argentina,

Buenos Aires, May 23th. 2010

Good morning: We are now celebrating the bicentennial of Argentina and the day after tomorrow will be the main act at "Basílica de Luján", the most christian act related with our independence.

I desagree with the readers who think that one country is more religious or not that the rest of the world because "religiosity" must be understood not for the many masses we have than for the concrete acts of misericordy you do at any moment.

In fact, Sweden, my beloved and up to now never known Sweden, has always given political assylum to all political persecuted not only from Argentina but also for the rest of the globe.

And in fact -again- God does not consider our creed for our thinking but for our action. Always in fact Sweden has been the main european country which gave their spiritual and material help to the argentinians who could escape from the last dictatorship (1975-1982).

Should christianity are not facts, what is christianity after all? God bless you for all you have done for us.

Contador Ricardo A. Zavi

Argentinian ID 11091375

18:59 May 23, 2010 by Jes
These are for the devil , not Jesus .
20:03 May 23, 2010 by ali_bin_umar
Had it been same people, same dress, same slogans but with the word "Muhammad Fest " would have been ringing bells every where. Anyways greetings to everyone on "Jesus Fest"..
20:17 May 23, 2010 by diegoveggie
jesus fest? more like jesus freaks
20:49 May 23, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
Notice: no rioting, no throwing bottles/bricks/excrement at police....hmmm

22:13 May 23, 2010 by peropaco
Nice to see a peaceful religious gathering for a change...No death chants; no angry mob... Just a great heaps of law abiding people.
00:00 May 24, 2010 by europeman31
you forgot to mention " Just a great heaps of Law ... Drunken People " as they consume immense bear that day..

How funny when your bible said not to consume alcohol but your priests and so called Nuns and Public consume it frequently.

Poor people....sigh......
00:14 May 24, 2010 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
The bible does not forbid the consumption of alcohol. It does however take a very strict line regarding the consumption of bears. And lions. And giraffes.
01:08 May 24, 2010 by Swedesmith
Fikatid, you compare Christians to terrorists? How many times can you recall Christians strapping bombs to themselves and blowing up innocent people?
01:15 May 24, 2010 by Celc
@bichito - You are mistaken, your god explicitly states that he considers the creed of your thinking, that's why it's so important with the whole faith thing.

Why are people surprised, 25,000 turned up to an event? There's 800,000 people in Stockholm alone and even though something like 85% of Swedes don't believe in any God it's still only 3% or so of the people living there. One point of reference is the 45,000 people that turned up to be in (with 10x that to just watch) the pride festival in 2007.

Sweden isn't the most non-religious country in the world, Estonia (amongst others) quite consistently outperforms Sweden in any metric. Sweden just does really well against the world in general.
04:51 May 24, 2010 by Typical Whitey
God Bless these Christians. Maybe there is hope yet for Europe before Islam takes over completely. Wake up Sweden.
06:05 May 24, 2010 by JoeSwede
Nice to read.

Of course I'm biased since I'm also a follower.
06:36 May 24, 2010 by sweco1
More Lab rats for Sweden
07:57 May 24, 2010 by StockholmSam
Wonderful. Let the religious war begin.
08:14 May 24, 2010 by ali_bin_umar

So what about dropping bombing in Iraq, afghanistan,Pakistan, japan,vietnamn................ identifiy the roles of your beloved christians and you will understand the phenomenon behind this terrorism... don't be innocent now.
10:28 May 24, 2010 by alisonashley
People - If you decide to read your Bible, and read between the lines, you will find that God is after the individual's heart AND that traditions and religion of mankind are a stink to God. Religion is of mankind (falls apart) as God is of the heart of a soul. Christ is the link between the soul and God and the Holy Spirit is your guidance through out life. Ask for it and find it before you judge it. ♥
10:46 May 24, 2010 by Localer
unlike other religion gathering, where most you will hear behead those who insult our religion, freedom go to hell, or stop insulting our religion or 9/11 is on its way..........ooohh religion of PISSS and PISSS be upon him...
11:13 May 24, 2010 by Marko2010S
@Religious people & Others

With all due respect to all religions, belief and followers. I have couple of questions about Christianity, and they are as follows:

1) If Jesus is son of God, then, why God has only ONE son? Why he doesn't have many? (I believe that we all agree that God is capable of doing anything!).

2) Who Christians pray to? Of course, they pray to God. But don't they pray in Jesus's name? So, let me get this straight: Don't Christians believe in one God? How they can pray to God through Jesus if Jesus is God? (BTW, I'm fully aware of Trinity!)
11:45 May 24, 2010 by Localer
@ Marko2010S

www.google.com is your answer.

by the way, don't pretend to be naive, you're Muslim here to argues which religions is right or fake ! of your according to you, you're religion is real and others are fake. ohhh religion of PISSS...
11:57 May 24, 2010 by Marko2010S

Your comment doesn't help at all.

Also, let me correct you: "Islam doesn't claim that other religions are fake", I wonder if you heard of "People of the Book".
14:20 May 24, 2010 by bbeynch
At the rate things are going in Sweden it is not surprising that this many people gathered for a Jesus fest. I believe Sweden is waking up to the realization that it is worth celebrating her Christian values and her Christian traditions, culture and behavioral norms. I'm willing to suggest that Church attendance is up, although you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in the Swedish media willing to report as much. Vote wisely in september! And Marko2010S, your comment is utter, and unvarnished, gibberish.
14:37 May 24, 2010 by Marko2010S

Once again, Your comment doesn't help at all.

Also, let me correct you: "your comment", I have questions not comment. Anyways, exactly, I see and read what wanted to see from you guys.

BTW, you really need some basic English classes to learn the basic rules for comma usage. However, I can give you that for free as a good Muslim, you said "your comment is utter, and unvarnished, gibberish.", You should say: "your comment is utter, unvarnished and gibberish." OR "your comment is utter, unvarnished, and gibberish."

Also, thanks for showing the Christian values !
14:50 May 24, 2010 by Celc
@bbeynch - You'd be hard pressed to find anything in a Swedish newspaper that isn't easily disqualified by a layman. Swedish media do what many in this thread do, they look at the number 25,000 and think it's a huge number while not looking for anything to relate it to. In reality its only 1/5th of the religious people in Stockholm city (assuming 15% are religious) and I don't think it's unreasonable to assume people from outside the city were also attending.

If you want something that isn't gibberish, then don't just assume church attendance is up, instead ask yourself if church attendance is changing, without taking a position beforehand. Then start counting how many people are attending your church over some amount of time (it's best if you decide the length of your study beforehand, otherwise it's tempting to stop when the trend is heading in your favor) and publish your findings with data (even when they go against your beliefs).

Publishing in the era of the Internet is free, you don't need newspapers for trivial things like that.
15:00 May 24, 2010 by bbeynch
@marko2010S. You're spinning or trying to divert attention. How about sticking to the topic, instead of going on attack towards my punctuation skills? Your tactic is familiar.
19:54 May 24, 2010 by fikatid
I think any religious people who impose their views on others are considered evil. It doesn't matter whether you're Muslim, Christian or Jewish. I don't care if you worship a monkey or a sheep, as long as you don't pose any threats to other non-believers, it's all okay. I do champion the freedom of religion. However, if you use religion as a weapon towards non-believers, it's absolutely unacceptable.

I'm an atheist and like to be that way. Some extremists (whetehr Muslim or Christian) are contradicting themselves on their beliefs. Muslims blowing themselves up killing innocents or so-called Christians killing doctors in abortion clinics are some of those who don't know what they are believing. When you look at history, how many wars were caused by religious conflicts? So, Christians are not all good either.

As long as people are happy believing what they want without causing any threats, that is totally fine with me.
23:01 May 24, 2010 by EP
It is a very religious country, look at all the religious holidays that they have that they call red-days. Even more religious countries don't count many of the religious days as red-days. Swedes are such hypocrites ...
08:52 May 25, 2010 by samwise
more people were killed by atheists than any religious group in the last century, I mean tens of millions.

What shall we do with them?

By the way, don't we all impose our views to others, thru legislation by representatives for example? Why polygamy is illegal? Believing adultery is a crime is more of a belief than believing otherwise?
09:38 May 25, 2010 by telrod
Sweden may not be very religious, but it is extremely spiritual.
11:41 May 25, 2010 by Celc
@EP - That's called history and culture my dear. You'll be hard pressed to find atheists that deny religions historical influences shaping their cultures and way of thinking. It's no more hypocritical than Christianity taking up Yule or mid summers eve from the pagans, because it was events so deeply entangled in our culture already.

@samwise - {citation needed}. Also it's important to distinguish between killing someone because you believe God dictates it and killing someone because you don't like that person (while being a religious person or not). The latter isn't something you can attribute to religion, people are quite happy murdering each other no matter what they believe in for all kinds of arbitrary reasons.

Atheists also don't do things because they are atheists, instead they base their thoughts the other non-religious things people typically use like culture, ideology, philosophy, "this is what my dad did" or "Because it feels good" etc. It's also why there's no huge homogeneous groups of atheists, only small ones like Dawkins militant-atheists and other naturalists.

@telrod - Yeah that's definitely true. While a fair many people are completely opposed to the idea of a God they do like the idea of ghosts and the paranormal, while not realizing it's the same thing, just much less organized. I mean we still have horoscopes in the newspapers, right?
11:44 May 25, 2010 by Uncle
I think that there should be a new law that forbids any expression of Christian religion and the use of the cross or Jesus as symbols.

It insults and hurts the muslim population, by that causing them resort to terrorism (according to ali-bin-umar here, even the bombing in Vietnam causes muslim terror). It is a proven scientific fact that muslims are not guilty in muslim terror, but everyone else is.

Christian fests also emphasize the difference between the immigrants and the locals, by that supporting racism and lack of integration from the immigrant side.

The best way to integration, is to establish mosques everywhere, wrap women in burkas, hang all gays, kick out all christians and start a war with Norway (or any other neighbour). Then some immigrants would feel fully integrated and equal.
12:54 May 25, 2010 by alfapet

Thank you for your very amusing comment - just as they also said at Pentecost: (Acts 1:12-13) Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?" Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine."

You clearly weren't there on Saturday in any case. Unless Kristdemokraterna put something in the squash...
13:27 May 25, 2010 by Celc
@Uncle - I agree with you on the Christian symbolism in so far as I think it's slightly moronic to have a Swedish flag on soldiers in Afghanistan. I'm sure it goes over really well with the locals when foreign white Europeans enter their country with cross shaped flags and guns. Nice troll though.
13:33 May 25, 2010 by samwise
Celc, don't you think members of all sorts of communist parties are mostly atheists? I know for a fact that communist regimes don't allow members to participate religious activities, except spying on those folks.

it's true that communism covers more than atheism, but I think it is a natural extension of atheism -- material is all there is, people are categories by how much material they have, different classes have different values/morals because after all material determines, some classes (i.e. the workers) are superior than the rest, and the society is better off to be run by them, in the name of common good.

I think communists are more honest and more coherent atheists, that doesn't mean I agree with them.

but I think I'm off the topic.

Seriously, I'd like to see an atheist manifestation some day, it may make people think.
13:44 May 25, 2010 by Uncle
Yep. I forgot that the crusader flag insults gentle personality of the peaceful muslims.

We should change the flag in Sweden too. Otherwise it annoys the muslims and they have to resort to terror (attacking soldiers may be dangerous and not effective, so it is totally understandable if buses with children are exploding).

How does a crescent on a green background sound? Good enough not to harm the sensitive muslim soul? Or do we want to add AK-47 and a fist in there?

Just to be sure that the immigrants who decided to bless us with their presence, would feel welcome?
14:38 May 25, 2010 by Celc
@samwise - If communism was a natural extension of atheism then you'd expect to see a rise in people voting for the left party Swedens reformist-communists as Sweden lost it's religion over the past 80 years or so, or at the very least you'd see the social democratic party get more votes (they've gotten less). You'd also see it in other countries like the UK, Estonia etc. but reality doesn't fit into your theory.

The funny thing is that I've had opposite thoughts about Christianity, wondering why more Christians aren't communists. If anything Christian values are fairly socialist in nature and Christians like telling each other stories of how the bible is advocating giving to the less fortunate. One flavor of Communism is Christian Communism which disagree with the Leninists and Marxists that are typically against religion.

If anything I think Communistic ideals in a society is an extension of poverty and large income gaps. Although Sweden in particular doesn't exactly lend support to that argument, but i'd argue Sweden's communistic ideals is an effect of the strong socialist ideals, which makes it acceptable more left than the norm.

I strongly disagree with your notion about the materialism amongst Atheists. You are forgetting that empathy and feelings isn't a function of religion but a function of being human. Even the most cynical libertarian spouting of "Survival of the fittest" Darwinism understand that a species that just went around murdering each other uncaringly wouldn't exist for very long, so it's completely natural to in a species have evolved behavior that increases the survivability of itself (and especially it's family, and tribe since it's more likely they'll share more genes).

There are also animals that exhibit altruism, where they warn each other when a predator approaches, even when it means calling attention to themselves and ultimately getting eaten. The rationale being that it can increase the survivability of your family (and thus the genes that caused the animal to do that).

The closest you'll get to finding an atheist manifesto is reading the things the four horsemen of the apocalypse has published: Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett. Although realize they are militant-atheists arguing against religion and that's not really what atheism is. Atheism is the lack of something. It's not something you believe in. It would be like reading a book about not playing sports that talks about how it affects their every day life.

I don't think Communists are particularly coherent, it's really quite frustrating to try to read what they publish and it's so smack filled with rhetoric and hand waving that I tend to get a headache. I don't on principle disagree with their ideology, but I find it highly unlikely I'll ever vote for a communistic party . That despite me being frequently accused of being a nihilist.
14:59 May 25, 2010 by samwise
thanks for the response, Celc.

I don't believe people are generally rational, we believe things that contradict each other, but somehow we know when and where to apply which.

I don't believe morality is biological either. Doesn't it feel depressing if the goodness is explained only by biology?

Anywho, we're probably off topic and readers are screaming being bored by what we say.

We could discuss it in some other time, under some other thread.

I did enjoy reading your comments.

Mr. Uncle, maybe we should switch our names to Mohamed too, from those nasty christian names like Peter, John, Jacob, Paul,,

Our parents were truly living in a dark insensitive age.

good stuff.
15:31 May 25, 2010 by Uncle
samwise - you are a genius. You guys are on fire!

However I think that calling our filthy swedish children, who did not even apologize for the crusades and for invasions of USSR and US into the blessed and peaceful muslim land, with the holy name of the Prophet, may ignite righteous terror. We should not be so non-sensitive as to contaminate the blessed name with our faces appearing next to it in our passports.

In order to avoid riots, head-cutting and burning of cars, we must name our in more humble fashion. Jihad is a good example. Abdul Awwal is good. Mukhlis is cool. Ghazawan also. My favourite is Abdus Subbooh.

Of course we must respect the holy warriors also, if we want the foreigners to feel welcome. Osama, Arafat and Nasrallah (as first names of course) are good examples. I mean, just to go to FBI most wanted list and all the opportunities are there.

Without these steps towards the immigrants here, how are we supposed to expect good relationships with them and demand some sort of law obedience? What right do we have after all the horrors that Sweden brought upon the muslims in the eehhh.... past?
17:28 May 25, 2010 by Celc
@samwise - Oh I definitely agree people aren't always rational, if by rational you mean the same ability to adjust your mind to reasonable evidence opposing your view.

I don't think most people until confronted are willfully doublethinking, it's rather that people don't reflect on the things we "know to be true". We get taught a fair many things as children, long before we have an idea of the concept of critical thinking and evidence based reasoning. Sometimes the things we've learned doesn't go away until they are pointed out to us, for the simple fact that we just haven't noticed them yet. Like how proofreading your own work is much harder than proofreading someone elses and that's when you actively try to be right.

A good example is how most people believe they'll get a cold if they go out while it's freezing, yet at the same time we know the common cold is caused by bacteria and viruses, which means the temperature has nothing to do with it. In fact it's that people stay inside in close proximity during the winter that germs can spread. :P

I don't actually believe people should actively strive to be rational and do away with all the contradicting things in their heads. It takes a lot of effort to allow yourselves to think something you used to know was absolutely true, might not be. It also takes time, that could be spent elsewhere like on working, getting money and supporting your family. However, I don't want to believe in untrue things (and there's bound to be many to discover still) and people who want to be my friends need to subscribe to evidence based reasoning and critical thinking. It's only the spread of ideas that are untrue which makes me jump into discussions.

I'd find the alternative that man is inherently bad and only by going against his own wants can we be good, far more depressing. :) I don't really find that depressing at all no, I find biology to be as fascinating as it is beautiful (which is pretty funny to say if you accept evolution). This comic http://xkcd.com/167 is a pretty good summation of how I look at the world.

Oh and as for the readers of the local, their alternative is reading Uncle attempting to set a record in bullshit per line density, and considering the conversation at the top I'd be impressed if they even get this far. :P
18:49 May 25, 2010 by Uncle
Celc, darling.

Thanks to the small books that you have provided the english speaking crowd for their unlimited joy and education, it is safe to write anything at this stage.

As for the amount of bull that was exhibited here, I would not even attempt to compete with your ability to spill and summarize every little bit of information that you have managed to memorize in sociology and theater Bachelor degree from your community college...

But, no I am sure that they did not skip your pearls of wisdom, just to get to a shorter thread... That is my sick imagination only...
19:57 May 25, 2010 by Celc
@Uncle - Well I suppose I should be pleased you think I've even read a sociology book and have a bachelors degree, although there's no such thing as colleges in Sweden. I do attend Swedens 3rd worst university (if I recall their ranking correctly) in the arseholetown of nowhere, so the community part fits well, so I'm glad you got one bit right.

It's not like anyone actually reads the comments on the Local anyways, talking about how anything and everything is antisemitic / Israels fault / racist / immigrants fault / USAs fault / Russians fault / leads to us having communism next week / is the government stealing all your money / how they never had that problem in their own country / is proof of a Muslim invasion of Europe. The truly sad part is that this paper in English with the readership of the Daily Mail is the best you can find about Sweden. :)
07:00 May 26, 2010 by Uncle
Celc WHERE else can you make the above statements? At your family party? In this sickly PC Sweden?

This is #1 place to fight about important issues, especially to oppose to the anti-west, anti Israel and anti swedish propaganda displayed every day here! (At least from my side. From others side - it is to fight against anti muslim propaganda etc...)

This is great!
20:38 May 26, 2010 by Just_Kidding
thanks Celc...I think while Karl Marks might have been an atheist, the later communists made a religion out of his ideas and sick creatures like Stalin abused the power of this organized religion to commit those atrocities. And as you told, many communist publications are hard to read; very similar to religious texts.

By the way, the comedy Irish TV series "Savage Eye" was showing a business advisor advising church bishops to show a happy Jesus, "Jesus the fisherman", instead of a "tourchered Jesus" now, it seems a "Jesus the biker" sells better in Sweden.

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