One man's way of thinking about God has decisively shaped the political and economic rise of Nordic social democracy. 500 years ago, Martin Luther's writings led to the Reformation in the Nordic countries, and his values and beliefs shaped more than just the church. Lutheranism is one of the most important influences on the Nordic welfare system and a general belief in social democracy. Indeed, Nordic social democracy itself can be seen as a modern form of religion, or "secular Lutheranism".
In Lutheranism and the Nordic Spirit of Social Democracy, Robert Nelson, an American observer and professor of political economy at the University of Maryland, brings a fresh perspective to the interrelated questions of religion, national identity, and governance in the Nordic world. Exploring how Lutheranism never went away as the true path to a new heaven on earth, Nelson shows how the form of Lutheran Nordic religion and culture changed radically, while its substance remained surprisingly unaltered.