"Zuckerman proposes what he calls a "socio-religious irony." The world's great religions speak of caring for the sick, the poor, and the orphaned, and of practicing mercy and goodwill toward fellow humans, yet these traits are often more evident in the world's least religious nations."
From Christianity Today Magazine, review of Phil Zuckerman's Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment
Sociologist Phil Zuckerman chronicles 14 months spent in highly secular Scandinavian countries and discovers surprisingly compassionate and contented peoples largely free of the troubling ills of society --failing schools, child abuse, systemic poverty and inequitable healthcare-- that plague more religious nations like the United States. I'd recommend reading the whole review. The bias is fairly heavy handed, but the criticisms are mostly fair and reasonable.
The final paragraph of the review, however, is almost comic and underscores the moral dilemma of believing in an afterlife.
Zuckerman sells humanity short. If people are content but no longer care about transcendent meaning and purpose or life beyond death, that's not a sign of greatness but tragic forgetfulness. Their horizon of concern is too narrow. They were made for more. What does it profit a society if, as this book's jacket notes, it gains "excellent educational systems, strong economies, well-supported arts, free health care, egalitarian social policies, outstanding bike paths, and great beer," but loses its soul? Can a country build strong social systems and keep its soul?
Oh no! We can make progress on the eradication of suffering, but we'll have to stop pretending we're made of magic soul-stuff! It's not worth it!
By the way, I think more than a few Scandinavians would probably take issue with the implication that they no longer care about "transcendent meaning and purpose" just because they don't believe in an invisible man in the clouds.