Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Austrailian talks about the growth of "cultural" Christianity in Europe....

Here is the intro...

Godless Europeans turn to cultural Christianity
by Michael Burleigh

It is increasingly argued, especially by Americans, that contemporary Europe is a godless zone in a world that since the 1980s has witnessed the revenge of God. The one exception to this trend is the growth of radical Islam, a phenomenon that has led some Americans to fear the prospect of "Eurabia", if European demographic decline and Muslim migration continue as they now are.

From an American perspective this has worrying implications. Not least, as we have seen in Britain, when politicians with substantial inner-city Muslim constituents are influenced as to how they vote on key issues.

I am not at all sure that Europe is godless at all. While attendance at churches is declining, most people still claim to believe in God or describe themselves as spiritual.

Increasing numbers describe themselves as cultural Christians, a term borrowed from those who identify themselves as cultural rather than religious Jews. I think we will hear much more of that one.

I also think that politics and religion are going to be more and more inextricably linked, beyond such issues as faith schools, headscarves, or whether Tony Blair prayed with George W. Bush.

Rather than Europe becoming more secular in the past 200 years, I suspect the religious instinct has simply metabolised into other forms. This was most obvious in the case of the political religions. These began with the radical Jacobins during the French Revolution, who made the first attempt to create a "new man" so as to realise heaven on earth through violence. The result was hell for many people, with a quarter of a million people murdered simply for adhering to their traditional Christian beliefs.

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