God's Continent

God's Continent

Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis

Book - 2007
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What does the future hold for European Christianity? Is the Christian church doomed to collapse under the weight of globalization, Western secularism, and a flood of Muslim immigrants? Is Europe, in short, on the brink of becoming "Eurabia"? Though many pundits are loudly predicting just such a scenario, Philip Jenkins reveals the flaws in these arguments in God's Continent and offers a much more measured assessment of Europe's religious future. While frankly acknowledging current tensions, Jenkins shows, for instance, that theoverheated rhetoric about a Muslim-dominated Europe is based on politically convenient myths: that Europe is being imperiled by floods of Muslim immigrants, exploding Muslim birth-rates, and the demise of European Christianity. He points out that by no means are Muslims the only new immigrants inEurope. Christians from Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe are also pouring into the Western countries, and bringing with them a vibrant and enthusiastic faith that is helping to transform the face of European Christianity. Jenkins agrees that both Christianity and Islam face real difficulties insurviving within Europe's secular culture. But instead of fading away, both have adapted, and are adapting. Yes, the churches are in decline, but there are also clear indications that Christian loyalty and devotion survive, even as institutions crumble. Jenkins sees encouraging signs of continuingChristian devotion in Europe, especially in pilgrimages that attract millions--more in fact than in bygone "ages of faith." The third book in an acclaimed trilogy that includes The Next Christendom and The New Faces of Christianity, God's Continent offers a realistic and historically grounded appraisal of the future of Christianity in a rapidly changing Europe.
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 2007.
ISBN: 9780195313956
019531395X
Branch Call Number: 200.940905
Characteristics: ix, 340 p. : map ; 24 cm.

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Theophila
Feb 20, 2012

Good book, the author goes into more detail about the problems facing Europe and Britain, and is not quite so pessimistic as other writers I have read. He writes about the clash between secularism, Christianity and Islam, and makes the point that 50 years isn't a very long time for the different immigrant cultures and native populations to get used to relating to each other. In writing about the clash between religious communities and secularists he quotes one memorable speech by Rowan Williams, Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking at a meeting of the community of Sant' Egidio in 2005:
"Unless the liberal state is engaged in a continuing dialogue with the religious community, it loses its essential liberalism. It becomes simply dogmatically secular, insisting that religious faith be publicly invisible; or it becomes chaotically pluralist, with no proper account of its legitimacy except a positivist one (the state is the agency that happens to have the monopoly of force)."
Jenkins' is more thoughtful analysis of the problems facing Europe and Britain. There are frequent references to the United States but as usual Canada is never mentioned!

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t
Theophila
Feb 20, 2012

"It would take a bold prophet to speak of a wide-spread Christian revival in near-future Europe, but we can see surprising portents of recovery , however localized."
Philip Jenkins pg 288

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