A Faith Vacuum

A faith vacuum haunts Europe

There was a time when Europe would justly refer to itself as “Christendom.” Europeans built the Continent’s loveliest edifices to accommodate their acts of worship. They quarreled bitterly over the distinction between transubstantiation and consubstantiation. As pilgrims, missionaries and conquistadors, they sailed to the four corners of the Earth, intent on converting the heathen to the true faith.

Now it is Europeans who are the heathens. According to the Gallup Millennium Survey of religious attitudes, barely 20% of West Europeans attend church services at least once a week, compared with 47% of North Americans and 82% of West Africans. Fewer than half of West Europeans say God is a “very important” part of their lives, as against 83% of Americans and virtually all West Africans. And fully 15% of West Europeans deny that there is any kind of “spirit, God or life force” — seven times the American figure and 15 times the West African.

The exceptionally low level of British religiosity was perhaps the most striking revelation of a recent ICM poll. One in five Britons claim to “attend an organized religious service regularly,” less than half the American figure. Little more than a quarter say that they pray regularly, compared with two thirds of Americans and 95% of Nigerians. And barely one in 10 Britons would be willing to die for our God or our beliefs, compared with 71% of Americans.

The de-christianization of Britain is in fact a relatively recent phenomenon. Prior to 1960, most marriages in England and Wales were solemnized in a church; then the slide began, down to around 40% in the late 1990s. Especially striking is the decline in confirmations as a percentage of children baptized. Fewer than a fifth of those baptized are now confirmed, about half the figure for the period from 1900 to 1960. For the Church of Scotland, the decline has been even more precipitous.

* via JesusPolitics.

3 thoughts on “A Faith Vacuum

  1. This is also of great concern to Benedict XIV. He has made statements that this will be a major concern of his pontificate. Interestingly, the number of priests is up in Africa and Asia. It may be the third world that saves Europe. Then again, they may be overrun by the Saracens as per the recent events in England.

    The lack of Christians in Europe originates from the secular societies that exist there. However, this losing trend is not simply from the loss of Christians to the faith. It is also exacerbated by the influx of religions traditionally foriegn to their soils.

    The Socialist states in Europe have a real problem. As the “freedoms” offered by secularism abound, the base module of their civilizations – the family is failing. Women are less prone to have children, or finding themselves pregnant, have them aborted. Divorce rates undermine the environments wherein children of past generations were raised. Women are bearing children at ever increasing ages, and bearing less of them. The result is that the socialist utopias have no young workers to tax in order to support the generous health care and retirement programs that are guaranteed to citizens. As a result of declining populations, there is a shortage of workers, and this shortage is eagerly filled by third world immigrants. These immigrants bring their social structure and religions with them. Algerians in Paris, Muslims and Indians in London…the traditional populations are being replaced by non-christian younger and more fecund foreigners. (how’s the alliteration so far?) Christians in Europe may become a very minor subset of the population within a generation unless the familes are re-constituted and the women of Europe have more babies. It is as simple as that.

    See “The Death of the West” by Pat Buchanon for a fascinating treatment of this subject.


  2. Uh, I meant to say Benedict the XVI. Benedict the XIV (1675- 1758) was probably more concerned with tidying up the reformation.


  3. I can’t see the Europeans suddenly deciding to have more babies any more than Americans will. So either you allow 3rd world immigrants to fill the low paying jobs, or you close the borders and do the low paying jobs yourself. I’m coming around to thinking that closing the borders makes more sense.

    Do you think the same thing is starting to happen in the U.S.?


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