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.

Death Row Syndrome

I don’t get it. A man on death row wants to die… and “experts” consider that to be a reason to overturn his death penalty? Because he wants to die?

It would only be ok to execute him if he wants to live? Or do you have to prescribe a treatment to make him mentally healthy enough to execute him?

HARTFORD, Conn. – Shortly after his third suicide attempt, serial killer Michael Ross wrote that life on death row was increasingly unbearable.

[…]

Ross, who has been seeking his own death and hired a lawyer to forgo his appeals, was supposed to die by injection Monday in New England’s first execution in 45 years.

But Ross’ fate is now in question after his lawyer filed papers requesting a hearing to examine whether Ross suffers from what some experts call “death row syndrome” — that is, he has become unhinged from being on death row and is no longer mentally competent to decide his fate.