Christianity in Europe

It’s well-known that Christianity in Europe is on the decline; links confirming this trend are easy to find.  (For example)

Why, then, does this writer assert that: “Today in Europe, we have become if anything over-Christianized”?  Read the article to understand his thinking.

I am reminded of a passage from G K Chesterton, written circa 1908:

The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is shattered (as Christianity was shattered at the Reformation), it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful. For example, Mr. Blatchford attacks Christianity because he is mad on one Christian virtue: the merely mystical and almost irrational virtue of charity. He has a strange idea that he will make it easier to forgive sins by saying that there are no sins to forgive. Mr. Blatchford is not only an early Christian, he is the only early Christian who ought really to have been eaten by lions. For in his case the pagan accusation is really true: his mercy would mean mere anarchy. He really is the enemy of the human race– because he is so human.

16 thoughts on “Christianity in Europe”

  1. I have an unrelated Chesterton Bleg. There is a saying attributed I believe to Chesterton that if you encounter a stile in your path, you should not tear it down until you understand why it was put there in the first place.

    I have tried Google and gotten no where. Do any of you know the aphorism? and can you point me to the source.

  2. Yes and it reminds me of the famous quotation from Robert Bolt’s great play, “A Man For All Seasons.”

    William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
    Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
    William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
    Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

  3. To some degree what we’re seeing among European and American political elites is leftists competing to out-virtue-signal one another. In Europe that flows – among the Germans especially – out of their need to leave the guilt of WWII and Naziism behind them, to atone for their inherited sins. Like many poorly thought out leftist gestures, the symbolic moment of feel good will be paid for with long term destruction of their society.

  4. “leftists competing to out-virtue-signal one another.”

    This is just ruling class stuff and it is increasingly out of step with the common people who are rebelling.The Hungarian PM is the guy, like Trump, who feels the people’s anger.

    The elites do not approve but they are losing their grip.

    But Hungary’s prime minister — who some now call the “creeping dictator” of Europe, and who espouses an immigration policy of “Hungary for Hungarians” — was once, a long time ago, a star of the Western media and a pro-democracy activist who helped bring down communism in Eastern Europe.

    Back in the 1980s, he was an idealistic law student and head of a nascent political party called Fidesz (Alliance of Young Democrats) that refused to accept members over age 35.

    He gets it and they don’t.

  5. Every now and again I do a google search for info on the Glastonbury Thorn, see what’s happening etc. Seems the spot has been coopted by wiccans and environmentalists, but that doesn’t stop whoever it is that rips it out of the ground, every time a another is planted. I guess they really hate trees. On a related note, a pastor I follow via the web does a lot of work in Germany and Western Europe. His videos capture full crowds, and what appears to be a real need for the message. Our church has mission trips to far flung corners of the globe, but also does trips to Paris, and recently ventured into wildest New York…Williamsburg!

  6. The problem is much deeper than faddish adherence to elitist conventional wisdom, or the very real phenomenon of moral signaling.

    The ruling elites in the west thoroughly hate and despise much of western culture, and are actively seeking to destroy its foundations.

    The revolutionary ideas that powered the end of the aristocratic class as the “natural” rulers in the west was based on two major changes in our culture, among others.

    First was the game changing belief that ordinary people could pursue commerce unfettered by the need to seek permission from any ruling nobility. The aristocratic class, which was gradually restocked from the elites in politics and academia, who adopted positions that are clearly congruent with the sneering contempt previously expressed by the landed gentry, have been appalled by the outrageous notion that some ordinary bozo, with no political support or academic credentials, could invent some product, or devise some new way to provide a needed service, and become wealthy, powerful, and beyond their control or intimidation.

    This fundamental hatred of anyone who has achieved commercial success can be seen repeatedly during the progressive era, and the relentless attacks on any expression of a free market, whether in ideas, culture, or business, are the direct expressions of a visceral hatred toward anyone who demonstrates the ability to succeed without the “permission” of the new nobility.

    A distinctive derivative of this animosity is the never ending campaign to control, or destroy, anyone who dares to proclaim their freedom to think, speak, and live as they see fit, within the confines of constitutionally sanctioned rights and liberties.

    The concept of the rights of human beings to life, liberty, etc., is fundamentally offensive and threatening to those who just know, deep down in their superior hearts, that they should really be running things, and all these raucous peasants should just shut up and do what they’re told.

    What we are now observing, as well as caught up in, is a very real end-game whose purpose is far deeper than just importing new voters—it is to alter, and regiment, western culture into a new aristocracy and their dutifully subservient underclass.

    It is not immigration. It is an invasion which seeks to replace a culture of individuality with that of a theocratic collective, whether that theocracy is religious or secular.

  7. VR…”This fundamental hatred of anyone who has achieved commercial success can be seen repeatedly during the progressive era, and the relentless attacks on any expression of a free market, whether in ideas, culture, or business, are the direct expressions of a visceral hatred toward anyone who demonstrates the ability to succeed without the “permission” of the new nobility.”

    Yet it is interesting that many of the leading *funders* of this worldview have themselves been highly successful in commercial enterprises, especially entertainment/media, but also technology, finance, and retailing.

    Perhaps the psychology is like that of the Englishman who made his money in commerce, but wants to remove the “stain” of being “in trade” by acquiring a landed estate and marrying his children to aristocrats.

  8. DF—

    The desire to be accepted by “the right people” is very powerful. In a very real sense, it’s programmed into our primate genes, and the desire to rise in the cocktail party pecking order can overpower even the principles that a person uses in other areas of their life.

    Thus we see successful commercial people accepting social or political ideas that have failed whenever and wherever they’ve been tried, even though they would reject out of hand applying a similar approach to their own line of work.

    It’s as though a production executive were to adopt an organizational scheme for a factory that had produced only shoddy and behind schedule products in the past, as if it would magically succeed this time, and produce top quality widgets.

  9. Milan Kundera on Circle Dancing:

    Circle dancing is magic. It speaks to us through the millennia from the depths of human memory. Madame Raphael had cut the picture out of the magazine and would stare at it and dream. She too longed to dance in a ring. All her life she had looked for a group of people she could hold hands with and dance with in a ring. First she looked for them in the Methodist Church (her father was a religious fanatic), then in the Communist Party, then among the Trotskyites, then in the anti-abortion movement (A child has a right to life!), then in the pro-abortion movement (A woman has a right to her body!); she looked for them among the Marxists, the psychoanalysts, and the structuralists; she looked for them in Lenin, Zen Buddhism, Mao Tse-tung, yogis, the nouveau roman, Brechtian theater, the theater of panic; and finally she hoped she could at least become one with her students, which meant she always forced them to think and say exactly what she thought and said, and together they formed a single body and a single soul, a single ring and a single dance.

  10. “Thus we see successful commercial people accepting social or political ideas that have failed whenever and wherever they’ve been tried”

    This goes back to the novel Babbit by Sinclair Lewis, in which “The word “Babbitt” entered the English language as a “person and especially a business or professional man who conforms unthinkingly to prevailing middle-class standards”.

    In other words, a yokel who does not understand high culture like that in New York City.

    If Lewis’s first widely acclaimed novel, Main Street, sought to shatter early-20th-century romanticizations of small-town America, his next work, Babbitt, turned a critical eye towards the celebrated midsize industrial city, home to the enterprising American businessman.

    This was the beginning and it is no coincidence that it corresponded to the Progressive Era.

    Lewis was not himself a member of the “lost generation” of younger writers like Hemingway or Fitzgerald. Instead, he was influenced by the Progressive Era; and changes in the American identity that accompanied the country’s rapid urbanization, technological growth, industrialization, and the closing of the frontier. Although the Progressive Era had built a protective barrier around the upstanding American businessman, as one literary scholar writes: “Lewis was fortunate enough to come on the scene just as the emperor’s clothes were disappearing.”

    Wiki has it exactly but I’ll bet they don’t understand what they are saying. The clothes weren’t disappearing. They were being removed by envious leftists.

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