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1 The European Forum at the Hebrew University Still Gods Continent? Reflections on the place of religion in shaping a common European identity Michael Pellivert This study has been enabled by the generous support of the European Forum of the Hebrew University and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, to which I am very grateful. I am also grateful to Dr. Christophe Rico for his kind assistance in elaboration of the topic and his helpful remarks on it. November 2008

2 Table of Contents Introduction 3 I. The Crisis of Christianity 8 Secularization and other theories 9 The theories and the reality 11 What is the criterion? 13 II. Secular Europe 17 Current European trends 17 Economic prosperity as a factor 19 III. Modern Tendencies of Religious Life in Europe 22 Cultural religion 22 Believing without belonging 25 Vicarious religion 27 IV. Religion and the European Union 30 The Church and European integration 30 Religion in the modern European context 32 The resurrection of religion 35 The social strength of the Church 38 Denationalization in Europe and European Identity 39 V. The Future of Religion in Europe 42 Religion and democracy 42 America vs. Europe 45 Reasons for the future strength of religion 47 Conclusion 53 Bibliography 56 2

3 Introduction In his famous catchword Marx denounced religion as the sign of the oppressed creature, the heart of the heartless worldthe opium of the people.1 Lenin regarded it as an anachronism, and Nietzsche viewed religion as a pathological aberration that could be healed by the power of will. All these thinkers and many others before and after them have carried a strong conviction that future generations would free themselves of this malicious remnant of the age of faith. However, the object of their assault proved to be much more enduring, and even the postmodern epoch has been unable to escape its tenacious embrace. Throughout the twentieth century, the prevailing belief in the social sciences was that religion and religious organizations would inevitably fade from social and perhaps, even, from private life. But the century of two world wars, of the Holocaust and of numerous genocides, some of them still occurring, brought many surprises and proved that religion remained one of the key factors in the state and beyond it. Most important, religion retained its ability to mobilize masses, to stimulate them to collective action including political processes.2 Many were surprised by the mobilizing potential of Islam during the Iranian Revolution of 1979, especially in a country seemingly undergoing rapid modernization. Likewise, few expected the Catholic Church to be a key player in the demise of communism in Poland. In many other countries such as Algeria, Iraq, India, the Philippines, Yugoslavia, or Ireland, religious motives added violent ramifications to political conflicts. Since this power over souls makes religion too significant a phenomenon to be ignored, it is worth examining its role in the context of social developments. This study will focus on religion in Europe and its impact on the process of integration. However, religion will not necessarily refer to any specific institutional faith, but rather to the mere substance of it, to the basic phenomenon itself. Notwithstanding, the main focus will be on the traditionally dominant religion in Europe, Christianity, and the challenges it faces today3 specifically, whether the 1 See, Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegels Philosophy of Right (1843-4), Introduction. 2 See, R. Stark and W.S. Bainbridge, The Future of Religion (Berkeley: Univ. Calif. Press, 1985), pp. 506-30. 3 For present purposes the differences between various Christian denominations in Europe are secondary; thus European Christianity may be regarded in a broader sense as a project of European 3

4 European Union needs the notions of religion and of God in building the European identity, and if so, what accounts for this need and its vitality. In recent decades Europe has witnessed a consistent decline in church activity. Many have called this a crisis of Christianity and, more generally, of faith. Modernity seems to have provided new anchors for common identity, removing religion from its central role in offering Europe a common sense of belonging. It was believed that secularism followed modernization as day followed night, and that religion would be relegated to the margins of society as an atavistic element. However, both the premise that the tendencies introduced in Europe were global, and that secularization would inevitably lead to religions marginalization, proved too hasty.4 As of the early 1990s, religion had regained a prominent place in the public discourse. Such a development requires rethinking the claim, possibly premature, that God is dead. Among the factors leading to the unexpected prominence of religion in the European public discourse are the ongoing controversies about the use of religious symbols in public places, the challenge of Islam in Europe including the difficult integration process of the Muslim population, the debates over a proposed reference to religion in the Preamble to the European Constitution, the enlargement of the EU to encompass new countries like Poland, Slovakia, and Malta that include assertive Catholic populations, and the possible accession of Turkey. Additional factors include the worldwide phenomenon of religiously motivated terrorism and violence, and the deep rift between the West and the Third World. Factors augmenting that rift include the murders of Pim Fortuyn and of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands (in 2002 and 2004, respectively), the London bombings in 2005, the violent riots in the impoverished neighborhoods of Paris and the Danish-cartoon controversy in the same year, and others. All these developments reflect problems having a religious background that affect the process of European integration. Besides these probably temporal factors, this study will address the deeper role of religion in establishing social cohesion and political unity. Many of us, when we think of Europe, think primarily in geographical terms of a vast mainland of various peoples united through history, politics, economy, and also civilization. However, the dominance of Catholicism in Europe should be taken into account, both because of the number of its adherents and its structural organization. 4 See, J. Casanova, Public Religions in the Modern World (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994). 4

5 recently, and perhaps mainly, through bureaucracy.5 All agree, however, that a further dimension will greatly influence the future of the EU namely, the spiritual one, or the soul of Europe as Jacques Delors, the then president of the European Commission, put it in 1992. His main argument was that if Brussels were to prove unable to inject a spiritual dimension into the EU, it would fail to command the loyalty of its citizens. Since then many EU policymakers have heeded Delorss warning in seeking greater unity for the community, as the addition of twelve new member states has brought deeply divided opinions about how to define the spiritual dimension. However, there is at least a consensus that the EU is a highly heterogeneous entity and the abstract notions of nationality, culture, ethnicity, and even religion carry major symbolic weight. The question posed here will be whether the spiritual dimension is crucial for consolidating a group of people, or whether, instead, no less powerful factors have the capacity to replace it. This will also require exploring the role of religion in democracy and defining the nature of their interaction. Another factor is the ongoing strength of the nation-states that continue to frame the key identities within the EU. It is rather natural that the local attachments are paramount for the identity of the individuals; however, religion might be the bridge between the national and the supra-national affiliation. As summed up by Valry Giscard dEstaing, Europe is still an organization.6 As an organization, Europeans tend to have significantly more confidence in the EU than in their national institutions: in the spring of 2008 exactly half of Europeans said they trusted the EU, compared to around a third who had confidence in their national parliament (34%) or national government (32%).7 The question here is whether Europe can serve as an anchor of deeper (than the national) loyalty and affiliation and whether religion has a key role to play in this regard. The guiding principles for this research are, then, as follows: 1. First of all, it will be necessary to integrate substantive and functional approaches. The first are concerned with what religion is; the definition used here will be the one proposed by Roy Wallis and Steve Bruce: religion for us 5 The geographical boundaries of Europe are themselves, however, contested as the question of Turkeys inclusion in the EU is still open. The continual territorial growth unsettles possible identity claims and each time introduces new components that demand special reference. 6 Valry Giscard dEstaing, La constitution pour lEurope (Paris: Albin Michel, 2003), p. 27. 7 Eurobarometer 69 (March-May 2008), p. 69. 5

6 consists of actions, beliefs and institutions predicated upon the assumption of the existence either of supernatural entities with powers of agency, or impersonal powers possessed of moral purpose, which have the capacity to set the conditions of, or to intervene in, human affairs.8 The functionalists, for their part, are interested in what religion does. How, for instance, does it address the ultimate questions of life and death, or the moral order; to what extent does it affect human conduct; and what are its mobilizing powers and resources?9 The substantive definition of religion, as dealing with the supernatural, is useful in elaborating the criteria that distinguish between the religious and other (especially political) worldviews. 2. Second, there is neither space nor intention to discuss the desirability of the further EU integration. Although some 20% of the European Parliament members and almost 30% of the voters may be regarded as euroskeptics for quite various reasons, this data does not contradict our argument but rather underlines it. Euroskepticism usually reflects various thoroughly motivated positions; it poses problems but rarely seeks solutions.10 However, the role of the devils advocate is often crucial to comprehending the defects of institutional processes and emphasizes the advantages of the public discourse. This study maintains that to succeed in creating a political entity, Europe needs Europeans. The question is: what is the role of religion in defining Europeanness? As put by Massimo dAzeglio after the Risorgimento, We have made Italy, now we have to make Italians.11 Analogically, the most important element the EU lacks is a European.12 3. This work focuses on the issue of religion in Europe mainly from the Christian perspective, with no separate inquiry into the religious patterns of the European Muslims. Although it is reasonably argued that recent religious 8 Roy Wallis and Steve Bruce, Secularization: The Orthodox Model, in Steve Bruce (ed.), Religion and Modernization: Sociologists and Historians Debate the Secularization Thesis (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), pp. 10-11. 9 See, ibid. 10 See, S. Riishj, Europeanisation and Euro-scepticism: Experiences from Poland and the Czech Republic, Central European Political Studies Review, No. 6/4 (2004), pp. 5-6; see also, Carlos Flores Huberias, Anti-Europeanism and Euroscepticism after the EU Eastern Enlargement, Evropa, Issue 2 (23) (2007), pp. 45-77. 11 E. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), p. 44. 12 The reference is to more than a mere citizen of one of the EU member states. In other words, the bureaucratic definition of a European is insufficient for present purposes. 6

7 developments in Europe are affected by the presence of the large Muslim minority, this is an issue deserving separate attention and outside the scope of this study. 4. Last but not least, though the question of religions contribution to the integration process is indeed an empirical one, it would be a mistake to treat religion here solely on the basis of its social function. In other words, certain assessments about its future can be made independent of statistics or calculations of immediate utility. For the purposes of this work, the existence of God is also irrelevant; science has not proved that the Almighty is an illusion, nor religion the opposite, and the dilemma remains a matter of individual viewpoint. Nevertheless, the fundaments on which religion purports to focus are elusive to academic disciplines; love and mercy cannot be translated into civic and constitutional terms. Consequently, there will always be things that deserve our homage irrespective of their scientific validity. As Jorge Louis Borges remarked, the rose is beautiful and this fundamental truth needs no further explanations. 7

8 I. The Crisis of Christianity The so-called crisis of Christianity refers, first of all, to an ever-increasing number of people since World War II, mainly in the West, whose attitude toward religion, and specifically the Christian religion, is no longer that of a believer, or who do not regard Christianity as an ultimate authority over their everyday behavior. Such people do not think of themselves as Christians or, at least, rarely if ever go to church, or do not derive their norms and values from religion. There are different explanations for the origins, and duration, of this process. For instance, the treaties of Westphalia clearly were an important landmark in European history, especially in the evolution of the religious-political order. The state emerged as a relatively autonomous player, and religious concerns lost much of their centrality in international and national decision- making. The treaties of Westphalia instituted a system by which German rulers chose the religion of their respective states, and gave guarantees to those citizens whose religion was other than the official one. It was at this moment that Europe underwent two major developments crucial to its future evolution: (1) the freedom from religion; and (2) the territorialization of religion, which led to the formation of polities in which territory, state, and confession were closely linked.13 It may not be possible to pinpoint the moment in history at which religion lost its once dominant social position. It can reasonably be assumed, however, that secularization as a broad description of specific social developments was the major factor causing religion to lose much of its influence. The Protestant Reformation, the rise of the modern state, the expansion of science, and the growth of capitalism together with other factors affected all three levels of human life: societal, institutional, and individual.14 13 Daniel Nexon, Religion, European Identity, and Political Contention in Historical Perspective, in Timothy A. Byrnes and Peter J. Katzenstein (eds.), Religion in an Expanding Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 256-82; see also, A. Schindling, Neighbors of a Different Faith: Confessional Coexistence and Parity in the Territorial States and Towns of the Empire, in K. Bussman and H. Schilling (eds.), 1648: War and Peace in Europe (Mnster: Westflisches Landesmuseum, 1998), pp. 465-73. 14 Loek Halman and Veerle Draulans, How Secular Is Europe?, British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 57, No. 2 (2006), p. 264. 8

9 Secularization and other theories Many scholars have found the secularization process to be intrinsic to modernity. Charles Taylor assigned two meanings to secularization: (1) the decline of religious belief and practice; and (2) the withdrawal of religion from the public space.15 The decline in personal faith led to religions gradual disappearance from the public sphere; and science was the major force in undermining the verity of religion. In turn, religions marginalization further weakened individual faith. The modern world has undergone substantive changes in institutional structure. New subsystems on a global scale in areas such as politics, economy, science, and other contexts of social conduct have taken from religion its former dominance. According to Taylor, the secularization process, to put it dramatically, brought the death of Christendom, of la chrtient, and this shift was an irreversible phenomenon.16 The Enlightenment critique of religion spurred its decline in three basic ways: (1) religion was criticized as a primitive worldview having no place in the new world of rational thought and scientific inquiry; (2) religion was characterized as a conspiracy of priests and rulers to oppress the people and prevent popular sovereignty and democratic freedoms; and (3) God, a separate object of humanist critique, was viewed as an illusion that fostered human self-alienation, the death of God being seen as the precondition for human emancipation. Likewise, theories of European secularization have functioned not only as descriptive theories of different societal developments, but also as a normative worldview that presupposed the demise of religion. In this respect, these theories have usually functioned as self-fulfilling prophecies; the end of religion has become a widely held premise in Europe not only by sociologists of religion but by a majority of the population.17 Today, however, the global perspective does not allow consigning religion to the periphery of social developments. First, to do so is factually inaccurate; second, it is overly Eurocentric. Secularization has itself been challenged as an ideology rather 15 See, C. Taylor, Varieties of Religion Today: William James Revisited (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002); see also, C. Taylor, Foreword, in M. Gauchet, The Disenchantment of the World: A Political History of Religion (trans. Oscar Burge) (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), pp. ix-xv. 16 See, Francisco Lombo de Len and Bart van Leeuwen, Charles Taylor on Secularization, Ethical Perspectives 10 (2003) 1, pp. 78-86. 17 J. Casanova, Religion, European Secular Identities, and European Integration, in Timothy A. Byrnes and Peter J. Katzenstein (eds.), Religion in an Expanding Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 84-86. 9

10 than a theory based on factual data; it has not been subjected to a systematic scrutiny,18 and it simply fitted well with the evolutionary model of modernization.19 Another prominent scholar, Marcel Gauchet, maintains that religion lies at the very foundations of the Western world. Religion constitutes the counter subjectivity of the human subjectivity; religion and freedom share the same space and develop as opposite forces. With the emergence of the first states in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia began the process of a gradual withdrawal of religion and the emergence of a new, disenchanted world, which provided people more freedom and independence to shape the world according to their reason. Christianity actually accelerated this process, giving birth to modernity and paradoxically contributing to human autonomy.20 Among its major effects, it paved the way for political liberty, depriving political leaders of their once divine status, granting greater dignity and glory to earthly life, stressing individual responsibility in a world where God had become overly transcendent, and imparting to people the sense of equality.21 In approximately 1700, Christian history comes to a halt. Whether regarding the principles of collective reality, the understanding of the world, or the relation to nature, we are henceforth confronted with autonomous domains developing according to their own necessities or dynamics.22 As God withdrew, the world changed from something presented as unalterable to something to be constituted.23 To some extent, this was the course of historical development. However, as noted by Brian C. Anderson in his review of Gauchets book, Gauchet belittles the factor of human agency in the radical project of modernity and does not take seriously the possibility that Hobbes, Machiavelli and others who followed them, were not simply dancing to the orders of a structural conductor, a sort of Christian social subconscious existing offstage; they were keenly aware of what they were doing.24 18 J.K. Hadden, Toward Desacralizing Secularization Theory, Social Forces, Vol. 65 (1987), p. 588. 19 R. Finke, An Unsecular America, in Steve Bruce (ed.), Religion and Modernization: Sociologists and Historians Debate the Secularization Thesis (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), p. 145. 20 M. Gauchet, The Disenchantment of the World: A Political History of Religion (trans. Oscar Burge) (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997). 21 Ibid., pp. 76-105, 131-36. 22 Ibid., p. 162. 23 Ibid., p. 95. 24 Brian C. Anderson, Review: Disenchantment of the World, First Things, Vol. 84 (June/July 1998), pp. 55-57. 10

11 In his great monograph on the history of guilt in the West, Jean Delumeau proposed viewing the decline of Christianity as a sign of fatigue of the believers, as a rebuff of the too-burdensome edification on the matters of sin and fear. The current generations of Europeans could have a subconscious sense of the oppressiveness that surrounded their forefathers, and reject the historical burden of collective metaphysical fear.25 Statistically speaking, the decline of religious participation in Europe is a fact: various surveys show a sharp decrease in church attendance and religious practice in most European countries. A series of Eurobarometer surveys since the 1970s in five key countries (France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy) show that regular church attendance fell from about 40% of the population to about half that figure. Declines were sharpest in predominantly Catholic nations.26 However, though the numbers indicate tendencies, the broader picture may not be as clear. The theories and the reality The theories mentioned above, and many others explaining the de-Christianization of the West, fail to take religion seriously as a set of strict norms and dogmas. Christianity, though seemingly open to everyone and ready to embrace even evildoers, does not depend on the quantity of its congregation but solely on its quality. When it comes to values, statistics and sociological methods are not sufficient, providing overly simplistic interpretations. In this sense, Pope John Paul II was right to reject quantifiable solutions to what is considered the crisis of Christianity; it is not helpful to count the number of Muslims in the world, the number of Hindus, or the number of Christians and, based on this data, prophesize which religion is destined to endure. We cannot determine which of the religions belongs only to the past or is undergoing a systematic process of decay and decline.27 Christianity has been 25 Jean Delumeau, Le Pch et La Peur. La Culpabilisation en Occident (XIII-XVIII sicles) (Paris: Fayard, 1983). 26 James P. Gannon, Is God Dead in Europe?, USA Today, August 1, 2006: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2006-01-08-faith-edit_x.htm; see also, the latest data on church attendance by NationMaster: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/rel_chu_att-religion-church-attendance 27 See, John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope (ed. Vittorio Messori) (London: Jonathan Cape, 1994), pp. 101-04. 11

12 condemned to death many times during history, yet has been brought back to life and renewed itself from unexpected sources. This mandates caution in predicting its fall merely on the basis of statistically measured participation in church ceremonies. Criteria are relative, so that if we ask whether Europe was more Christian in the eleventh or twelfth century than today, the answer depends on the meaning we ascribe to the word Christian. The secularization theory included an unjustified assumption that people in preindustrial societies were more religious, or at least that their participation in church services was much higher. In fact, there is hardly any historical evidence to support such suppositions.28 Jos Casanova criticized the mere notion of the Golden Age of Faith as an extremely vague term with no reference to any specific historical period.29 If such an idyllic past is to be found, it is in Christian mythology itself. The idyll was lost in the Garden of Eden as Adam and Eve were seduced by sin. To claim that a medieval peasant in southern France was more Christian and generally more religious than a contemporary Frenchman is very disputable, as from the Christian point of view religiosity is not a function of manifestation but primarily of faith, which is highly individual and subjective. However, if the crisis refers to the vanishing of Christianity from the social sphere, this process has been transpiring since at least the fourteenth century when the Churchs monopoly on providing the structure for all areas of life was first breached. Since the time of Gregory VII, when the repentant Henry IV of the Holy Roman Empire waited barefoot by the gate of Canossa for three full days begging his forgiveness, the papacy had strengthened its authority over all spheres of human life and created a centralized system of administration that sought to regulate all activity; difference became dissidence.30 Not only were all domains of human interest such as philosophy, painting, architecture, the calendar, and the family enclosed in a Christian framework, but even wars, invasions, and governmental organization were Christian both in form and substance.31 This does not mean, of course, that no other religious trends existed in the Middle Ages; there is much evidence of various degrees of heresy and even unbelief before terms such as atheos 28 Wallis and Bruce, Secularization, p. 24. 29 Casanova, Public Religion, p. 16. 30 G. Benavides, Western Religion and the Self-Canceling of Modernity, Journal of Religion in Europe, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2008), p. 88. 31 See, Leszek Kolakowski, Modernity on Endless Trial (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), ch. 8 (On the So-Called Crisis of Christianity). 12

13 (godless in Greek) and athism were coined around 1540 and 1549, respectively.32 Nevertheless, the Christian Church was the only one to institutionalize the exclusiveness of its message and its God-given truth, and to have sufficient legitimacy, based on divine authority and institutional strength, to exercise power. On the other hand, it is worth noting that the Church had enough power to attain popular legitimacy in times when there existed no other institution comparable in global pretensions and organizational strength. This was the period when Christianity was at its zenith. Yet the success was mainly worldly, based primarily on the ability to subdue not only the souls of the faithful but the material reality as well, while suppressing any attempts to challenge such a monopoly. Theologically speaking, power and fear are far from being Christian values. The Church regulated both spiritual and bodily existence, though originally the main object of its concern was the individual and not society as such. Salvation means liberating the person from radical, ultimate evil, and the main focus is on private, unique consciousness.33 Such individuality was emphasized not only regarding ones salvation, but ones damnation as well. Already in 1245, Pope Innocent IV abolished the practice of collective excommunication a step that well accorded with the spirit of Christianity but was less effective in terms of its aspirations to earthly power.34 Such an interpretation of Christianity could be criticized as ideal rather historically factual. However, it is the ideal that enables judging Christianitys historical performance according to its own normative structure; and, put simply, it rarely behaved in full consonance with its declarations and moral suasion. What is the criterion? In order to determine the minimum of Christianity that would be acceptable for all its branches and denominations and that traditionally united all different sects and movements throughout history, the constitutive principle suggested by Leszek Kolakowski can serve as the core tenet: there should be no dispute that the belief that 32 Benavides, Western Religion, p. 93. 33 See, John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold, pp. 69-76. 34 Dominique Iogna-Prat, Introduction gnrale, in Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak and Dominique Iogna-Prat (eds.), Lindividu au Moyen ge: individuation et individualization avant la modernit (Paris: Aubier, 2005), p. 20. 13

14 God became flesh for the redemption of mankind is the most constitutive element. For some this belief might sound absurd from the rational standpoint or even contradictory to elementary moral feeling. However, the undeniable historical fact is that hundreds of millions of people throughout two thousand years have believed in this narrative, and it appears impossible to explain this belief solely by rational arguments or natural circumstances. If so, then two separate, relevant reflections derive from this minimum definition of the core of Christianity: (1) There is a cosmic clearance of accounts; in other words, there is no absolute unpunishability and every evil should be redeemed by an appropriate amount of suffering. This idea may lie at the foundation of ordinary concepts of crime and punishment. (2) People are well aware of their inherent weakness and need the intervention of God to make salvation possible.35 The first principle has become our deepest perception of reality and will likely remain stable and basic for the foreseeable future. The second has been much more vulnerable to historical developments and its ups and downs seem to continue. If the Christian teaching is taken seriously, then, there can be no crisis in its thought as the values and norms it preaches have not lost their actuality or social appreciation, at least for those who sincerely believe in them. Crisis is rather a manifestation of the inability to draw true historical parallels. Wishful thinking is extremely influential in this case, as it is hardly admitted that the historical realization of the Christian dogma should evoke no less indignation than admiration. Certainly it is encouraging to leave the Catholic Inquisition in the past, as is the fact that in our days fewer witches and devils participate in the diabolic Brocken revelry on Walpurgis Night. In this sense, the changes in Christianity and its retreat from an all- powerful position should definitely be seen as progress. However, even those fully aware of the ambiguity of the historical role of the Church are caught in another trap. Instead of being disappointed with historical Christianity and with a baleful realization of its principles in this world, they tend to blame the dogma as intrinsically problematic and pernicious. That is not to suggest that the corpus of Christian teachings is faultless; there is, however, an unfortunate tendency to blame the theory and not its failed realization. It seems very painful to admit human imperfection and preferable to seek the evil in social relationships and 35 Kolakowski, Modernity, pp. 90-91. 14

15 structures instead of in the crooked timber of humanity as Isaiah Berlin put it.36 The issue, in other words, is not the system but the people of whom it is composed. The same pertains not only to religion but also to its most bitter foes. The two most powerful versions of Promethean Christianity, those embodied in the ideas of Nietzsche and Marx, removed God as an essential ally of humanity in the fight for salvation and convinced a significant part of mankind that the ability to achieve perfection and greatness has no limits apart from the human will. Yet these two versions of the Promethean aspiration produced the ideological cover for two of the most malignant and deadly tyrannies of the twentieth century.37 Here also, the sin was not in the theory but in its misuse, and there could hardly be a more profound crisis than an institution purporting to govern souls and bodies yet failing to prevent concentration camps and gulags. According to this interpretation, the triumph of Christianity is not a situation where it provides all the forms of human activity or a situation of theocracy where the Church has the monopoly in setting the rules. The measure of success is Christianitys ability to build barriers against hatred in the hearts of individuals and thereby attain the goal of peace and love. The Gospel is not a promise of easy success but, rather, of eternal life through faith for man who is subject to the law of death. The Christian teaching contains a fundamental paradox: to find life, one must lose life; to be born, one must die; to save oneself, one must take up the cross.38 These are the basic truths for the believer and they will always evoke both human protest and admiration. It has never been an easy task to be a Christian and carry out all the rigorous tenets of its teaching. It still is not easy to find true Christians in the world, just as, actually, it was difficult in the past. This is not a sign of Christianitys crisis but confirmation of something it says about itself: that it is difficult to measure up to its demands,or perhaps an expression of the more general and universal crisis in which we all find ourselves, having been driven out of paradise.39 These, then, are some of the perspectives that will inform this study. Discussing secularism and its various manifestations requires differentiating between form and substance. It is problematic to claim that religion has receded as a force on the individual level as there are very few means to measure this. Nor have there even 36 See, Isaiah Berlin, The Crooked Timber of Humanity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998). 37 Kolakowski, Modernity, p. 91. 38 John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold, pp. 103-04. 39 Kolakowski, Modernity, p. 94. 15

16 been adequate historical resources to trace the real differences or similarities between present and past epochs. Belief or faith as an extremely subjective variable is beyond our reach; one can only attempt to grasp the changes in its social or organizational manifestations and, on that weak basis, offer limited suggestions about its inner nature. 16

17 II. Secular Europe Taking into account all that was said above, it is now necessary to define what the notion secular means in the European context, or more precisely what its distinguishing features are. This term will be used while keeping in mind its ambiguity as it does not differentiate between religious practices and actual beliefs. Grace Davie has suggested that it is more accurate to speak of the unchurching of the European population rather than its secularization,40 a point to be returned to later. Current European trends First of all, religious participation has actually decreased throughout the continent since the 1960s and religions public role has receded, having been reduced to the private sphere.41 Faith in Europe has become deeply personal and subjective, with no more official faith or common religion. The Reformation motto that there is no need for a mediator between God and believer became a widely accepted notion and affected even ardent Catholics. For these, the emphasis on the individuality of believer-God relations introduced by the Protestants did not remove the social functions of the Church but, rather, supplemented them. Yet, as a result, church attendance fell sharply as its intensity ceased to be the main measure of religiosity. Not only, however, had the physical manifestation of faith diminished, but also belief as such. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism presents data on the trends in the different parts of the world, showing clearly that belief in God is considerably weaker in Europe than elsewhere. According to various surveys, the percentages of those who do not believe in God are 39%-44% in Britain, 44% in France, 31% in West Germany and 75% in East Germany, 64% in Sweden, 48% in Denmark, 31% in Norway, 61% in the Czech Republic, 43% in Belgium, 44% in Bulgaria, 42% in the Netherlands, 49% in Estonia, 16% in Greece, 35% in Slovenia, and 28% in Finland. Relatively low figures are found in Poland (3%), Ireland (5%), Slovakia (7%), Portugal (4%), Italy 40 G. Davie, Religion in Modern Europe: A Memory Mutates (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 8. Although this remark is very useful, replacing secularization with unchurching might make it difficult to preserve the terminological consistency as the last notion is not widely used in the literature. 41 Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart, Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 86-87. 17

18 (6%), Romania (4%), Slovakia (17%), Austria (18%), Spain (15%), and Switzerland (17%).42 Secularization, then, may well be a European phenomenon, but this does not mean Europe is homogeneously secular. Second, as mentioned earlier, the real scope of secularization is not as global as its pretensions. Although the rapid secularization of Western Europe since World War II is evident, the standard explanations for the phenomenon in terms of general processes of modernization that bring greater rationality and industrialization, are not valid for large parts of the modern world including the United States. Elsewhere in the world, modernization is not necessarily accompanied by secularization. Europes pronounced secularization is not the rule but, indeed, an exception in the global perspective.43 As Norris and Inglehart observe, due to basic demographic trends, the world as a whole now has more people with traditional religious views than ever before and they constitute a growing proportion of the worlds population.44 Third, Europe itself has not become a godless continent. Religion and spirituality are still important there, with four in five citizens having religious or spiritual beliefs. In fact, over one in two EU citizens believe there is a God (52%) and over one in four (27%) believe there is some sort of spirit or life force. Only 18% say they do not believe in any sort of God, spirit, or life force.45 Generally, spiritual matters are still important to most EU citizens but are not an object of primary concern. The issues of primary concern are socioeconomic such as employment, globalization, and social protection systems.46 Although modern European societies are quite materialistic in their aspirations and interests, the same survey cites the lack of unity between the states, the lack of collective spirit, and the prevalence of selfish interests as constituting the EUs major failure.47 To sum up, the most widespread expectation among EU citizens is that Europe should not reduce itself to being a mere single market or free trade area, not even a Europe based on unrelated projects; on the 42 See, Phil Zuckerman, Atheism: Contemporary Rates and Patterns, in M. Martin (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Atheism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 47-68. 43 Karin L. Johnston, Religion and Politics: The European Debate, paper within the workshop entitled Religion and Politics in European Integration and Transatlantic Relations, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (May 2007), p. 1. All AICGS publications are available at the website at http://www.aicgs.org/analysis/publications/ 44 Ibid., p. 25. 45 Eurobarometer Special 225: Social Values, Science and Technology (January-February 2005), pp. 7-11. 46 Eurobarometer Qualitative Study: European Union and the Future of Europe (May 2006), p. 7. 47 Ibid., p. 31. 18

19 contrary, the citizens expect progress in European integration in many fields and wish to see Europe assert itself collectively on the world stage.48 Fourth, similar processes to the decline in religious practice and church activity have occurred in other societal domains. Comparative examples are political parties, trade unions, or any other voluntary activity that includes regular gatherings. The tendency in the religious sphere is part of a more profound change in the nature of social life; what is happening is the democratization of leisure time, along with social differentiation. Not only can people choose the kind of activity they wish to engage in, but they also enjoy a greater variety of activities.49 Economic prosperity as a factor So far the attractiveness of the European integration has mainly been based on economic factors. Although geopolitical, political, social, or historical motives for joining the EU are undoubtedly important, the major factor behind the quest for membership is the market. Countries that have refrained or hesitated to join the queue of candidates risk missing the opportunities of free market access for agricultural and other sensitive goods. Countries that were left outside the EU boundaries have suffered highly negative consequences like trade diversion, investment diversion, and aid diversion. Both rich Western countries and poor ones from the postcommunist space wanted to avoid such a risk and made inclusion attractive, and exclusion costly.50 Enlargement became not only a means of economic prosperity but also of inland stabilization and successful democratization. All the members of the EU, both new and old, have made significant progress toward liberal democracy and a more prosperous and transparent market economy. Even in Balkan countries there are numerous indications that local political discourse is adjusting to the widely accepted 48 Ibid., p. 12. 49 See, G. Davie, Religion in Europe in the 21st Century: The Factors to Take into Account, European Journal of Sociology (47/2, 2006), p. 275; D. Martin, On Secularization: Toward a Revised General Theory (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005), p. 86. 50 See, Milada Anna Vachudova, Europe Undivided: Democracy, Leverage and Integration after Communism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). 19

20 EU norms.51 In this regard the EU has profoundly succeeded in setting the norms and standards not only for the continent but for the whole world. The bureaucratic machinery is working, and working rather well. However, another aspect of economic welfare should be emphasized. For the first time in its history, Europe has achieved economic prosperity and stability that result in a well-fed or satiated society as Danile Hervieu-Lger put it.52 Food sufficiency serves as a symbolic center of a more broad experience of safety that is common to the vast majority of the European population. This seemingly simple fact of food satiety plays a powerful symbolic role and considerably affects the collective and individual relationship with the world. The thousand-year association of the end of hunger with the fulfillment of Gods promise of the arrival of the Kingdom and a land of milk and honey, is no longer relevant to Europe.53 The chief concerns of European citizens are mainly of an economic or domestic nature: unemployment, global economic turbulence, social segregation, the environment, rising prices, inflation, crime, urban violence, and so on.54 The experience of safety has become the norm to the extent that people become indignant about new experiences of insecurity or when they see this safety fail. Such problems are primarily related to individually and subjectively; the vast majority of people do not associate their aspirations with social transformation or an ideal of a more just organization of society. Although people lament the iniquity, lack of social equality, or callousness of our times, the ideal of accomplishment centers increasingly on the individual and less on realizing a social ideal. This phenomenon may be called a subjectivization of utopia, which has shifted the nature of aspiration from a collective to a subjective context. Today this 51 See, Milada Anna Vachudova, Historical Institutionalism and the EUs Eastward Enlargement, in Sophie Meunier and Kathleen R. McNamara (eds.), Making History: European Integration and Institutional Change at Fifty (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 105-20. 52 Danile Hervieu-Lger, The Role of Religion in Establishing Social Cohesion, in Krzysztof Michalski (ed.), Religion in the New Europe (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2006), pp. 45-62. 53 Interestingly, poor countries that still experience large-scale hunger find religious prophesies about a better world much more convincing. The survey finds a strong relationship between a countrys religiosity and its economic status. In poorer nations, religion remains central to the lives of individuals, while secular perspectives are more common in richer nations. This relationship generally is consistent across regions and countries, though there are some exceptions, including most notably the United States, which is a much more religious country than its level of prosperity would indicate. Other nations deviate from the pattern as well, including the oil-rich, predominantly Muslim and very religious kingdom of Kuwait. See, Pew Global Attitudes Project, World Publics Welcome Global Trade, but Not Immigration, October 4, 2007, pp. 33-40 (ch. 3: Views of Religion and Morality). http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=258 54 Eurobarometer 69 (March-May 2008), pp. 12-14. 20

21 development is manifested in the notions of self-realization, fulfilling ones potential, personal access to wisdom, balance, inner peace and so on.55 But as the world enters a time of economic uncertainty and sharp social transformations, a reverse shift from individual to collective may take place, and in that case religion will regain its power to bestow meaning on the collective aspiration for a better world. The possibility that economic prosperity and social stability will fade and Europe will enter a period of recession is not difficult to imagine amid mounting financial adversities and widespread international violence. What would then happen? The EU would hardly be likely to eventually disintegrate; such a prophecy would be as groundless as its inverse. Instead, a shift would likely occur in the speed of integration or in its rationale as countries focus more on their internal situation and set aside a remote aim of building a new Europe. Christianity might paradoxically gain from this hypothetical situation as the quest for collective meanings again becomes much more essential. 55 Hervieu-Lger, Role of Religion, pp. 55-56. 21

22 III. Modern Tendencies of Religious Life in Europe The recent developments in the nature of religious life in Europe raise the issue of how recent changes have affected the role of religion. Cultural religion One of the most interesting developments in religious life can be called the rise of cultural religion in Europe. Even in times of dramatic decline in formal religious activity, religion provides a sense of personal identity and continuity with the past. A comparison with the Israeli experience sheds light. Although not a part of EU, Israel shares with Europe many cultural traditions and conventions, and is historically linked to the continent as the main historical source of its population. Israeli society is usually perceived as sharply divided; it encompasses a wide variety of groups with their own constitutive nuances that are significant enough to provide common identity. This is the case for the haredim (strictly Orthodox Jews) with their rigorous adherence to the Jewish religion, for the hilonim (secularists) with their demand for the separation of religion and state, for various political groups that define their position according to their attitude toward the peace process, and for groups that still share lingua-national identity (such as Russian-speaking Jews).56 Such fragmentation might be explained by the extremely politicized atmosphere in the region [unclear] and also by the different cultural backgrounds of large segments of Israeli society. In such a situation Judaism is not just a religious congregation but also a kind of cultural anchor that functions very flexibly. Each group, or every citizen, relies on the most sympathetic and valued religious passage or principle that serves as a symbolic substitute for the whole of Judaism. Of course, this situation itself reflects the abovementioned democratization and the subjectivization of religion, as from rational point of view no one can claim (but certainly, many do) anymore to possess the ultimate truth or to have a monopoly on meaning. In this case religion serves as the continuity of memory, as a common cultural heritage that has shaped and influenced 56 The religious self-affiliation (including atheists) of the Israeli Jewish sector is based on a relatively homogeneous foundation; all the cases mentioned above have in common their reference to Judaism irrespective of their current attitude toward it. Hence, the Arab minority is not mentioned. 22

23 people over the centuries, affecting their thinking and everyday behavior. In Israel, even if one is an atheist, one is either a Jew or a gentile. The same is true in many European countries where religious affiliation is symbolically prominent for the identity discourse, though usually it is not substantively valid. For instance, in Poland or Ireland, even if you are an atheist, you are either a Catholic or a Protestant atheist.57 In Scandinavia religion is increasingly taken for granted as a historical legacy rather than a living presence; this, however, culturally justifies religion as a bearer of important social functions that are mainly symbolic though not less appreciable.58 Even in France where the secularization process seems to be the most far-reaching and radical, the specifically Catholic encoding of culture is an undeniable fact and continues to be extraordinarily significant. As Hervieu-Lger put it, even issues that seem to be totally detached from the religious sphere, such as food quality, the ethical regulation of science, societal expectations of the state, the management of hierarchical relationships in business, the future of rural society, and others are all linked to religious import; and all this is without being aware of the extent to which French culture is impregnated with Catholic values.59 The boundaries do not lie within one religious community alone but usually are formed as a contra-cultural argument, as a negative project that attempts to formulate common identity as opposed to the other. In each country the cultural dimension of religion is highly distinctive and stems from historical roots, the style and tradition of political life, the valence of various social issues and the proposed solutions, the relations between state and religion, attitudes toward nature and the environment, and many other factors that affect the character of a specific culture. This applies, for instance, to the United Kingdom with its unique cultural tradition and distinctive narrative influenced by the fact that the Anglican Church does not acknowledge the authority of the pope, or the fact that its priests are not celibate, or necessarily male. Another example is the German system of autonomy, which was born from the historical experience of the Reformation and has left its imprint on the nature of religious life there.60 Or, significantly, without much public discussion or dissent the 57 N.J. Demerath III, The Rise of Cultural Religion in European Christianity: Learning from Poland, Northern Ireland and Sweden, Social Compass (47/1, 2000), p. 131. 58 Ibid., p. 135. 59 Hervieu-Lger, Role of Religion, p. 51. 60 Ibid., p. 50. 23

24 German government collects taxes that support major religious institutions, and these in turn dispense most of Germanys foreign aid and actively engage in many social initiatives.61 Thus religion, even if receding as an institutional force, still remains organically intertwined with certain social issues, a bon ton tradition to be regarded with respect. The churches all over Europe have comprehended the possible benefits of this change and seem to be reorganizing their structure and activities so as to meet the expectations of their spiritual clientele. They present themselves as the guardians of the European legacy, and the notion of religion as heritage gives them a privileged status as the interpreters of this heritage. Such an approach prefers less speaking to the political order in the name of a divine authority, instead emphasizing this orders sustenance from within, based on a special relationship to its founding principles.62 Current developments can be interpreted as a penultimate stage of the secularization process, as religion mutates into cultural religion and enters its death throes.63 Another interpretation, however, is that religion is adjusting itself to present circumstances. That does not mean an assembly of leading churchmen decrees such a change, but that religion itself, with its very elastic forms, continues to provide meanings in the world of the meaningless. That is, once the Church finds it too difficult to provide meaning (a single all-embracing truth with its origins in the divine), it provides meanings with self-adaptational mechanisms that keep religion relevant even in the most liberal and secularized societies. Thus, in Paris Notre Dame and the Sacr Coeur represent one kind of sacred centre, where France is the eldest daughter of the Church, while the Panthon and the Place de la Bastille represent sacred centres where France is the eldest daughter of the [French] revolution.64 Once religion has lost its monopoly on cultural components, it has learned to exist in parallel to their various patterns, that is, to coexist. 61 Kirsten Verclas, Religion and Its Impact on Foreign Policy in the United States and Germany: Similarities and Differences, AICGS Workshop, IssueBrief No. 20 (February 2008), p. 2. 62 Philip Schlesinger and Franois Foret, Political Roof and Sacred Canopy? Religion and the EU Constitution, European Journal of Social Theory, Vol. 9, No. 1 (2006), p. 73. 63 Demerath, Rise of Cultural Religion, p. 137. 64 Martin, On Secularization, p. 79. 24

25 Believing without belonging Another profound shift in European religious life was traced by Grace Davie and widely acknowledged as a thorough and acute explanation of current changes. According to Davie, the recent developments should not be seen as a crisis of faith or religious indifference, but rather as a crisis of institutional faith.65 The churches are no longer able to command active allegiance; or at least their role in subjective decision-making is much less dominant. However, the same changes have also affected other areas of social life; leisure activities, for instance, have become a matter of preference or personal choice.66 Davie has studied the issue in terms of the British and Scandinavian cases and, rather surprisingly, concluded that her proposed theory is relevant to the entire European framework.67 Change was especially pronounced in the hard indicators of religious life, those relating to regular religious practice or creedal statements of the Christian doctrine. The soft variables of religion, however, such as individual belief, the notion of religious disposition, or denominational self-ascription remain relatively high. In England and Wales just over 70% of the population self-identify as Christians. Although it is not obvious what this means, it remains a fact that most Britons persist in believing in some kind of God.68 This means the sacred, in its broad sense, is still present in Europe but not necessarily in traditional forms; what has changed is the institutional sense of belonging. In Scandinavia the nature of the shift is somewhat different: almost all Scandinavians continue to pay taxes to their state church, but fairly few of them take an active part in church activities. In the obverse of the British situation, they maintain a nominal rather than actual allegiance to their churches; that is, they belong without believing.69 However, what both these variants have in common is that the relation between belief and practice (in the institutional sense) is not always one of direct proportion. 65 Davie, Religion in Europe, p. 275. 66 For instance, the statistics of cinema admissions in the postwar UK show a sharp decline, which is also part of a broader process, namely, the privatization of leisure. See, G. Davie, The Persistence of Institutional Religion, in Linda Woodhead, Paul Heelas, and David Martin (eds.), Peter Berger and the Study of Religion (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), p. 105. 67 See, Grace Davie, Religion in Britain since 1945: Believing without Belonging (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994). 68 Ibid., pp. 1-2. 69 Davie, Religion in Modern Europe, p. 3. 25

26 Recently Davies most basic assumption that there is a mismatch between the figures on believing and belonging has been challenged by new statistics. According to this data, both the rates of believing and belonging have been on the decline in Europe, implying that the faith crisis has accompanied an institutional crisis and these two variables have behaved rather similarly.70 Davies has presented further statistics that support her initial argument, which seems an accurate comprehension of the latest developments.71 In modern Europe, religious symbols and institutions continue to play an important role in social, cultural, and political life; the sacred is still present in the social discourse and this mere fact is enough to question the theory of an overall secularization of Europe, which may even be false as Peter Berger has proposed.72 In any case, whereas there is no doubt that religious belonging has diminished, the same cannot be said about belief. The methods of sociological inquiry are extremely limited when it comes to gauging shifts in individual attitudes. Those who believe no longer see themselves as obligated to belong to an institution even though the option still exists. And those who still find it worthwhile to belong do not necessarily believe in the core doctrine of the Church. Such a democratization of religious affiliation is a sign of modern times, in which the role of personal choice has gradually strengthened regarding all kinds of human activity. Religion has been relegated to the private domain and serves mainly as a means of individual identification. Democracy has fractured the traditional order and has invaded even schools and family structures, which had been thought to be less amenable and more resistant institutions.73 More generally, the mere notion of authority has been significantly undermined by democratization, shifting importance from a qualitative evaluation to a quantitative one. That is why the crisis of Christianity is generally approached from a statistical point of view, like almost all other issues of social concern. 70 See, Alan Aldridge, Religion in the Contemporary World: A Sociological Introduction (Cambridge, Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2007), pp. 101-04. 71 See, Davie, Religion in Europe; Grace Davie, The Sociology of Religion (Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2007). 72 P. Berger, The Desecularization of the World: A Global Overview, in P. Berger (ed.), The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1999), p. 2. 73 Hervieu-Lger, Role of Religion, pp. 54-57; on the complicated nature of democratization in schools see, an interview with Alan Finkielkraut, What Sort of Frenchmen Are They?, Haaretz, November 21, 2005. 26

27 Another possible explanation of the phenomenon is the mere fact that the market of possible identifications has considerably widened and peoples pursuit of collective identity has found other anchors of similarity such as state, nation, race, social class, or political affiliation. In general, Christianity and religion are more perceived as broad identity structures. The monotheistic God appeared as one for all humanity, while religious fragmentation was an aspect of pagan times when each group had its own divinity (or divinities) that functioned as a practical instrument for setting boundaries, both geographic and cultural. The intensive process of globalization in recent decades has significantly eroded these borders, leaving many people with a strange feeling of loneliness before this huge world with its homogenized culture, trade, models of consumption, and principles of social organization. The process seems to have a dual effect: whereas globalization weakens the religious individualism of the European societies, it also induces a reactionary resurgence of cultural specificities as people seek to return to their particular identities as a defense against the global homogenization. The desire to protect cultural singularity and exclusiveness finds nourishment in the fertile soil of religious identity; as a result of the process, however, religious identity may undergo considerable modifications. In this sense, both belonging without believing and believing without belonging are modes through which people seek support in their quest for identity. Both modes find in Christianity some definitive core for communal or individual identification. Still, since in our days religion is an option, its vitality for individuals may vary greatly in intensity over time. One might shift from being an ardent believer to a zealous atheist and vice versa within a relatively short period (though, such cases are relatively rare). In our days religion in its external forms is an element of consumption and not of obligation, but it persists even if in an increasingly detached and personal shape. Vicarious religion Grace Davie has elaborated another important and helpful notion that enables assessing the role of religion in modern Europe. The pattern is that large portions of the population support the notion of religion as practiced by an active minority on 27

28 behalf of this much larger number. Thus religion operates vicariously, and Davie suggests that significant numbers of Europeans remain grateful to the Church in this regard. Churches, church leaders, and churchgoers perform rituals, believe, and preach on behalf of the others; they voluntarily embody moral codes and norms for the sake of the whole community.74 The most obvious examples are found in the ongoing requests for specific sorts of religious rituals at the time of birth, marriage, and death. In Sweden the Church is turned to much more in death than in life, with over 90% of the population still opting for church burials.75 From time to time the Church is asked to articulate the sacred in a public sphere, in the life-style of the individuals and families, or at times of national crisis and celebration.76 Two famous examples of such behavior were the public funerals of President Mitterrand and of Princess Diana. Mitterrand might have been considered a model of a secular individual in a highly secular country. However, he requested to be honored not with one mass but with two: the first was a state funeral in Notre Dame de Paris, and the second was in Jarnac in southwestern West France in the form of a private ceremony for immediate family.77 In the case of Princess Diana, there was a public consensus that the funeral should take place in one of the major churches in London and no one, not even the most fervent atheists, raised any public objection. But the Church does more than conduct rituals on special occasions: it also bears a public role as preacher. For instance, English bishops are rebuked, even in the tabloid press, if they express doubt in public. After all, their social role indeed, their job is to believe. The Church is regarded as a public utility and not as a private organization; as such it has specific social functions it is required to fulfill. A paradoxical mentality exists whereby certain institutions still carry authority on a national level even if on the private level attitudes toward them are much more skeptical or even hostile. The sacred, or the sense of the sacred, is still present in the everyday life of modern Europe, but its nature has apparently changed: it is no longer a belief in the strict sense of the word. Religious feelings have adapted to the environment; they are no longer defined as a function of faith in a positive sense that is, a belief in God and in 74 Davie, Religion in Europe, p. 278. 75 Demerath, Rise of Cultural Religion, p. 134. 76 Davie, Persistence of Institutional Religion, p. 107. 77 Danile Hervieu-Lger, Une messe est possible: les double funrailles du Prsident, in J. Julliard (ed.), La Mort du roi (Paris: Gallimard, 1999), pp. 89-109; Davie, Religion in Modern Europe, pp. 71- 81. 28

29 the Church as his earthly embodiment. Instead, religious feelings appear usually to be a function of negative self-definition toward the world that is, a belief that occasionally human reason encounters boundaries it is unable to cross; that religion still bears some unrevealed rationale even for those who have ceased to define themselves as religious. As an illustration, one of the visitors to the country home of Niels Bohr, the Danish Nobel Prize winner in physics, noticed a horseshoe hanging over the entrance door. Puzzled, he turned to his host and asked whether he really believed it could bring luck. Of course not, replied Bohr, but I am told it works even if you dont believe in it.78 Mircea Eliade, the renowned historian of religions, has remarked that the so-called unreligious, secular person descends from homo religious and, whether he likes it or not, he is also the work of religious man. A purely rational man is an abstraction; he is never found in real life.79 Whether he was right or wrong, people want to have religion as an option to turn to when there is a need. 78 As quoted in, A. Pais, Inward Bound: Of Matter and Forces in the Physical World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 210. 79 Emilio Gentile, The Sacralisation of Politics: Definitions, Interpretations and Reflections on the Question of Secular Religion and Totalitarianism, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Summer 2000), p. 30, citing Eliade: nonreligious man in the pure state is a comparatively rare phenomenon, even in the most desacralized of modern societies. The majority of the irreligious still behave religiously, even though they are not aware of the factthe modern man who feels and claims that he is nonreligious still retains a large stock of camouflaged myths and degenerated rituals. Strictly speaking, the great majority of the irreligious are not liberated from religious behavior, from theologies and mythologies. In short, the majority of men without religion still hold to pseudo-religions and degenerated mythologies. 29

30 IV. Religion and the European Union Religion is once again becoming a central issue in Europe. On one side, this is part of a global religious resurgence that makes it impossible to ignore religious factors. On the other, religion is playing a greater role within Europe itself as the new EU members bring their own religious identities, and as diverse approaches fuel the debate about religions implications for defining Europeanness. Some characterize the changes dramatically, as, for example, Timothy Samuel Shah in claiming that God is winning again and Europe is experiencing a revival of religion.80 As noted earlier, the secularization process resulted from various factors and its consequences are far from clear-cut. The decline in institutional activity in all spheres of life makes it harder to predict the end of traditional religion in particular. Grasping the changes in religious behavior is, however, much more complicated than in other domains of social conduct, especially since in Europe many people regard the mere question of religious affiliation as inappropriately invasive. The Europeans stay out of institutions. They do it [believe] in their basement, so to speak, or in their living room, and its much more difficult, as a result, to study.81 A further issue is religions role in the project of European integration currently and in the future. The Church and European integration Initially European integration was a Christian Democratic project that, in the aftermath of World War II, embodied the hope that peace could be restored permanently throughout the continent. The idea of integration was approved by the Vatican, and the Church played a major role in the postwar relief efforts. Generally, the Catholic Church and Catholics supported European integration more enthusiastically than their Protestant counterparts. This fact might be explained by a historical tradition, originating in the Reformation, of church deference to, and 80 Timothy Samuel Shah, Why God Is Winning (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, July 2006). http://pewforum.org/events/?EventID=119 81 P. Berger, Secular Europe and Religious America: Implications for Transatlantic Relations (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, March 2005). http://pewforum.org/events/?EventID=76 30

31 affiliation with, state power. The position of the Orthodox Church has been traditionally more complex, as its main motive for favoring European integration concerned the general sense of solidarity with Western Christianity as against secularism and Islam.82 In the geopolitical context of the Cold War, the free world and Christian civilization became synonymous and the Church played a profound role in the prolonged antagonism between the West and the communist East.83 The founding fathers of the EU such as Adenauer, De Gaspari, and Schuman had never isolated their Christian Catholic faith; they declared it inseparable from their vision of Europe. In the 1950s many viewed the process of European integration as a Catholic conspiracy being orchestrated by the Vatican. The aims of peace and prosperity were not ascribed to mere economic or pragmatic considerations; many saw the European ideal as a powerful vision originating in religious faith.84 The popes strongly supported the integration, hoping the Church would play a vigorous public part in it and emphasizing the historical role of Christianity. Pope Pius XII stressed that only the Christian message, which for Europe is like the yeast in the dough, is capable together with the idea and the pursuit of the basic freedoms of the human being in a supranational community of ensuring respect for cultural diversities and the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation.85 Pope Paul VI often recalled the fact that the Christian tradition belongs essentially to Europe. Even those people who do not share our belief, even where belief is buried and extinguished, the human traces of the Gospel are still to be encountered and henceforth represent a common heritage.86 In his teachings and official statements, Pope John Paul II continued to emphasize the importance of Christian values for the European integration project. At the same time, he clearly renounced the medieval-type idea of Christian Europe as incompatible with modern Europe and with profound changes in its religious demography.87 He instead proposed that all Europeans Christians, Muslims, and 82 Daniel Philpott and Timothy Samuel Shah, Faith, Freedom, and Federation: The Role of Religious Ideas and Institutions in European Political Convergence, in Timothy A. Byrnes and Peter J. Katzenstein (eds.), Religion in an Expanding Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 61-63. 83 Casanova, Religion, European Secular Identities, p. 66. 84 P. Katzenstein, Multiple Modernities and Secular Europeanization?, in Timothy A. Byrnes and Peter J. Katzenstein (eds.), Religion in an Expanding Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 17, 32; Felipe Basabe Llorens, The Roman Catholic Church and the European Union: An Emergent Lobby? (Brussels: European Interuniversity Press, 1996), p. 20. 85 Pius XII quoted in Llorens, ibid., p. 21. 86 Paul VI quoted in Llorens, ibid., p. 22. 87 Ibid., pp. 22-23. 31

32 Jews should respect each other as the sons of one God and that this fundamental principle should provide the basis for interreligious contacts. According to the social doctrine of the Church, four core values should be cherished by all people: truth, justice, love, and freedom. Although the Church cannot monopolize these values, it has traditionally served as their most steadfast proponent (at least declaratively). The Church would have liked these principles to form the foundation of the EU project, with recognition of the Churchs considerable role in their elaboration.88 The position of the Catholic Church was not elaborated as a response to geopolitical developments; it was mainly rooted in a historical understanding of the European project. Europe was traditionally defined as a continent of Christianity, even though most geographers do not regard it as a continent at all.89 Although all the relevant historical periods contributed to the idea of Europe, the Renaissance is considered to be the period when this idea was most significantly shaped and became a commonplace in European thought and practice. The humanist Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, who became Pope Pius II (1458-1464), famously equated the medieval term Respublica christiana with Europe, and also is believed to be among the first to use the adjective europeus (European). Thomas More, Erasmus, Juan Luis Vives, and many other Renaissance humanists identified Europe with Christendom and used these notions interchangeably.90 For them the European integration was completed once the vast majority of the population professed the Christian faith; the most powerful symbol of Europe was religion. Religion in the modern European context The modern designers and proponents of the European integration also had to offer a particular image of Europe to the Europeans, both civic and cultural, as they had to give meaning to the mere notion of Europeans and to define the nature of such an affiliation. The civic symbols include the election of the European Parliament, the 88 See, Andrea Tornielli, Pope Wojtilas Peace, Evropa, Issue 2 (15) (2005), pp. 23-65. 89 Michael Bruter, Citizens of Europe?: The Emergence of a Mass European Identity (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), p. 81. 90 John A. Marino, The Invention of Europe, in John Jeffries Martin (ed.), The Renaissance World (New York and London: Routledge, 2007), p. 141; see also, ibid., pp. 572-88 (ch. 29: Susan R. Boettcher, Humanism and the Dream of Christian Unity). 32

33 single currency, the common European passport along with the joint foreign and security policy, regulating rules of trade and other issues that have traditionally been under state authority. Cultural symbols refer mainly to the historical heritage of the European space, the common cultural roots of the European community. These include the EU flag or the Day of Europe, which are means to convey specific cultural meanings and messages. Although Europe as a supranational entity needs both kinds of symbols, it seems clear that the civic integration of Europe has been proceeding much faster than the cultural one. This not only reflects a lack of will but also the continuing search for pan-European identity. The European integration process has always involved two parallel ideological streams: (1) the movement toward Community, as an idea of cooperation between member states; and (2) the movement toward Union, as an idea of supranational entity. Although there are still expressions of Community symbols such as the election of the European Parliament, which respects national voting systems, or the design of the Euro coins that carry a national face together with a European one, these are mainly civic symbols. Almost all the EUs cultural symbols represent an idea of Union as the founding fathers had a much more ambitious objective than simple international cooperation.91 It is interesting to trace certain religious or antireligious origins of the symbols of the EU. As mentioned earlier, religion has not influenced the social reality positively, as an immediate operator, but usually has worked negatively, as an object of criticism and indignation. More important is that it has retained its power of reference, which is a potent symbolic operator. Although officially the EU flag with its twelve stars is a symbol of perfection and harmony, in many countries it is interpreted in a religious context the number of Tribes of Israel.92 On the other hand, the European anthem Ode to Joy was originally a tribute to human freedom, suppressed inter alia by the Church in that period. Its lyrics concerned the entering of the shrine of a pagan goddess and the uniting of all men in brotherhood by the power of magic. The EU Parliament has deliberately been designed to represent the Tower of Babel; to some this might seem an attempt to reverse Gods judgment on Babel and turn linguistic chaos into unity with a positive significance: many tongues, one voice. References to Christianity continue to be privileged in the definition of symbolic belonging to 91 Bruter, Citizens of Europe?, pp. 86-87. 92 See for example, Magnus Hagevi, Religiosity and Swedish Opinion on the European Union, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 41, No. 4 (2002), pp. 759-69. 33

34 Europe. It was, surprisingly, the Council of Europe that took a pioneering role in this process. When the Cultural Routes of Europe program was launched in 1987, its first act was to restore the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, the important ninth- century pilgrimage route, which was later followed by other sacred pathways.93 Of course, these are not solely factual arguments but are meant to emphasize the presence of a religious narrative in the European reservoir of interpretations, even if all of it is just a figment of imagination. European memory will continue to refer to its religious past and to find it even in places where it has never existed. Furthermore, no term exists in full isolation, and the mere word religion is also part of a network of other words. In Augustines De Vera Religione, religion is part of a semantic system that includes faith, piety, the ethics and aesthetics of the Good and the Beautiful. Today religion is part of a European semantic system that includes, in addition to Augustines notions, myth, spirituality, mystical experience, reenchantment, holistic notions of health and self-help. All these are increasingly present in modern Europe, and this fact is evidence for the continuing existence of the religious.94 For example, there is a recent European tendency of return to mythological modes of thinking and imaging, though this seems to be a broader Western phenomenon. The tendency may be traced in the world of books where Harry Potter is the prime example, in the world of films (and books) where Lord of the Rings or The Da Vinci Code attract a huge audience, or in the emerging (or, actually, reemerging from medieval times) belief in contemporary Western societies in the activity of ghosts and angels. The popularity of such themes is a strong indicator of dominant cultural thematics and another justification for the postsecular characterization of a world in which religion is attaining new, visible forms in the public sphere.95 93 Schlesinger and Foret, Political Roof, p. 73. 94 Graham Ward, The Future of Religion, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 74, No. 1 (March 2006), pp. 179-86. However, defining the term religious is highly complicated and depends on the country and its unique historical and cultural situation. 95 Ibid., p. 183. 34

35 The resurrection of religion The return of God to the European public discourse is not a triumphant return of faith (actually it has never disappeared but rather changed its shape), but mainly the result of recent social developments in the European public space. Besides the substantive reasons for the strength of religion that were reviewed above, below are the main factors that contribute to the resurrection of religious issues in Europe. Factors: 1. The debates about a reference to religion in the preamble to the European Constitution have manifested considerable division on this issue among the EU leaders. However, this mere fact demonstrates the continuing importance of the religious factor in defining the constitutional basis of the European Union and emphasizes the presence of two equally powerful ideological camps. The final version of the preamble to the draft constitution reads as follows: DRAWING INSPIRATION from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, from which have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law.96 Although no consensus emerged on direct reference to Christianity or God, even a reference to the religious heritage on the same footing as the cultural and humanist ones might be a noteworthy step when compared with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.97 Although this time the secular approach has prevailed, the controversies are likely to continue as the pro-Christian camp will hardly agree to political exclusion of its views from the basic document of the emerging Europe. 2. The enlargement of the EU seems to have an intensifying effect on religion rather than a diminishing one.98 Europeans are growing more and more aware that religion, and precisely Christianity, is inseparable from the current 96 See, Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe, Official Journal of the European Union, December 16, 2004, p. 3. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/JOHtml.do?uri=OJ:C:2004:310:SOM:EN:HTML 97 Schlesinger and Foret, Political Roof, p. 74. 98 Katzenstein, Multiple Modernities, p. 2. 35

36 developments in the nature of social life, not least because of the new religious Europeans who have joined the EU. Poland, which joined in 2004 and is the largest country to have done so, has significantly reinforced the religious dimension of European politics. Since the Cold War era and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, East and Central European states have experienced a religious revival. New members of the European club such as Poland, Malta, and Slovakia, and countries that may join in the future such as Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, and Georgia, are profoundly influenced by traditional values among which religious belief is the central one.99 3. The possible accession of Turkey to the EU has always been much more than a mere structural or political adjustment of Turkey to the Unions norms and standards. It has always involved a religious factor as well. The Church traditionally favored eastward enlargement of the EU, and at least officially did not oppose the accession of Turkey.100 In 2007 the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said that if fundamental rules of cohabitation were respected, building together a common future was possible also with [Turkeys] entry in Europe.101 A dialogue based on religion would seem to be the only solution for bridging the gap between the EU and Turkey, or as Oliver Roy noted, what is most crucial is Europes capacity to embrace Islam as a European religion.102 However, Islam for its part will have to adapt to the European space and embrace the unique European features.103 4. Muslim immigration is one of the most powerful factors for the revival of religious narratives in Europe. As New York Times reporter Diane Pinto commented in 2004, [the French] are all too aware that their nation is a boat with a complex religious balance, one that could easily be upset with the 99 For an extensive examination of Catholicism and Orthodoxy in Europe see, Timothy A. Byrnes and Peter J. Katzenstein (eds.), Religion in an Expanding Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006). 100 Philpott and Shah, Faith, Freedom, p. 61. 101 Lucia Kubosova, Vatican Signals Support for Turkeys EU Bid, EUobserver, May 31, 2007. 102 Quoted in, William W. Finan, Jr., Wrestling with Euro-Islam, Current History (March 2007), p. 142. 103 For further reading see, Nimrod Goren and Amikam Nachmani (eds.), The Importance of Being European: Turkey, the EU and the Middle East (Jerusalem: Conference and Lecture Series 4, European Forum at the Hebrew University, 2007). 36

37 arrival of a particularly boisterous passenger, modern Islam. It has proved to be problematic for the French state, not because many consider it to be an outsider, non-European religion but because integrating it within the republic in the spirit of todays pluralist and multicultural outlook could awaken the jealousy of the other domesticated religions, which were never given such a choice.104 The continuing influx of immigrants, mainly of Muslim origin, who openly embrace their identity based on religious affiliation as a response to real or imaginary grievances or as a matter of conscious decision, is one of the pivotal developments on the continent. Traditionally, the European relationship to Islam as a constitutive other has been noteworthy irrespective of the contribution of Arab civilization to the European world.105 With an increasing number of immigrants residing permanently within their borders, culturally Christian European countries are intensely debating what it means to belong to the nation and participate as a full member of society. Muslims may serve as a stimulus for the discourse on the role of religion in European identity, and for a process of European self-understanding. Nevertheless, European Islam exists in its particular form and does not simply import norms and customs from Islamic countries.106 Immigrants indeed bring their unique culture, tradition, and beliefs, but with time this baggage is altered by local specificities. Some argue that Islam is inherently compatible with the Western tradition and democracy and, in its European forms, shares the values of separation of religion and state, tolerance, human rights, pluralism, and civil society.107 In any case, Turkish Islam will have to adapt to Europe, but Europe will also have to adapt to Islam and admit that Muslims are no longer a marginal factor but, rather, the key for any European processes.108 104 Diane Pinto, Head Scarves and History: The Long Bloody Path That Led to French Secularism, International Herald Tribune, January 8, 2004. http://www.iht.com/articles/2004/01/08/edpinto_ed3_.php 105 Schlesinger and Foret, Political Roof , p. 71. 106 See, Mustafa Ceric, Is There an Identity of European Muslims? Forum Bosnae, Issue 39 (2007), pp. 166-71. 107 See, Bassam Tibi, Islam between Culture and Politics (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001); also, Reuven Amitai and Amikam Nachmani (eds.), Islam in Europe: Case Studies, Comparisons and Overviews (Jerusalem: Conference and Lecture Series 5, European Forum at the Hebrew University, 2007). 108 Davie, Religion in Europe, p. 294; see also, Zachary Shore, Muslim Europe and the Atlantic Divide, AICGS Research Paper, 2004. 37

38 The social strength of the Church The Church retains great social strength. It is still appreciated both by believers and those who rarely use its services. The massive gathering of the faithful in Rome for the funeral of Pope John Paul II in April 2005 should also be seen as a manifestation of the Churchs authority and prestige. Hundreds of world leaders gathered to pay tribute to a man whose political activism on almost all the issues of the modern world gained him a central role in international politics. John Paul II tried to keep religion outside of purely political issues while consistently basing his arguments on moral and spiritual foundations. He stressed that religion should not be a part of the state, but rather the guarantor of its moral conduct. His role in the collapse of Soviet communism is considered an extraordinary historical achievement. He was, however, in the tradition of the strict Catholic anticommunism that has contributed to the widespread perception that the Church was de facto aligned with Western policy in Europe. John Paul II saw the emerging process of European integration as a chance for renewed European evangelization, taking into account that it was in the Holy Sees interest to preserve Europes secular status and thereby enable religion to be the ultimate arbiter in spiritual matters.109 The goal is not to confront secularity as such but to imbue it with Christian characteristics, to elaborate a unique Christian- European secularism. The opinion of the Church on various matters of public concern is widely taken into account, not always as a practical guide for action but rather as a symbolically significant factor. Be it the war in Iraq or various family issues, the Church plays a considerable part in public considerations. The Church is not only a theological institution but a player on the international political stage. It is a transnational organization that fits Samuel Huntingtons model: first, it is large, hierarchically organized, and has a centrally directed bureaucracy. Second, it has a relatively limited, specialized, and in some sense technical function. (For instance, gathering intelligence, investing money, transmitting messages, promoting sales, producing copper, delivering bombs, saving souls. Third, such an organization conducts its activities across one or more international boundaries and, as far as possible, in 109 J. Bryan Hehir, The Old Church and the New Europe: Charting the Changes, in Timothy A. Byrnes and Peter J. Katzenstein (eds.), Religion in an Expanding Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 101-12. 38

39 relative disregard of those boundaries. Such organizations are, in short, transnational organizations, and the activities in which they engage are transnational operations.110 Such features are less relevant to Orthodox and Protestant churches as they lack supranational structures and are more connected to the individual nations. Because of the organizational nature of the Catholic Church, the Pope is globally perceived as the highest Christian authority even if on the individual level he has no more power than Protestant or Orthodox bishops. This also happens because of the popes pompous and spectacular public appearances, which attract great interest and detailed media coverage making an impression even if on an unconscious level. The question, though, is not simply what the Church and its leaders say or preach; for many in Europe the pope is a kind of charismatic totem rather than a source of authority on life-styles, family organization, or sexual behavior.111 Such a totemic quality still has powerful implications for the Churchs influence in Europe, and the effect is hardly likely to evaporate soon. The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument.112 Paradoxically, the most rational argument justifying the existence of the Church is the historical fact that it has survived all its adversaries and continues to influence the vast majority of people through rather irrational reasoning. Denationalization in Europe and European Identity The shift from the national identity to the pan-European one is among the most important elements in the deepening of integration. However, this goal is still more an ideal than a reality. European identity remains a purely national affair, and is still a 110 S. Huntington, Transnational Organizations in World Politics, World Politics, Vol. 25, No. 3 (April 1973), p. 333; see also, Hehir, The Old Church, pp. 93-101. 111 Martin, On Secularization, p. 87. 112 First encyclical letter from Pope Benedict XVI, 25 January 2006: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben- xvi_enc_20051225_deus-caritas-est_en.html 39

40 function of multiple approaches to what Europe should or could be.113 Nation as the main identity framework is still strong and controls many of the local processes; however, its authority has been profoundly challenged by globalization. One of the spheres where the nation-state has lost much of its dominance is economics, which has become more international in nature and more dependent on global developments. The world is becoming a sophisticated, unitary mechanism, and the economic independence of the nation-state is more an illusion than a reality.114 Traditional political institutions have less control over the processes that traditionally have been under their ultimate monopoly. Nation-states are ceding their authority to the supranational entities of which the EU is the best example. As people transfer their trust to pan-European organizations, their trust in national institutions continues to fall.115 People tend to trust professional or elite institutions. Democratic publics in advanced democracies generally like and trust insulated institutions armies, police, constitutional courts and administrative bureaucracies, for example more than legislatures or political parties. The same holds internationally, where institutions like the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg command great legitimacy despite their near total lack of direct democratic legitimacy.116 In the European context this process of globalization and integration leads to a shift in the main indicator of the political identity of the citizens: a citizen is someone who pays taxes.117 Such a bureaucratic definition alone cannot construct the European identity; it lacks the cultural glue. Nor, in the linguistic regard, is there European homogeneity: those who speak English are not necessarily Europeans as it is a universal lingua franca. Strictly speaking, Europeans are only those who are able to communicate in more than two conference languages in addition to their mother tongue and English.118 However, such cases are extremely rare, even among the officials of the European Commission. One may argue that Latin is the common 113 P. Nitschke, European Identity and the Christian Heritage, International Issues and Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs, Issue 1 (2006), p. 53. 114 See, G. Soros, Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism (London: Little, Brown, 2000); N. Hertz, The Silent Takeover (London: William Heinemann, 2001), esp. ch. 4, Shop, Dont Vote. 115 Eurobarometer 69, 2008. 116 A. Moravcsic, What Can We Learn from the Collapse of the European Constitutional Project? Politische Vierteljahresschrift, Vol. 47, No. 2 (June 2006). p. 232. 117 Nitschke, European Identity, p. 54. 118 Ibid., p. 55. 40

41 source of most European languages, but practically the only institution that insists on using it is the Church.119 Generally, social solidarity may be defined as a certain attachment between people based on a shared cultural inheritance, a religion or several confessions of a religion, a shared history and memory of common achievements and failures, common values and norms, a shared understanding of national belonging that includes linguistic homogeneity, and finally on the political will of all involved.120 Although European nations share many of these core elements of the identity-building process, there is no consensus on the goals of European integration. If it is assumed that the EU will continue toward deeper merging and political unity, then the role of religion should be examined more thoroughly. It must be taken into account that over the past three centuries, state, society, and confession have been the main elements of nation- building.121 This fact still has much symbolic power in the European context. If there is no way to escape globalization, there may be different forms of globalization that could also function on the local level, thus retaining the sense of belonging. Christianity (especially Catholicism) has a great advantage in the combination of its global (in this case pan-European) pretensions with its massive local presence and capacities. The extensive globalization of cultural forms and political values makes it more difficult for Europeans to define their constitutive shared elements of identity. In this case religion or more precisely, the unique local forms of religion and their European characteristics may be one of the minimal common denominators for most of the citizens.122 119 For a detailed analysis of the role of the language in nation-building see, John Joseph, Language and Identity: National, Ethnic, Religious (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), esp. pp. 92-125. 120 See, Ernst-Wolfgang Bckenfrde, Conditions for European Solidarity, in Krzysztof Michalski (ed.), What Holds Europe Together? (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2006), pp. 30-41. 121 Nitschke, European Identity, p. 60. 122 Also see, Evert van der Zweerde, Europe: Is it a Christian Super-nation in a Uniting World?, Evropa, Issue 1 (2) (2002), pp. 129-51. 41

42 V. The Future of Religion in Europe It is not easy to predict the role of the Church, and more broadly of religion, in the near or more distant future. Following are some reflections, suggesting that the role of God in European social and political discourses will intensify rather than diminish. Such an assertion is based on certain aspects of the latest European developments and also on the nature of religion. Certain factors appear constitutive for the future evolvement of the situation. Religion and democracy Also relevant here is the complex relationship between religion and democracy. For a very long time these two forces shared only a mutual enmity and sense of insecurity; they were perceived as totally alternative principles of social organization. It was widely accepted that the spirit of freedom could not be reconciled with dogmatism, nor individual responsibility in this world with divine providence. In the European context the issue was not only of a rational nature, but more of an emotional one; the malignant misuse of religious feeling by the so-called political religions, of which Nazism was undoubtedly the most evil of all, had painful results. Throughout history Europe has experienced the horror of godlike rulers with apocalyptic notions of their mission on earth, commanded directly by providence. These individuals were usually capable of inspiring mass emotion that sooner or later erupted in hatred and madness. However, from the standpoint of an assumed mutual respect between religion and democracy, no one has presented a more influential rationale than Alexis de Tocqueville. Citing American experience, he undermined the generally taken-for- granted (even in his times), mutual exclusion between religion and democracy, and instead pondered the issue seriously and without prejudices. For Tocqueville, Europe was Christendom, the cradle of faith; it had, however, failed to realize its own ideals at home. In Europe Christianity has been ultimately united to the powers of the earth. Those powers are now in decay, and it is, as it were, bound under their ruins.123 The 123 Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (trans. Henry Reeve) (Cambridge: Sever & Francis, 1850), Vol. 1, p. 402. 42

43 project of establishing a true political democracy in Europe had heretofore failed primarily because of the inability or unwillingness of its people and sovereigns to integrate the two most important elements of the American project: the spirit of Religion and the spirit of Liberty.124 Although Tocqueville regarded the process of European democratization as inevitable and welcome, this process alone could not guarantee freedom and liberal democracy. He foresaw that it could also lead to tyranny unprecedented in its degree of brutality and evil; religion was crucial in preventing such a possibility. Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot.125 Yet, in European history even tyrannies and totalitarian regimes have sought spiritual means for more effective enforcement of their authority. Too often Christianity has failed to confront these challenges, thereby diminishing its authority as a spiritual instructor. Contrary to its fundamental tenet, it has abstained from taking sides even when the distinction between the good and the evil could not have been clearer. This poor historical record, however, says nothing about the nature of religious dogmas, but instead points to the regrettable fact that the Christian teaching has fostered few true adherents. Still, Christianity has always had an impressive capacity to mobilize the masses and construct grandiose common goals for which people were ready to fight and sacrifice; it has succeeded in inventing an idea and in preaching it. Religious nations are naturally strong on the very point on which democratic nations are weak, as religion generates principles diametrically opposed to the ethos of individual independence.126 A true democracy rests on constitutional agreements, but those alone are not enough. Any state needs the mores of its society, which embrace both the habits of the heart and opinion. Religion is the most powerful source of both.127 The constitutional agreements should necessarily include a separation of church and state. This has been achieved only in America; Europe has made religion too politically engaged and earthly, thereby depriving it of spiritual authority. Thus, the indirect influence of religion is, according to Tocqueville, extremely important and instructive for maintaining democracy. Religion is entrusted to look out for morality; this is especially important as the taste of well-being is the prominent and indelible feature 124 Ibid., pp. 53, 392. 125 Ibid., p. 393. 126 Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (trans. Henry Reeve) (Cambridge: Sever & Francis, 1863), Vol. 2, p. 25. 127 Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. 1, p. 383. 43

44 of democratic times.128 Democratization has brought with it the strengthening of individuality and materialism as the uniqueness of the person becomes the ultimate feature of the age. Such an enhanced differentiation of individual aspirations can actually lead to the enfeeblement of the community. Tocqueville stressed that only the prospect of some future good would induce people to subordinate their selfishness to common purposes. There are many sacrifices which can only find their recompense in another [world];129 religion was, hence, crucial in granting people the sense of justice along with confidence in their ability to cope with the problems of the age. I know not what could restore the Christian Church of Europe to the energy of its earlier days; that power belongs to God alone; but it may be for human policy to leave to faith the full exercise of the strength which it still retains.130 In his work Tocqueville elaborated important insights on the complex relationship between religion and democracy. In his view, Christianity was the fertile soil that gave democracy life; Europe thus would remain democratic so long as it appreciated and supported the achievements of the religious spirit. Christianity, for its part, needed to undergo a transformation and devote itself only to the nourishing of the soul. Morality and the human virtues should be its main objects of concern. Pursuing narrow political goals could be catastrophic for the Church and more generally for any religion; indeed, this inability to distinguish between religious doctrines on the one hand and political maxims, civil and criminal laws, and scientific theories on the other was sufficient to explain the lack of democracy in Muslim countries. Tocqueville thought Mohammeds teaching had made it almost impossible to separate religion and state, and the historical truth of that view is evident.131 The process of European integration is far from over, and Tocquevilles assertions should be taken into account both by political and religious leaderships. The age of religion in Europe, when the Church controlled almost all spheres of public life, proved disastrous for many aspects of human freedom. A fully secular age, however, may turn out to be no less perilous. The dominant discourses in Europe prefer to retain the idea of a homogenized secular identity; secular neutrality is believed to be the only guarantee of a tolerant, pluralist ethos in the emerging EU. Paradoxically, 128 Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. 2, p. 30. 129 Ibid., p. 152. 130 Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. 1, p. 402. See also, Hillel Fradkin, Does Democracy Need Religion? Journal of Democracy, Vol. 11, No. 1 (2000), pp. 87-94. 131 Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. 2, p. 26. 44

45 though, this neutrality, which seems to uphold freedom and individual autonomy, suppresses public manifestations of religious beliefs and keeps them private so as not to disturb the project of a modern, secular and enlightened Europe.132 America vs. Europe There are certain populations in Europe whose unbelief is only equaled by their ignorance and debasement; whilst in America, one of the freest and enlightened nations in the world [they] fulfill with fervor all the outward duties of religion.133 This gap between America and Europe is almost as relevant in our day as it was in Tocquevilles. Religion and God have retained their central position in the American public discourse. Even during the last elections when it seemed that in some sense a new America was emerging, neither Obama nor McCain dared to question Gods centrality for the American nation, presenting themselves as the knights of faith and the guardians of the heavenly order. It was accurately predicted that the so-called God Gap between Democrats and Republicans would diminish and even close.134 John B. Judis argued that traditionally three basic factors have influenced American (especially foreign) policy: (1) the belief that the United States is a chosen nation; (2) the belief that the United States is obligated to improve the world; and (3) the belief that the United States represents the forces of light fighting against the forces of evil.135 However true, religious activity in America may be characterized as highly liberal. Although there are, of course, groups that interpret religious traditions and doctrines in an extremist manner, the religious market in the United States is characterized by a high degree of diversity and tolerance.136 A Pew Forum survey found that constant 132 Casanova, Religion, European Secular Identities, pp. 66-67. 133 Ibid., p. 394. 134 See, Ammy Sullivan, The Origins of the God Gap, Time, July 12, 2007. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1642651,00.html; see, Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Is the God Gap Closing? (February 2008). http://pewforum.org/events/?EventID=171; see also, Charles H. Mathewes, Religion in the United States, in Reconciling Religion and Public Life: Essays on Pluralism and Fundamentalism, AICGS Workshop on German-American Issues 7 (2007), pp. 7-17. 135 John B. Judis, The Chosen Nation: The Influence of Religion on U.S. Foreign Policy, Policy Brief 37 (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 2005). 136 See, Joshua J. Yates, Disturbing Fundamentalism, AICGS Workshop, IssueBrief No. 13 (January 2007), pp. 1-7. 45

46 movement is one of the distinguishing features of the American religious marketplace as every major religious group is simultaneously gaining and losing adherents. Such competitiveness is also a feature of a highly democratic culture; paradoxically, it helps determine the broader understanding of what are the core elements shared by all religions or religious denominations. When people are able to compare and weigh all pros and cons both rationally and emotionally, they do not have to make an ultimate choice. Instead they regard the lifelong search for meaning and God as a process, and acquire the ability to integrate between religious worldviews; they tend more to integrate than to differentiate. The lack of dogmatism in American religion may well reflect the great diversity of religious affiliation, of beliefs and practices. For example, while 92% of Americans believe in the existence of God or a universal spirit, there is considerable variation in the nature and certainty of this belief. Nevertheless, though religion remains a powerful force in the private and public lives of most Americans, the United States has not fully avoided the secularizing trends common in Europe. The number of Americans who are not affiliated with a religion has grown significantly in recent decades, with the number of people who today say they are unaffiliated with a religious tradition (16% of U.S. adults) is more than double the number who say they were not affiliated with a religion as children (7%).137 However, One nation under God (from the Pledge of Allegiance) is still a consensus issue in American society, and this is not likely to change in the foreseeable future. In any case, the high number of believers in the United States further underlines the exceptionality of Europe. It shows that modernity, industrialization, and economic prosperity do not necessarily push religion out of the social space. Whereas Americans view pluralism as the insurance against the domination of any religion, for Europeans this insurance is the restriction of religion in the public sphere.138 The explanation for this transatlantic gap may lie in the different historical circumstances. Whereas in the United States religion has been a uniting factor, in Europe it has been a dividing and repressive force for a lengthy period. Religion and more specifically the Church still bear traumatic memories for the European nations; Christianity has fallen victim to its own role of earthly arbiter in becoming too closely affiliated with politics, sometimes absorbing it and sometimes becoming a part of it. 137 See, The Pew Report on Religion and Public Life, U.S. Religious Landscape Survey: Religious Beliefs and Practices, (May-March 2007). http://religions.pewforum.org/reports# 138 Verclas, Religion and Its Impact, p. 4. 46

47 However, in recent decades the religious authorities in Europe have seemed to take past mistakes into account and returned to the role of a primarily spiritual authority whose main object of concern is the human soul. The Churchs political neutrality and shift to its internal matters could bring European religious patterns closer to the American ones. Europe has much to learn from the American example and could use it to elaborate and perfect its own experience. It could be claimed that religion should not be treated as an object of improvement or planning, being a spontaneous demonstration of feelings and faith. Realistically, however, religious authorities play a crucial role in defining the function of religion. It is up to them to demonstrate goodwill and tolerance, to support certain reforms in the anachronistic structure and tenets of religion, and to emphasize the most widely accepted principles that might make it possible to establish a common ground for all citizens of the European Union whatever their religious affiliation. Reasons for the future strength of religion 1. In the near future the project of European integration will confront a significant choice between a further deepening of integration aiming at the emergence of pan-European identity, a kind of European citizenship both in the bureaucratic and cultural senses, or a less far-reaching scheme involving the narrow definition of the political unity of states as a shared continent and shared rituals of mourning and confessions of collective guilt.139 To be sure, the European nations have a glorious history and share great achievements that have benefited all of humanity; what is in question is the sustainability of that greatness. It is a historical fact that traumatic past usually has great tenacity, and it has rarely volunteered to sacrifice itself for the prosperity of the present or the sake of the future. The common memory of past horrors may indeed be a much more powerful component of the common European identity than the bright prospects of the times to come. Still, if Europe chooses the path of 139 Bernhard Giesen, The Collective Identity of Europe: Constitutional Practice or Community of Memory?, in Willfried Spohn and Anna Triandafyllidou (eds.), Europeanisation, National Identities and Migration: Changes in Boundary Constructions between Western and Eastern Europe (London and New York: Routledge, 2003), pp. 32-33. 47

48 deeper integration and proceeds toward Europeanness, Christian religion will play a profound role in this project. Up to the present, the Church is the only spiritual symbol shared by the vast majority of Europeans. It could be objected that there are shared and no less constitutive values of openness, tolerance, humanism, democracy, peace, and others that foster a common Western ideal. However, all these have been elaborated through a constant dialogue or confrontation with the Church. Christianity has always been the object of reference, both positively and negatively; such a historical context cannot evaporate in the near future. In the long run the quest for identity will have to take into account the Christian memory, and even those Europeans who have contrary religious views or affiliate with religions other than Christianity will have to face this fact. 2. In the postmodern world where the inapprehensible universe is exposed rather than explained, people will to continue to appreciate the tranquility that religion can provide. Science has not succeeded in giving a comprehensive picture of the world; it has always lacked understanding of the origins of the cosmos and never actually confronted the question of its rationale. Euclidean geometry had been serving humanity for two thousand years when Transylvanian mathematician Jnos Bolyai managed to prove that hyperbolic geometry could provide better descriptions of the world. The same occurred in physics when the quantum theory was developed, and the list goes on. Undoubtedly the sciences have made great progress, especially since the twentieth century. Throughout history, however, religion has survived a considerable number of scientific revolutions and still managed to provide meaning to millions of men and women. 3. In modern Europe, religion does not pretend to govern all spheres of human life; nor does it have the capacity to do so. The two alternatives a scientific viewpoint and a religious one are not fully oppositional. Such a strict dichotomy may perhaps have prevailed in other epochs when the Church desired to rule the world.140 Instead, today religion claims to set the boundaries of human capabilities and encourage awareness that the black holes of the universe and the Big Bang at the beginning of time are still far 140 Albert Hauck, Innocent III Desired to Rule the World, in J.M. Powell (ed.), Innocent III: Vicar of Christ or Lord of the World? (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1994), p. 15. 48

49 from being fully comprehended. Religion will continue to emphasize the fragility of all that is temporal and to enable man to transcend himself.141 4. Religion is not only a set of rules, norms, and practical prescriptions. It is also a source of the most inspiring ideals that humanity has known. The values that Christianity has traditionally proclaimed offer powerful motivation to aspire to better the world and to improve human nature, or at least to bring human conduct in this world closer to the values of tolerance and love. Even if these aims are unrealizable and visionary, human reason needs such ideals in order to regulate both its theoretical and practical conduct. Absolute models of perfection may serve as an elusive horizon, but still one where the earth touches the sky and the impossible turns into the feasible. Christianity in Europe is still the most fertile source of social and individual ideals, and no rival has yet appeared that could challenge this dominance. 5. Although the doctrine of Christianity is dogmatic in nature and purports to remain unaffected by temporal circumstances, it has nevertheless changed both institutionally and substantively. The Church does not refrain from using modern arguments, takes into account numerous political, social, and economic factors, and acts in many spheres as an earthly organization. One example of such a transformation is a claim made by the president of the Vaticans Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Alfonso Lpez Trujillo, that condoms do not protect against AIDS. The Aids virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the net that is formed by the condom.142 Whatever the medical value of the statement, it represents the use of a scientific argument instead of basing the Churchs position on morality or a theological rationale. The Church is fully aware that the challenges of modernity can be managed only if they are addressed. Its relevancy will depend on its ability to face the most crucial problems of humanity and provide a voice of morality and virtue in times when those two notions are not only attacked from all directions but, worse, are more the objects of lip service than of sincerity. Tocqueville remarked that as all religions have general and eternal truths for their object, they cannot thus shape themselves to the shifting inclinations of every age without 141 See, Felipe Fernndez-Armesto, Religion (London: Phoenix, 1997). 142 Steve Bradshaw, Vatican: Condoms Dont Stop AIDS, The Guardian (October 9, 2003). 49

50 forfeiting their claim for certainty in the eyes of mankind. He adds, however, that while religions are obligated to uphold the principle opinions which constitute the creed (articles of faith), they should not bind themselves to the accessories but should leave room for flexibility, taking into account that everything is in transition.143 Some voices in the Church call for a wiser approach to the challenges of modernity; they urge leaving the ivory tower of the theologian and engaging actively in the current discourse on human issues, taking cognizance of the latest achievements of reason.144 6. The EU is facing unprecedented demographic changes that will have a major impact on the whole of society, including the role of religion. People are living longer and older people are enjoying better health. By 2030, the number of older workers (aged 55- 64) will have risen by 24 million as the baby- boomer generation become senior citizens, and the EU will have 34.7 million citizens aged over 80 (compared to 18.8 million today). Average life expectancy at 60 has risen five years since 1960 for women and nearly four years for men. The number of people 80 and older will grow by 180% by 2050. The EUs fertility rate fell to 1.48 in 2003, below the level needed to replace the population (2.1 children per woman). A special study on the issue projects that the EUs population will fall from 469.5 million in 2025 to 468.7 million in 2030. From 2005 to 2030 the number of people 65 and older will rise by 52.3% (40 million), while the age group of 15-64 will decrease by 6.8% (20.8 million). The ratio of dependent young and old people to people of working age will increase from 49% in 2005 to 66% in 2030. Offsetting the loss of working-age people will require an employment rate of over 70%.145 Apart from the economic problems Europe is expected to experience, the Church is also likely to be affected by these changes. As the elderly population grows, the need for religious ceremonies will expand. Statistics indicate that as they advance in years, up to the threshold of death, people prefer to have the Church on their side. Even profane Talleyrand preferred to reconcile with the 143 Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. 2, p. 29. 144 See, rpd Czirjk, Facts and Perspectives on the Role of Religion, Studia Universitatis Babes- Bolyai, Theologia Catholica Latina 1 (2007), pp. 69-79. 145 European Commission Rapid Press Release, European population is getting older. How will this affect us and what should we do about this? (March 2005). 50

51 Church shortly before his death; as someone said of him, all his life he deceived God and fooled Satan at his death. 7. Christianity also has a powerful physical presence in the European landscape. Wherever ones goes there are numerous Christian symbols such as churches, popular festivals originating in religious practice, ceremonies with evident Christian origins, and so on. The shaping of time and space is also significantly influenced by religious tradition, as, for example, years and weeks that follow the Christian cycle. Churches are today not only places for religious services and assemblies, but also for cultural events musical, theatrical, and literary, and more broadly, places where important social issues are debated. To be sure, the skyline of European cities is increasingly heterogeneous as large populations, mostly immigrants, profess diverse religious faiths. But the dominant Christian symbols of European society will retain their power over the social discourse, and will continue their physical presence for the foreseeable future. 8. Religion will likely preserve its power of reference in Europe and its relevancy, which derive directly from ineluctable historical circumstances. Christianitys role in shaping the European identity is indeed constitutive and does not operate solely on the individual level. As Joseph Weiler put it, such an approach ghettoizes Christianity and fails to acknowledge the Christian role in the formation of the European demos, and in providing the states with an administrative model, theories of legal legitimation, and rituals to emulate.146 9. The European integration process appears unable to advance in the way it has been negotiated so far. It cannot be based solely on economic calculations and bureaucratic integration; these aspects must be accompanied by identity- building efforts. Perhaps the French and Dutch voters rejection of the European Constitution in 2005 will prove more beneficial than disastrous; it has underlined the need for a more complex and thorough approach to the question of European identity as the most solid foundation for the future Europe. In this regard, the quality of the European identity will be measured 146 See: Joseph Weiler, A Christian Europe?: Rules of Commitment, European View, Vol. 6, No. 1 (December 2007), pp. 143-50; Ernst Kantorowicz, The Kings Two Bodies: A Study in Medieval Political Theology (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957). 51

52 by its ability to exceed the national boundaries and unite all the citizens under a single supranational authority. Therefore, it might not be a bad idea to re- establish a utopian thinking and to introduce a new grand design aiming at much deeper integration.147 In that case Christianity, as well as other religious denominations affecting the European public space, could play an important role in elaborating the shared elements of the European identity. 147 Nitschke, European Identity, p. 55. 52

53 Conclusion European modernity has introduced many splendid innovations into this world. It has gained for mankind much more power and freedom than ever before. Science has made us gods even before we are worthy of being men, Jean Rostand once remarked, and rightly pointed to the regrettable fact that progress in medicine has consistently been accompanied by progress in the methods of killing. Reason has turned out to be less omnipotent and much more dangerous than the great Enlightenment thinkers could have imagined. The sense of being almighty, and the ambition to exceed all boundaries, turned out to be perilous not only for Europe but for the whole world. In this regard religion has retained its power as a virtual restriction of the human pretension to achieve the unachievable, and of the urge to remove all moral constraints on such pretension. Conversely, the religious fundamentalism introduced into the world particularly in recent decades has shown that dogmatic thought can engender human blindness and a readiness to kill and destroy. The uniqueness of the European experience is its ability to acknowledge the dignity of difference, which derives, at least partly, from the prolonged inter-Church disputes between the Christian churches, the bloody conflicts between the Church and the secular rulers, the wars motivated by religious differences, totalitarianism and its misuse of religious sentiments, and other traumatic experiences, which altogether have fostered modern Europe its political, cultural, and social forms. All those historical circumstances resulted in the Wests acknowledgment that certain values such as tolerance, peace, harmony, and democracy should be cultivated and preserved, and that political institutions should reflect their importance in the organizational structure. Religion has been the central factor in these processes and usually operated as their catalyst in various ways. According to the Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowksi, the most dangerous characteristic of modernity can be expressed in one phrase: the disappearance of taboos.148 By taboo he does not seem to mean arbitrary or compulsory edicts unsupported by any rationale; the vanishing of such taboos is of course welcome. He instead means the disappearance of certain cultural and normative prescriptions that have regulated human conduct throughout history. Rapid technological and scientific 148 Kolakowski, Modernity, p. 13 (see ch. 1, Modernity on Endless Trial). 53

54 progress has challenged many traditional habits and beliefs, introducing relativism into all spheres of social and individual life. Modern Europe is one of the best examples of aggressive democratization overturning almost all the barriers that had been thought sacred and unalterable. Nevertheless, various traditional human bonds that make communal life possible, and without which our existence would be regulated only by greed and fear, are not likely to survive without a taboo system, and it is perhaps better to believe in the validity of even apparently silly taboos than to let them all vanish.149 Throughout history Christianity has produced (or transmitted) multiple taboos many of which still define peoples behavior (even if indirectly), and once rationality loses its authority and reveals its inability to produce taboos, religion is back again as a social force. When the darkest totalitarian systems recruited rationality to guide them in brutal deeds, the lack of taboo was all too evident. In the normal sense of rationality there are no more rational grounds for respecting human life and human personal rights than there are, say, for forbidding the consumption of shrimp among Jews, of meat on Friday among Christians, and of wine among Muslims. [Humanity] is compelled, in order to survive, reluctantly to restore some of those irrational values and thus to deny its [of a totalitarian system] rationality, thereby proving that perfect rationality is a self-defeating goal.150 To be sure, religion did not succeed in effectively imposing its moral decrees. That, however, remains a problem of external forms and not of substance. In Europe religion has evolved in its particular forms; it has undergone considerable transformation in order to adapt to social circumstances and remain relevant. As the process of European integration advances, it needs to be invested with spirit of some kind. Otherwise the mere notion of the European citizen is amorphous and the main glue between the nations is Brussels with its idol of departmentalism. Religion, in the broadest sense of the word, could be the spiritual catalyst for successful European integration and civil consolidation. It serves as a continuous generator of ideals; like democracy it is at the same time both the reality (democratic societies) and the aspiration to perfection. So far, no other institution has emerged that can fulfill religions role. It seems that religion will continue to bear cultural and social meanings and contribute to the quality of social cohesion. However, it is up to the religious 149 Ibid. 150 Ibid. 54

55 authorities in Europe to find the common denominator for all European religions, and to adjust this common denominator to the recent developments on the continent. The process of interreligious dialogue could result in new understanding of religions necessity and vitality for the emerging European identity, for shaping its nature and forms. Even Rousseau believed it necessary to establish a civil religion within a new modern state founded on principles of popular sovereignty...;151 he predicted the end of Christianity and the rise of a new religion which would join together the two eagles heads (namely political and religious power) in order to achieve political unity. The future will judge this prophecy; more likely, Christianity will undergo some changes in its nature but not an overall transformation. Jrgen Habermas has argued that religious believers can make a cognitive contribution to political discourse and public life. One can question, however, his proposition that religious arguments, if they are to play a role in the public sphere, should be translated into generally accessible terms.152 Instead, religious discourse needs to be conducted in religious language so as to avoid granting precedence to secular reason and requiring believers to express their views in civic or legal terms. For the foreseeable future, it appears likely that many people will continue to be persuaded by Pascals wager: God is or he is not. But to which side should we incline?... Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate the two chances. If you gain you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager then without hesitation that he is.153 Such insurance has not yet lost its attractiveness and its ability to provide meaning. Religion is still present in Europe, even if vicariously or culturally, and maintains its power of reference, its historical relevancy, and its role as a source of various interpretational narratives that usually operate in symbolic and figurative ways. 151 Cited in Gentile, Sacralisation of Politics, p. 35 152 See Jrgen Habermas, Religion in the Public Sphere, European Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 14, No. 1 (2006), pp. 1-25; Jrgen Habermas, Why Europe Needs a Constitution, New Left Review 11 (September-October, 2001), pp. 5-26. 153 Blaise Pascal, Penses (1670, ed. L. Brunschvicg, 1909), sect. 4, no. 233. 55

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