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The Decline of European Christianity - Research Paper Example

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The Decline of European Christianity 1.0 Introduction Centuries back, European navigators and explorers conquered all edges of the globe to expand territorial domination and to spread religion, particularly Roman Catholicism. Europe was the cornerstone of the roots of Catholicism and its spread that went even as far as Asia and the Pacific and other unexplored territories…
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Download file to see previous pages However, the rise of “religious diversity” at present is challenging the status quo because it allows other ‘non-Christian’ denominations to enter Europe and Asia, for instance, Islam.1 Significant events in history shape the formation of religious pluralism. 2 The 9/11 hijacking permits the flow of migrants from one country to the other. In addition, countries with strict immigration policies now allow people from southern Europe to work or even settle permanently. Those countries with strict immigration policies expectedly shared the same religion and sect until such time that migrants from all over the globe, some of whom were missionaries, also brought with them their religious beliefs, consequently converting Europeans into another religion outside of the realm of Christianity. This essay will explore some of the fundamental reasons why Christianity (both Catholicism and Protestantism) has declined in terms of popularity. It is noted that secularization is considered as one of the reasons of the “slow and steady death” of religion. 3 According to some critics, under secularization theory lies issues about religious fundamentalism especially in the Muslim world and the decreasing popularity of churchgoers. These and other reasons will be discussed in this report. 2.0 Reasons for the Decline of Christianity 2.1 Secularization Theory Secularization is defined as deinstitutionalization or a “decline in the social power of once-dominant religious institutions whereby other social institutions have escaped from prior religious domination.” 4 This observation is evident by the lesser power possessed by the “once-dominant” religious institutions such as the Catholic priests and bishops and even Lutheran and Anglican bishops. 5 An initial result that comes to mind would be the decline in the patronization of religion. C. John Sommerville interpreted Rodney Stark’s ideas towards secularization as merely an observation of people’s adoration towards the culture that associates with the religion; in simple terms, secularization meant the cultural interpretation of people towards their religion and not concerning the spiritual aspect that binds them together.6 In another perspective, secularization theory prompted not only the possible demise of religion in the future but also its “reinvention” and “resurgence” of traditional religions, as well as the rise of newer religions.7 This is an offshoot to the common notion regarding secularization theory as merely predictive of the future rather than focused on the past and present. Historical events, by the way, pointed out to the significant role of religious denominations in affecting the political state of the country. Among such events were the Christianity’s impact into overthrowing the communist empire in the former Union Soviet Socialist Republic, and the impact brought by the September 11, 2001 attack in the United States. The lack of religion in Europe is primarily being asserted by the secularization theory, particularly with respect to Christianity. Along with modernization comes the discovery of other religions outside the traditional Christian affiliations. Authors of the book Predicting Religion state that there is a continued increase of the number of Christians who are no longer attending church. From 15% church attendance in 1903, the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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