Is Europe Christian?
As Europe wrangles over questions of national identity, nativism and immigration, Olivier Roy interrogates the place of Christianity, foundation of Western identity. Do secularism and Islam really pose threats to the continent's ‘Christian values’? What will be the fate of Christianity in Europe? Rather than repeating the familiar narrative of decline, Roy challenges the significance of secularised Western nations' reduction of Christianity to a purely cultural force – relegated to issues such as abortion, euthanasia and equal marriage. He illustrates that, globally, quite the opposite has occurred: Christianity is now universalised, and detached from national identity.
If the Church no longer recognizes the dominant culture of Europe as Christian, the author wonders, who would dare to claim that the identity of Europe is Christian? And how to restore this Christian identity without a struggle for European morality, directed not against Islam (whose family values are very similar to those advocated by the Church) but against European society itself?
With the book Is Europe Christian? Olivier Roy affirms his reputation as a distinguished observer and commentator on the events of our time and gives a compelling and new vision of the place of religion in the life of European nations today.
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The debate over Europe’s Christian identity does not rest on a binary opposition between Europe and Islam, but on a triangle whose three poles are: the Christian religion, Europe’s secular values (even if they occasionally make reference to a Christian identity) and Islam as a religion. But lurking behind the debate over Islam are much deeper questions about the very nature of Europe and its relationship to religion in general. The notion that Europe would be fine if only Islam or immigration did not exist is, of course, an illusion. There is a serious crisis surrounding European identity and the place of religion in the public sphere, as can be seen both in Christian radicalization over the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage, and in secular radicalization over religious slaughter and circumcision (behind Islam, the place of Judaism also comes into question). This is nothing short of a crisis in European culture.
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Olivier Roy (1949) is presently Professor at the European University Institute in Florence: he is the scientific adviser of the Middle East Directions programme at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and heads the „ReligioWest“ research project. His field works include Afghanistan, Political Islam, Middle East, Islam in the West and comparative religions. Mr. Roy received an „Agrégation de Philosophie“ and a Ph.D. in Political Sciences. He is the author of, among other books, Globalised islam (2004), Holy Ignorance (2010), En Quête de l'Orient perdu (2014) and Is Europe Christian? (2019).
- ISBN: 978-953-8075-87-2
- Dimensions: 128x200 mm
- Number of pages: 176
- Cover: paperback
- Year of the edition: 2020
- Original title: L'Europe est-elle chrétienne?
- Original language: French
- Translation: Rade Kalanj
„Every time it comes to Europe or Christianity, the question of their relationship is always raised, implicitly or explicitly. Can they be discussed at all, can they be understood separately without having that question in mind? Isn’t that interrelationship their common destiny? Roy also raises the main question – which is the central theme of this book – is Europe still Christian? She was, Roy says, and that, of course, left traces. But she did not vow to be forever, to remain permanently Christian. The church is going through a severe moral crisis, the most visible signs of which are pedophilia and corruption. This certainly goes hand in hand with the claim that the Church has lost the legitimacy to embody spiritual service. Roy does not hesitate to state categorically that secularization, in any case, has won.“