God’s Continent

I’m having a few days holiday and currently reading the book with this title by American religion scholar Philip Jenkins. It’s subtitled Christianity, Islam, and Europe’s religious crisis. Itls interesting to read an up-to-the minute assessment of Europe’s religious condtion and prospects by an informed and measured American.I’ve only recently become aware how widespread is the belief of many Americans that European society is degenerate and that the spiritual vacuum left by the collapse of Christian churches is set to be filled by an aggressive Islam. These fears have been partly what lies behind some of the panic over Islam that has characterised British government policy and more especially popular press reports. Jenkins gives a deeply knowledgeable and sober assessment of the situation, showing the flaws in these arguments. He sees Europe as an arena of creative adaptation of both Christianity and Islam to religious faith in a secular society, whilst acknowledging the tensions. He sees the apocalyptic picture of ‘Eurabia’ painted by some pundits as overheated rhetoric serving convenient political myths. European secularism presents serious challenges and difficulties to both Christianity and Islam which will mean adaptation for both. Yet Muslims are not the only immigrants of faith coming into Europe; many from the global South are bringing a vital energetic Christian faith too.

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