Sociologist Peter Berger gives a 5-minute overview of how he changed his mind:
Very encouraging to hear that Christianity is surviving modernity. I wish he went into why Christianity has continued to remain vibrant in the United States but not in Europe. It’s something I’ve always wondered.
Rodney Stark suggests that the difference is national churches – that North America’s democratic approach to religion and its emphasis on freedom of religion has allowed both a great diversity and thriving of religious belief and expression here. But in Europe the tendency for so long was national churches and hierarchical control of religious expression which ironically stamps out true religious belief and practice. Secondly he suggested that large parts of Europe were never truly evangelized to begin with – but whole nations and tribes “became Christian” whenever their kings and chiefs decided to become Christian – often for political and social gain.
Don’t know what he said but I believe that one could tie the importance of the Christian religion in the US and the upsurge of Islam across the world to the perception of political failures and the desire to get the world one is entitled to by returning to “proven” religious faiths and dogma.
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Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.
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