Quo Vadis? The Philosophical, Spiritual Floundering of Europe in 2017

Oct 21, 2017 by

by Garland Tucker, National Review:

Where Christianity and cultural identity are declining in tandem.

During my recent vacation to Scotland, the National Centre for Social Research released a major new survey, which documented the continuing decline of Christianity in the U.K. The headline read: “Non-believers outnumber the faithful by widest margin yet.” This fall has been driven primarily by young people. Of those between 18 and 24 years old, 62 percent have no religion. The figures for the Church of England were devastating: The proportion of the population describing themselves as Anglican has dropped from 30 percent in 2000 to 15 percent today — with just 3 percent of 18- to-24-year-olds. In Scotland, church attendance has fallen by over half in the past 30 years.

As the import of this survey was sinking in, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, weighed in with a sadly telling reaction. Noting the alarming decline in young believers, he blasted the inequities of Britain’s capitalistic system, which he perceives as “failing our children.” If warmed-over socialism is all the church can offer young people, it’s no wonder they are saying “no thanks” in record numbers. How sadly ironic that the ideas of Adam Smith are criticized by someone who should fully understand capitalism’s unmatched contributions to the improvement of mankind. No economic system in the history of man has done more to lift humans, all over the globe, from poverty.

Welby should also know that it was capitalism, born of competitive innovation and consumer choice, that rebuilt Europe after World War II. The freedom to pursue personal opportunity gave life to a European rebirth. And it should be acknowledged that the sacrifice of young Americans and European allies helped make it possible. The evil of Nazi Germany, and the false ideas it stood for, were defeated because good people were willing to give their lives defending freedom on foreign soil. Why did they fight? Because the Allies shared a common view of the world — a common culture, if you will. It is important to establish that “culture” is not defined by race or country of origin; it is defined by the foundational ideas shared by each individual in a society. Europe’s cultural identity is now in question.

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