Secularism Presents Threats for Religion in Europe: European Experts

Politics Materials 22 April 2008 20:18 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 22 April /corr. Trend E.Tanriverdiyeva / Secularism may present threats for the religious outlook in the society, but it does not cost to expect full renunciation of religion in contemporary Europe. "Despite that secularism changes understanding of moral values, which are not better than previous outlook, the Christian values will produce the most prosperous and equitable society," the British expert Ian Paul Diamond said.

During his visit to the USA, the Head of Romanian Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI expressed concerns with the spread of secularism in Europe and removal of religious basis.

"Secularism in Western States has become a code word for removing Christianity (or Judeo Christian values) from the 'public square and replacing them with a revised and new morality (that may not be better and is likely to be worse)," Prof of Cambridge University, Diamond, reported to Trend via e-mail on 22 April. According to him, a field of direct clash between the values of religion and of secularism is that of sexual ethics.  "Judeo Christian values promote sexual restrain and family values, whilst secularists advocate individual autonomy where a person can do what he want (provided he does not hurt anyone).  Unfortunately the definition of 'hurt' is not agreed," the expert says.

"In my view, secularism is a defective ideology in that it is an analogous belief system, which is both highly irrational and violent (as evidence by Marxist-Leninist States).  It is an incoherent belief system.  However, the spheres of Church and State should remain distinct.  As the Lord Jesus held: 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's'" Diamond said.

Czech expert Roman Joch considers that secularism is an unsustainable way of life. "Secular people have not enough babies, that is why the percentage of secular peoples is shrinking," Prof. of Prague University Joch reported to Trend via e-mail on 22 April.

"I do not know why secular people do not choose to have enough children to transmit them their world-view, but it is an empirical and statistical fact that secular people do not have enough children. Therefore, there will be fewer and fewer secular people every generation," he said. According to him, religious people - of all religions - tend to have more children that secular ones. Hence, the future will belong to the religious, not to the secular. "So the question is not if the people in the future will be more religious than those living now - they will be - but the interesting question is: of what religion(s)?" Joch said.

Secular life is not a danger for the contemporary world, though in circumstances of crisis, it might be more likely to fail than a more religious outlook, British expert Kenneth Minogue said.

""Contemporary life" here presumably means modern life in which individuals are in some degree free to make their own decisions and follow their own projects. The only religion that has generated this way of life has been Christianity, which has been changing and adapting for many centuries," the expert of London University, Minogue, reported to Trend via email on 22 April.

According to the expert, Christianity is thus highly flexible. "The other religion likely to be involved in Azerbaijan is Islam, which in many forms is not at all flexible, as is shown by the fact that very large numbers of Muslims are eager to leave Islamic countries and settle in European states," Minogue said.