God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis

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9780195313956: God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis
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What does the future hold for European Christianity? Is the Christian church doomed to collapse under the weight of globalization, Western secularism, and a flood of Muslim immigrants? Is Europe, in short, on the brink of becoming "Eurabia"?
Though many pundits are loudly predicting just such a scenario, Philip Jenkins reveals the flaws in these arguments in God's Continent and offers a much more measured assessment of Europe's religious future. While frankly acknowledging current tensions, Jenkins shows, for instance, that the overheated rhetoric about a Muslim-dominated Europe is based on politically convenient myths: that Europe is being imperiled by floods of Muslim immigrants, exploding Muslim birth-rates, and the demise of European Christianity. He points out that by no means are Muslims the only new immigrants in Europe. Christians from Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe are also pouring into the Western countries, and bringing with them a vibrant and enthusiastic faith that is helping to transform the face of European Christianity. Jenkins agrees that both Christianity and Islam face real difficulties in surviving within Europe's secular culture. But instead of fading away, both have adapted, and are adapting. Yes, the churches are in decline, but there are also clear indications that Christian loyalty and devotion survive, even as institutions crumble. Jenkins sees encouraging signs of continuing Christian devotion in Europe, especially in pilgrimages that attract millions--more in fact than in bygone "ages of faith."
The third book in an acclaimed trilogy that includes The Next Christendom and The New Faces of Christianity, God's Continent offers a realistic and historically grounded appraisal of the future of Christianity in a rapidly changing Europe.

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About the Author:


Philip Jenkins is Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies, Penn State University. He is the author of Dream Catchers: How Mainstream America Discovered Native Spirituality, Beyond Tolerance: Child Pornography and the Internet, and many other books. He lives in University Park, Pennsylvania.

From Publishers Weekly:

Jenkins loves to skewer headlines, to the point that each new book seems to present nothing less than a paradigm shift. The Next Christendom and The New Faces of Christianity announced that Christendom is moving south, its face now less European than African, South American and Asian. Here he looks back at the old Christendom, and finds there a story more complicated than fading Christianity and triumphant militant Islam. Sure enough, many great cathedrals and once-charming village churches are spackling over the cracks on the state’s nickel. But a host of grassroots-based Catholic religious organizations are flourishing. Ours, Jenkins asserts, is actually a golden age of religious pilgrimage. And it is not only Muslims pouring into Europe’s borders: African Pentecostals lead thriving congregations across their adopted continent. Poles pack England’s Catholic parishes, and priests from Zaire and Cote’Ivoire bring new life to age-old churches in French villages. Despite world-transfixing incidents of terror, Jenkins says that Islam’s dramatic growth in Europe is actually largely a success story of integration and growth in toleration. Conservative and liberal cultural commentators each have their reasons for trumpeting Christianity’s demise and militant Islam’s growth in Europe. They’re not wholly wrong—the story just needs nuancing. And who but Jenkins could enliven this storyline with an ocean of sociological data poured into a novel-like book that’s impossible to put down?

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