The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God

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9780465092666: The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God

Why do Europeans and Americans see the world so differently? Why do Europeans and Americans have such different understandings of democracy and its discontents in the twenty-first century? Contrasting the civilization that produced the starkly modernist cube” of the Great Arch of La Défense in Paris with the civilization that produced the cathedral” of Notre-Dame, George Weigel argues that Europe's embrace of a narrow secularism has led to a crisis of morale that is eroding Europe's soul and threatening its future with dire lessons for the rest of the democratic world.Weigel traces the origins of Europe's problem” to the atheistic humanism of the nineteenth-century European intellectual life, which set in motion a historical process that produced two world wars, three totalitarian systems, the Gulag, Auschwitz, the Cold War and, most ominously, the Continent's de-population, which is worse today than during the Black Death.And yet, many Europeans still insist most recently, during the debate over a new EU constitution that only a public square shorn of religiously-informed moral argument is safe for human rights and democracy. Precisely the opposite, Weigel suggests, is true: the people of the cathedral” can give a compelling account of their commitment to everyone's freedom; the people of the cube” cannot.Can there be any true politics” any true deliberation about the common good, and any robust defense of freedom without God? George Weigel makes a powerful case that the answer is No,” because, in the final analysis, societies are only as great as their spiritual aspirations.

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About the Author:

George Weigel, a Roman Catholic theologian and one of America's leading commentators on religion and public life, is the author of the acclaimed The Courage to Be Catholic , the international bestseller, Witness to Hope: The Biography of John Paul II , and numerous other books that include The Truth of Catholicism and The Final Revolution . Now a Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., where he holds the John M. Olin Chair in Religion and American Democracy, Weigel writes a weekly column, "The Catholic Difference," that is syndicated to more than forty newspapers around the United States. He is an NBC consultant on the Vatican and appears regularly on network and cable television programs as well as national and local radio. Weigel lives with his wife and their three children in North Bethesda, Maryland.

From Publishers Weekly:

Paris's modernist La Grande Arche de la Défense and the Gothic Cathedral of Notre-Dame serve as metaphors for papal biographer Weigel's (Witness to Hope) examination of what has happened to Europe in the last several decades and its significance to Americans. Weigel, an American Catholic theologian who has lived and worked on the continent, defines the "Europe problem" as the sharp divergence of European views on democracy, the world and politics from those held by Americans like himself. For him, La Grande Arche ("The Cube") symbolizes the new Europe, retreating from democracy, en route to depoliticization, enamored of international organizations and intellectually Christophobic. Notre-Dame, which guidebooks claim would fit inside the Cube, embodies Europe's Christian history, now strangely absent from the constitution of the European Union. Weigel traces the "Europe problem" to the 19th-century rise of "atheistic humanism" and "the related triumph of secularization, or de-Christianization, in western Europe." He urges Americans to pay attention to what has happened there because it has implications for the future of democracy in the United States and throughout the world. In developing his thesis, Weigel draws on diverse sources, including the Polish-born Pope John Paul II, who has been keenly interested in Europe's democracies. Readers given to pondering European affairs will find much to pique thoughtful discussion. (Apr.)
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Weigel, George
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Book Description Perseus Books, New York, 2006. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. This is a new book with minor shelfwear. The author examines the demise of European Christianity as an elegy for a vulnerable culture that is being effaced by a vacuous secularism, and a warning that an assumption about a shared Western Civilization between Americans and Europeans is fast becoming obsolete. Bookseller Inventory # 3830-6

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Book Description Basic Books, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Why do Europeans and Americans see the world so differently? Why do Europeans and Americans have such different understandings of democracy and its discontents in the twenty-first century? Contrasting the civilization that produced the starkly modernist “cube” of the Great Arch of La Défense in Paris with the civilization that produced the “cathedral” of Notre-Dame, George Weigel argues that Europe's embrace of a narrow secularism has led to a crisis of morale that is eroding Europe's soul and threatening its future—with dire lessons for the rest of the democratic world.Weigel traces the origins of “Europe's problem” to the atheistic humanism of the nineteenth-century European intellectual life, which set in motion a historical process that produced two world wars, three totalitarian systems, the Gulag, Auschwitz, the Cold War—and, most ominously, the Continent's de-population, which is worse today than during the Black Death.And yet, many Europeans still insist—most recently, during the debate over a new EU constitution—that only a public square shorn of religiously-informed moral argument is safe for human rights and democracy. Precisely the opposite, Weigel suggests, is true: the people of the “cathedral” can give a compelling account of their commitment to everyone's freedom; the people of the “cube” cannot.Can there be any true “politics”—any true deliberation about the common good, and any robust defense of freedom—without God? George Weigel makes a powerful case that the answer is “No,” because, in the final analysis, societies are only as great as their spiritual aspirations. Bookseller Inventory # ABE-1506283150594

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