Europe’s Future Hinges on the Lifelines of Islam, Christianity, and Secularism

June 19, 2006

Source: Chicago Tribune,1,1195704.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

On June 19, 2006 the Chicago Tribune reported, "In France and in almost every other European country, Christianity appears to be in a free fall. Although up to 88 percent of the French identify themselves as Roman Catholic, only about 5 percent go to church on most Sundays; 60 percent say they 'never' or 'practically never' go. But Islam is a thriving force. The 12 million to 15 million Muslims who live in Europe make up less than 5 percent of the total population, but the vitality of their faith has led some experts to predict that Islam will become the continent's dominant faith. Princeton University historian Bernard Lewis, the dean of American Middle East scholars, flatly predicts that Europe will be Islamic by the end of this century 'at the very latest.' George Weigel, a leading American theologian, frets about 'a Europe in which the muezzin summons the faithful to prayer from the central loggia of St. Peter's in Rome, while Notre Dame has been transformed into Hagia Sophia on the Seine--a great Christian church become an Islamic museum.' Lewis and Weigel represent a trend among American thinkers who say they fear Europe's doom if it does not re-Christianize, and soon. Most European experts believe those fears are exaggerated. France, with Europe's largest Muslim population, surely will be a test case."