Religious Identities In Post 1945 Europe

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Religious Identities in 1945 Europe

Religious Identities In 1945 Europe


The volume will provide a coherent critical examination of current issues related to the religious roots of contemporary, i.e. post-1990 European identity, by analyzing the components of contemporary European identity, the presence of religion in the development of national identities, manifestation of religious roots in secular society, and the role of religion in further European integration and social inclusion. The publication will involve a multi and interdisciplinary approach to the theme, by bringing together scholars in history, religious studies, sociology, cultural studies, European studies, and international relations. The rigorously edited volume will provide a coherent analysis of the religious roots of Europe's identity today, with particular attention to the secular context of religious communities. Europe is often perceived as secular by most of its citizens, regardless of their creed. Bearing this in mind, the authors will build upon their expertise in different fields of arts and humanities to identify some of the key elements of European religious heritage and its manifestation in Europe's identity, be it secular or otherwise perceived. The authors will also indicate the role that these elements play in further European integration. With the focused approach, the publication will identify a number of similarities across faiths and, more holistically, vis-a-vis Europe. This will serve the readers to perceive their own identity in a wider context of shared values, reaching beyond a particular faith or non-religious framework.(Samuel,1996)


Since the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957 that established the EEC and initiated the ongoing process of European integration, western European societies have undergone a rapid, drastic, and seemingly irreversible process of secularization. In this respect, one can talk of the emergence of a post-Christian Europe. At the same time, the process of European integration, the eastward expansion of the European Union, and the drafting of a European constitution have triggered fundamental questions concerning European identity and the role of Christianity in that identity. What constitutes "Europe"? How and where should one draw the external territorial and the internal cultural boundaries of Europe? The most controversial and anxiety-producing issues, which are rarely confronted openly, are the potential integration of Turkey and the potential integration of non-European immigrants, who in most European countries happen to be overwhelmingly Muslim. It is the interrelation between these phenomena that I would like to explore in this paper.(Herberg,1983)The progressive, though highly uneven, secularization of Europe is an undeniable social fact. An increasing majority of the European population has ceased to participate in traditional religious practices, at least on a regular basis, while still maintaining relatively high levels of private individual religious beliefs. In this respect, one should perhaps talk of the unchurching of the European population and of religious individualization, rather than of secularization. Grace Davie has characterized this general European situation as "believing without belonging". At the same time, however, large numbers of Europeans even in the most secular countries still identify themselves as "Christian," pointing to an implicit, diffused, ...
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