Monday, August 22, 2011

Europe Must Recover Its Christian Identity Or Remain Impotent

Without Roots
On September 27 Italian atheist philosopher (philosophy of science) Marcello Pera's Why We Should Call Ourselves Christians: The Religious Roots of Free Societies will be published. It will be, I think, a shocking book.

A preview of Pera's thesis is found in Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam, co-authored with Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI). Europe, says Pera, is in trouble. It's trouble is that it is "half-hearted." It's half-heartedness is because "relativism has wreaked havoc... [and] paralyzed the West." (Without Roots, 33)

The atheist philosopher Pera writes:

"It is true that almost all the achievements that we consider most laudable are derived from Christianity or were influenced by Christianity, by the message of God become Man.

In truth, without this message, which has transformed all human beings into persons  in the image of God, individuals would have no dignity.

In truth, our values, rights, and duties of equality, tolerance, respect, solidarity, and compassion re born from God's sacrifice.

In truth, our attitude toward others, toward all others, whatever their condition, class, appearance, or culture, is shaped by the Christian revolution.

In truth, even our institutions are inspired by Christianity, including the secular institutions of government that render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. And the list goes on." (Without Roots, 36-37)
In 2004 Pope John Paul delivered a series of statements saying, in essence, this: "The Christian faith has shaped the culture of the continent [of Europe] and is inextricable bound up with its history, to the extent that Europe's history would be incomprehensible without reference to the events which marked first the great period of evangelization and then the long centuries in which Christianity, despite the painful division between East and West, came to be the religion of the European peoples." (35)

Pera agrees. And, "unfortunately, these words went unheeded." Why? Pera writes: "My own explanation is that in the age of triumphant relativism and "silent apostasy," belief in the true no longer exists: the mission of the true is considered fundamentalism, and the very affirmation of the true creates or raises fears." (Ib., 37)

The philosophy of relativism has rendered Europe "impotent." (Ib., 43)

Pera was also President of the Italian Senate from 2001 to 2006. I think his book will create a significant impact on Europe when it arrives in a month. Among other things, there will be spinoff studies on the political and cultural effects of philsophical relativism.