Frank Bruni has an interesting report in the New York Times about the decline of religious belief in Europe.
But in the United States, to name one country, many of the same dynamics have not prompted a similarly pronounced estrangement. Some experts say that in Europe, suspicion of major denominations may run higher because religious leaders directly wielded political power in the past. Others say the unchallenged supremacy of state-blessed faiths in Europe — like the Lutherans in Scandinavia and Anglicans in Britain — perhaps turned out to be a curse.
"Monopolies damage religion," said Massimo Introvigne, the director of the Center for Studies on New Religions in Turin and a proponent of the relatively new theory of religious economy. "In a free market, people get more interested in the product. It is true for religion just as it is true for cars."
Is it coincidental that Europe has a larger government sector than the United States and also has a history of more monopolistic state religions?
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2003 October 13 11:12 AM Religion Secular Ideologies|