Faith as cultural glue

Reading through this article, I was intrigued by the positive function of religion in society. Many of my peers dislike religion (Christianity in this case), thinking it controlling, archaic and biased. The alternatives are a secular, atheistic life through reason, science and technology.

This is the route Europe has gone, a post-Christian society founded in capitalism, representative democracy and civil liberties. And while I love Europe, and think the individual life-style is grand, the numbers reveal a weakness. Europe cannot maintain its demographics, because it has negative population growth.

‘Among the consequences of Europe’s abandonment of its religious roots and the moral code that derives therefrom is a plunge in its birth rates to below the replacement level. Abortion, birth control, acceptance of gay marriage and casual sex are driving the trend. Europe is “committing demographic suicide, systematically depopulating itself,” according to Weigel.’

Perhaps a religious force is essential for healthy society – to promote nuclear families, self-sacrifice and child rearing. Even in the atheistic societies of Communist Russia and Nazi Germany, nationalism and sacrifice for the “fatherland” acted as a glue to bind populations together – moral standards, self-sacrifice, etc.

In Guns, Germs, Steel, Jared Diamond proposed that societies who had access to agriculture, livestock, trade routes, and accumulated knowledge succeeded. It would be neat to see which “worldviews” are the most successful. Will there be a backlash in America against the religious right, or will Europe join the worldwide trend of “spiritual” awakening? How will the growth of churches in South America and Asia affect their political and economic growth? Questions for tomorrow, I guess.

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