Academic journal article Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies

Religion in the Public Sphere: Is There a Common European Model?

Academic journal article Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies

Religion in the Public Sphere: Is There a Common European Model?

Article excerpt

Abstract: In order to see whether there is a common European model that gives a place to religion in the public sphere two issues have to be taken into account: first, if there is a theory of secularization that accurately describes the current situation of European societies and second if, there is a European model on Church - State relationship. The first part is dedicated to the different accounts on secularization that may be applied to European countries: the classical Weber theory that view secularization as an "iron law" of any society, the institutional secularization, secularization as the decline and adequacy of religious practice, the continuation of the classical theory in the 60's and beyond, the criticism of this theory and the particular argument of the increase of fundamentalist religious movements. The attempts to formulate new theories on secularization based on other assumptions than the classical one are also presented. The increased presence of religion in private life does not mean a decrease of religion in the public space but rather a new definition of it. Despite the different intensity of belief in national terms, some trends like "believing without belonging" are common, meaning that secularization could have a single meaning in Europe, apart from other continents. The second part starts with presenting the three types of Church - State relationship at the national level. All these have in common the fact that the state is neutral towards religious subjects, a religious subsection is singled out within the public sphere and the state has the right to intervene in this area only as an arbiter. There is already a European law on religion and this statement is supported by examples from the Lisbon Treaty, The Charter of Fundamental Rights, different Directives and decisions of the European Court of Justice. Common rules on religion agreed at the European level helps better to understand why there is a common European model on religions, different from the national models. After taking into account the two aspects described above, a common European model on religion in the public sphere emerges as a necessary conclusion.

Key Words: Charter of Fundamental Rights, Church - State, common European model, Directive, Europe, European Court of Justice, Lisbon Treaty, public sphere, religion, secularization

Is secularization a trend of the modern European societies?

Preliminary questions

In order to determine the relationship between secularization and modern European societies and to answer the question whether or not secularization is an "iron law" that acts upon these societies, several questions have been raised over time with several explanatory models being created. We will try to present these preliminary questions without concluding that the answers given so far cover the problem in depth. The main question that arises is whether a general theory of secularization can be made, which applies to all national and religious contexts or whether each such context has developed its own relationship with the secularization phenomenon. Another important question is whether a history of secularization can be identified1 or if the evolution of secularization is divided during several periods in history. In other words, is secularization a process with a definite beginning and a predictable evolution? Equally important is the question if the decrease in religious practices in Europe is a sign of secularization or not. Are phenomena such as having religious feelings without participating in these rituals or taking part without such feelings specifically European or universal? If they are indeed specifically European, what is their relationship with secularization - are they a result of secularization or not? Does secularization affect other religions or just Christianity? If we accept secularization as an inevitable phenomenon that reflects on all modern societies, is the European case the rule and the American one, of religious vitality, the exception, or vice versa? …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.