The Faith Debate in America; Will It Follow Europe's Secularism?

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 23, 2004 | Go to article overview

The Faith Debate in America; Will It Follow Europe's Secularism?


Byline: David Cowan, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The debate about faith in America today represents a critical juncture in the nation's story. The outcome may determine whether America will go down the route of secular humanism that Europe has long since tread, or keep religion a vibrant element in the public square and in the life of citizens.

There are a range of faith issues alive in America today: the role of Christian values in the presidential election, President Bush's important faith-based initiative, public use of religious symbols, the identity of the Christmas season, the role of the Ten Commandments in our understanding of justice, and our response to the rise of popular Islam. These are a few of the faith issues that the Europeans just don't get.

In Europe, professing faith in public seems to cause an embarrassing shuffling of feet or a sneering response that we have moved beyond doctrinal matters, in the same way that adults do not believe in Santa Claus.

In this spirit, Europe has ensured God is left out of the new constitution, only churches that preach a social gospel are listened to, scandals in the church are the only high-profile stories, and minority religious groups are either listened to out of fear or met with complete incomprehension.

In Britain this contrast is made clear by attempts being made to pass a law banning incitement to religious hatred, which has caused English comedian Rowan Atkinson, aka Mr. Bean, to lead the defense of the right to freedom of speech, which includes the right to insult religion. The new laws would pave the way to repealing the law of blasphemy, so you can be as insulting as you like about Jesus, and introduce a law defending religious groups against attacks on them, as long as it's not Christian, presumably.

The philosophical basis to this European rejection of faith is the resounding confidence in the faith of secular humanism, which seeks to keep religion in its place as a sociological phenomenon. The beliefs of religious groups are seen as essentially marked by the same cultural blight, and can be treated as boiling down to the same ethical injunctions to be nice people. Religion is perceived at best as a means by which all roads lead to the same God, or at worse is a delusion and a denial of humanity. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Faith Debate in America; Will It Follow Europe's Secularism?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    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.