After the secularization came the enchantment

For more than a thousand years, most people went to church at least once a week. In the 1960s, this changed radically in just a few years. From then on hardly anyone goes to church anymore. There are hardly any priests, monks and nuns left.

How can such a sudden radical change in a few years' time be explained? Have the people become enchanted in some way? Has that been a good thing? A liberation? A new Enlightenment? What has replaced it?

These questions are difficult to answer. I think a multitude of factors played a role. The pill, for example, unleashed a sexual revolution that was perceived as a liberation from a narrow view of sexuality preached by the churches. The Vatican Council may have been another factor. The priest at the altar turned to the people. He dressed like a commoner, sometimes rather peasant, and lost prestige. The greatly increased prosperity may also have played a role, as a result of which people became enchanted by all the hypes, gadgets, travel and technological innovations. The zeitgeist also played a role, in particular the relativization of norms and values by philosophers who wanted to deconstruct everything.

Yet it remains strange that traditions of more than a thousand years were thrown overboard in such a short time. What has replaced it and what kind of world have we ended up in? Since the 1960s, a hundred million Muslims have settled in Europe, which will undoubtedly lead to a Lebanonisation of this continent. The consumer society has led to an ecological disaster that has accelerated. Countries that became independent in the last century experience misery and bloody conflicts that seem hopeless and make many ordinary people long for peace and the emerging prosperity of the colonial era. In addition to very pleasant benefits, the Internet also produces a stream of hate messages, slander and fake news, so that the masses can easily be stirred up. Tensions and polarization in the world are increasing. There is little positive to report and that is not doom and gloom, but just realism.

Will there be a new turning point? I think we should think about the heart of the matter: is there or isn't a God appealing to us? No scientific evidence can be provided on this. It is a matter of taking the plunge to accept the Revelation and be good people in our actions (Kierkegaard). The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount show us the way, and that has radical consequences. If we accept this Revelation, then we must be good stewards of planet Earth (and do nothing that destroys or impairs creation*), wealth is meant to eliminate poverty and misery,… Would the radical lifestyle which follows from the application of what is said in Revelation, cannot mean the salvation of mankind? An end to all bloody conflicts? A more mature humanity?

A Christian Europe is necessary to prevent an apocalypse that is partly man-made. There is no other choice and time is running out. Only a statesman can lead the European countries to the turning point. The role that Europe can play when Judeo-Christian ethics are the foundation of politics, economics and social relations can be in creating national and international networks of citizens' solidarity (no managers, no expensive organizations) based on volunteer work. These networks ensure that no one in the world goes hungry, that all children can go to good schools and that excellent health care is accessible to everyone in every region. Extra help is provided in the event of disasters or major adversity. Instead of colonization, Europe is initiating brotherhood in the Third World. Returning immigrants can play an indispensable role in this with our help. We are not going to impose or enforce human rights, but offer or offer people the rights to which every human being is entitled. Concrete acts of brotherhood instead of lecturing others.

Every European who participates in this is a Christian, even if he does not believe in God and never attends a church. Renaissance.

(*) In order not to affect Creation, the production of plastic should be stopped immediately; even more: the entire industrial production, as well as space travel, should decrease by 90 percent. Limit travel and transportation to what is absolutely necessary. I give these radical examples to show what it means to be a true Christian. “Many are called and few are chosen.”

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   © Juliaan Van Acker 2024