L’Observatoire des religions

In Europe, God Is (Not) Dead

Christian groups are growing, faith is more public. Is supply-side economics the explanation ?

dimanche 15 juillet 2007 par ANDREW HIGGINS

Stockholm - Late last year, a Swedish hotel guest named Stefan Jansson grew upset when he found a Bible in his room. He fired off an email to the hotel chain, saying the presence of the Christian scriptures was "boring and stupefying." This spring, the Scandic chain, Scandinavia’s biggest, ordered the New Testaments removed.

By ANDREW HIGGINS andrew.higgins@wsj.com, 14 July 2007

In a country where barely 3% of the population goes to church each week, the affair seemed just another step in Christian Europe’s long march toward secularism. Then something odd happened : A national furor erupted. A conservative bishop announced a boycott. A leftist radical who became a devout Christian and talk-show host denounced the biblical purge in newspaper columns and on television. A young evangelical Christian organized an electronic letter-writing campaign, asking Scandic : Why are you removing Bibles but not pay-porn on your TVs ?

Scandic, which had started keeping its Bibles behind the front desk, put the New Testament back in guest rooms.

"Sweden is not as secular as we thought," says Christer Sturmark, head of Sweden’s Humanist Association, a noisy assembly of nonbelievers to which the Bible-protesting hotel guest belongs.

After decades of secularization, religion in Europe has slowed its slide toward what had seemed inevitable oblivion. There are even nascent signs of a modest comeback. Most church pews are still empty. But belief in heaven, hell and concepts such as the soul has risen in parts of Europe, especially among the young, according to surveys. Religion, once a dead issue, now figures prominently in public discourse.

Cetr article a été publié dans le Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2007 ; Page A1

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