This is an excellent essay about the the undercurrents of contemporary European culture. It explains the direction which the EU's leaders (the 1968 generation) would like to lead the continent despite all the evidence that their destination can only mean destruction of all the values that they themselves hold dear. They have left Europe's heritage behind and detached themselves both from the peoples and culture that gave the continent freedom and democracy. The book is an easy read. It is written by a human being who clearly cares! It is ostensibly written from a US perspective but the author knows his way around the European debate so well that the references to the crisis in Europe as being a US problem are there to only awaken concern across the Atlantic.
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Weigel is an American Roman Catholic theologian who has the gift of being a compelling author. He is very readable. He gives a penetrating analysis of the Eurpean decline into secularism. How, he asks, can the EU produce a proposed constitution that ignores European Christian culture, jumping from the classical world to the Enlightenment as if nothing significant happened between them. He describes a Europe facing a demographic and therefore economic and political crisis. This will result from a negative birthrate, except in non-indigenous, especially Muslim populations. His sources though appear to ignore Protestant scholarship, especially the Reformed contribution of Kuyper and his heirs in combatting revolutionary secularism. The diagnosos is acute, but the treatment is, I fear, not the one that will work. He wants a return to the Roman Catholic Church and Thomist thought. It is not a surprise then, that he ignores the long history of Roman Catholic opposition to political pluralism. He wants to see Europe converted to Christianity again, but his Christianity seems to centre more on the Pope than on the gospel of grace. However this book is a valuable call for Christian re-entry into the public square and a warning against secularism and its consequences.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Wake up...pay attention18 April 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Unknown Binding
Overall, this is a solid, though provoking read. Weigel does a good job of providing historical and factual information to support his thesis that Europe turning it's back on it's Christian heritage is now leading to the disappearance from Europe of a vital Western culture.
However, Weigel tends to lace his arguments with broad statements against rationalism and the age of reason without any attempt at justifying them. He also does a lot of "here's what's wrong with Europe" with examples that are not obviously any different from what's going on in the US, even though he frequently infers that the US is somehow better because it has retained it's Christian foundation.
There's a lot of valuable insight into recent Eurpoean history, and a lot that casts a light on the path the US is on as well. Just ignore Weigel's tendancy to accept as better, without evidence, the US way of doing things.
Follow this up with Bawer's "While Europe Slept" and you'll listen to the news from across the pond with a different ear.