European Journal of Sociology

Research Article

Religion in Europe in the 21st Century: The Factors to Take into Account*

Grace Daviea1

a1 Professor of Sociology of Religion, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK [G.R.C.Davie@exeter.ac.uk]

Abstract

This article considers six factors that are currently shaping the religious life of Europe. These are the Judaeo-Christian heritage, the continuing influence of the historic churches, the changing patterns of church-going, new arrivals from outside, secular reactions and the growing significance of religion in the modern world order. Any assessment of the future of religion in Europe must take all of these into account, not least their mutual and necessarily complex interactions.

Résumé

L'article passe en revue six facteurs qui donnent forme à la vie religieuse européenne d'aujourd'hui: héritage judéo-chrétien, influence persistante des Églises historiques, changement, dans les modèles de la pratique, nouveaux courants liés aux immigrations, effets contrastés de la sécularisation et de la montée en puissance de la religion sur la scène mondiale. Penser le futur du religieux en Europe implique prise en compte de leurs interactions mutuelles et complexes.

Abstract

Dieser Aufsatz listet die sechs Faktoren auf, die das heutige religiöse Leben in Europa bestimmen: das jüdisch-christliche Erbe, der bestehende Einfluss der historischen Kirchen, die Glaubensausübung, die neuen, aus der Zuwanderung stammenden Einflüsse, die Säkularisation und der zunehmende Einfluss der Religion weltweit. Jegliche Zukunft des Religiösen muss diesen Tatsachen Rechnung tragen.

Footnotes

* An earlier version of this article appeared under the tittle “Is Europe an Exceptional Case?”, in a (double) issue of The Hedgehog Review, vol. 8/1–2, Spring-Summer 2006. This issue is entitled “After Secularization”. The present, considerably expanded version of the article has benefited greatly from the comments of the editorial committee of AES/EJS and from a more developed conversation with Professor Hans Joas. I have been very grateful for this feedback.