When it was officially established in 1993, the European Union was very promising for the world. Indeed, this turned out to be mostly true, since the European states opened their borders to each other, cooperated with one another in various fields varying from trade to industry, and achieved significant breakthroughs in the issues of human rights and democracy, up until the point that they misinterpreted the concepts of democracy, science and freedom principles.
Although Europe keeps hold of good values, the continent has found itself in the line of fire in the recent times, particularly by its own people. They are not in the wrong. It is indeed doom and gloom in Europe because of worsening economic crisis, unfair practices towards refugees, increasing unrest in the community, calls for the division of the country, and racism rising at an alarming rate. The underlying reason is that a part of the European people have gradually turned away from spirituality.
The recent statistics serve as a proof of the situation. The churches in Germany, England and Northern European countries have been largely forced to be closed down in the recent times, while some of them are being turned into private property, which is a heartbreaking situation. According to the records of the German Protestant Church, a total of 82 churches were destroyed throughout Germany between the years of 1990-2011. More than 200 Protestant Churches passed into the hands of other persons. These churches were either turned into private property or terribly converted into restaurants, clubs, pizza houses, sculpture workshops or event centers.
According to the same data, 67,000 people left the Church of Sweden last year. It is reported that the number of the members who left the Church reached one million in the last fifteen years. The 1000-person capacity Church of St. Joseph in the Netherlands was converted into a gym due to the lack of congregation, which has hit the religious sections hard. This is the case for England and Denmark as well. The most remarkable reason behind the closure of the churches is that people are leaning towards atheism in masses.
A recent study in England presented the statistics of this nightmare-scenario that haunts Europe. Accordingly, 48.8% of the people in England do not embrace any religion, which is more than the number of Christians in the country. The people defining themselves as Christian make up only 43.8% of the population. The statistics indicated that almost half of the population in England and Wales say they have no religion. This rate was found to be 25% in a study in 2014. It is remarkable that this rate doubled only in two years.
According to the report, four out of ten adults raised as Anglican and as Catholic now identify as having no religion. However, Scotland was omitted from the survey, but last month a separate report found 52% of the population said they were “nones”, compared with 40% in 1999.1
Generally, in Europe, the rate of those who define themselves as religious is 26% in the Netherlands, 23% in the Czech Republic, and only 19% in Sweden.2
While the number of religious people is increasing worldwide, there are certainly important reasons that this is not the case for Europe and particularly the new generation is being raised as an atheist. Europe made several mistakes in defining its core values of democracy and secularism. Forgetting that secularism refers to freedom for all forms of belief, Europe considers secularism equal to “atheism”. In this regard, the belief that a higher level of secularism means a higher level of atheism has become widespread in the society. Democracy is considered as a freedom only for atheism. Those who feel anger for the fanaticism practiced in the name of religion, have not taken to resolving the issue through the true religion. They, neglecting that fanaticism is based on anger, are filled with hate for religions and the religious. This was one of the most key reasons behind the hatred against races and religions, now widespread throughout Europe.
The meaning of the concepts of human rights and freedom has largely sunk into oblivion. Terrorist organizations achieved to find a place in Europe under the umbrella of “freedom” while severe degeneration and sexual perversion found their way into the society under the name of “human rights.” All doom and gloom has caused intense lovelessness, loneliness, atheism and suicide attempts particularly among the European youth. It is hard to perceive the increasing suicide rate in Europe independently from this situation.
Well, what is the main reason that led to all of these? The reason is that Europe, particularly England, underlies materialist philosophies, that the materialist mindset is established in the societies under the guise of science, and particularly that the youth is raised based on such mindset. Europe may have initially failed in noticing that such materialist mindset would bring such harm to itself and would seclude the societies from their values. However, the divergence of the societies from religious values in masses is the result of a severe ideological corruption, having the potential to bring about terrible issues. The societies, which are moving away from religions, would inevitably get further away from moral, humanitarian and social values. The materialist mindset, which is lack of human spirit and considered as an alliance of materials, has always made it easier for people to commit murders, to engage in violence and to massacre, further caused people to acknowledge the concepts of outrage such as racism and xenophobia, and led to the advent of the generations, detesting themselves, their families and the society.
Europe is of critical importance and value. It should treat all doom and gloom seriously and take sound, rational, scientific measures to ensure the development of spirituality. The implications of atheism are apparent in Europe even now, influencing Europe adversely each passing day. This is not the desired situation. Once the communities become strengthened spiritually, they can achieve happiness and develop themselves. If Europe aspires to flourish, strengthen and lead the way in the field of democracy, it should first take notice of this fact.
Adnan Oktar's piece in Arab News & The Hans India: