Argues that Europe's separation of religion from politics has led to its decline and that religion, instead of being suspect, should be viewed in the U.S. and Europe as an ally of human rights and freedom.
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Why do Europeans and Americans see the world so differently? Why do Europeans and Americans have such different understandings of democracy and its discontents in the twenty-first century? Contrasting the civilization that produced the starkly modernist Âcubeâ of the Great Arch of La DÃ©fense in Paris with the civilization that produced the Âcathedralâ of Notre-Dame, George Weigel argues that Europe's embrace of a narrow secularism has led to a crisis of morale that is eroding Europe's soul and threatening its futureÂwith dire lessons for the rest of the democratic world.Weigel traces the origins of ÂEurope's problemâ to the atheistic humanism of the nineteenth-century European intellectual life, which set in motion a historical process that produced two world wars, three totalitarian systems, the Gulag, Auschwitz, the Cold WarÂand, most ominously, the Continent's de-population, which is worse today than during the Black Death.And yet, many Europeans still insistÂmost recently, during the debate over a new EU constitutionÂthat only a public square shorn of religiously-informed moral argument is safe for human rights and democracy. Precisely the opposite, Weigel suggests, is true: the people of the Âcathedralâ can give a compelling account of their commitment to everyone's freedom; the people of the Âcubeâ cannot.Can there be any true ÂpoliticsâÂany true deliberation about the common good, and any robust defense of freedomÂwithout God? George Weigel makes a powerful case that the answer is ÂNo,â because, in the final analysis, societies are only as great as their spiritual aspirations.