- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; annotated edition edition (May 11, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 019531395X
- ISBN-13: 978-0195313956
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.3 x 6.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,070,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis Hardcover – May 11, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Jenkins loves to skewer headlines, to the point that each new book seems to present nothing less than a paradigm shift. The Next Christendom and The New Faces of Christianity announced that Christendom is moving south, its face now less European than African, South American and Asian. Here he looks back at the old Christendom, and finds there a story more complicated than fading Christianity and triumphant militant Islam. Sure enough, many great cathedrals and once-charming village churches are spackling over the cracks on the states nickel. But a host of grassroots-based Catholic religious organizations are flourishing. Ours, Jenkins asserts, is actually a golden age of religious pilgrimage. And it is not only Muslims pouring into Europes borders: African Pentecostals lead thriving congregations across their adopted continent. Poles pack Englands Catholic parishes, and priests from Zaire and CoteIvoire bring new life to age-old churches in French villages. Despite world-transfixing incidents of terror, Jenkins says that Islams dramatic growth in Europe is actually largely a success story of integration and growth in toleration. Conservative and liberal cultural commentators each have their reasons for trumpeting Christianitys demise and militant Islams growth in Europe. Theyre not wholly wrongthe story just needs nuancing. And who but Jenkins could enliven this storyline with an ocean of sociological data poured into a novel-like book thats impossible to put down?
*Starred Review* From the future of Christianity in The Next Christendom(2002; rev. ed., 2007) and the current growth of Christianity in The New Faces of Christianity (2006), Jenkins turns to the state of religion on the continent most identified with historic Christianity. Common knowledge has it that European Christianity is sick unto death, and falling church attendance, baptisms, and church weddings bolster that notion. Yet in Europe independent congregations are mushrooming, a sizable proportion of new immigrants are Christian, and the trend of population growth indicates that Christianity will remain the majority faith in Europe for the foreseeable future. Jenkins also inspects Islam in Europe, analyzing the same cultural clashes that Bruce Bawer presented with literate alarm in While Europe Slept(2006), and he confirms Bawer's observation that Western European political elites have been monumentally insensitive to the complaints of ordinary Muslims and non-Muslims alike. In addition, Jenkins thoroughly discusses the moderate, peacable Islam most Muslims practice and argues that European Muslims well may settle into amicable coexistence as their incomes and comforts rise. This immensely informative, quintessentially balanced, utterly lucid volume completes Jenkins' Future of Christianity trilogy magnificently. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
The second half of the book, on Islam in Europe, is uneven. Jenkins begins with a number of generalizations to the effect that the common stories of the threat of Islam in Europe are overblown and unwarranted. But then he spends the rest of the book giving extensive detail and analysis to the effect that Islam is indeed a grave threat to European culture and Western security. It's an odd disconnect.
In all, an excellent book and well worth the read.
The second half of the book looks more closely at Islam, discussing terrorism and the French riots, showing how some people are radicalised and giving a history of many of the terrorism events of the last twenty years. He also describes some of the changes taking place in European Islam, particularly with regard to women's rights. The assumption that Islam is a monolithic faith in which there is no variation is patently false and it was encouraging to read of many of the Muslim men and women who are working as a force for good, at least as we would see it. However the overall tone of this part of the book was less positive and left the reader with the sense that Islam is very different from the liberality of most Europeans and not that willing to accommodate in most cases.Read more ›
But as to the present facts of religion in Europe, Jenkins paints with a broad brush but I think he is fairly accurate, with the glaring exception of the assessment he gives to John Calvin. He certainly gives a balanced picture of Islamic diversity in Europe and also good reasons why European governments have been extraordinarily tolerant of the kinds of activities and organisations which Islamic governments persecute and ban. This is a book informative on now. As to the future, we shall have to wait and see.
As he has made clear in "The Next Christendom," Jenkins does not see a return of Europe to its status as the center of Christianity in the near future, since for him, the next Christendom will be established in Africa and perhaps South America. So, why is he optimistic about the future of Christianity in Europe? Precisely because of immigration. As he points out, the immigration to Europe that has taken place over the past few decades has come not just from Islamic countries but from the majority Christian countries of sub-Sahara Africa. As a result, many of the largest congregations in Europe today are comprised of African immigrants and their children.
But will this mean a return to Christianity in Europe? It is at this point that Jenkins is unduly optimistic. It is unlikely that the African immigrants are going to convert their European neighbors to the faith. (Cultural differences will play their part in this, as will the fact that the immigrants tend to live in their own communities.) Moreover, although immigration has taken place, it is not likely that these immigrants will become a significant percentage of the European population any time soon, if ever.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Allah is not God, and Islam is not a religion of Abraham.
Allah in Arabic and English is 'the god' the one pagan god of Arabia and Islam. Read more
Philip Jenkins in "God's Continent" argues that the condition of Christianity in Europe is not as bad as many people, especially conservative Christians, make it out to be. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Doug Erlandson
Great insight into the European world in the late 15th century. Provides interesting information about the political and economic climate surrounding the defeat of the Arabs in... Read morePublished on April 15, 2014 by William P Saffeels
In his third installment of the Future of Christianity series, Philip Jenkins, yet again examines and challenges prevailing assumptions - this time concerning the religious... Read morePublished on April 11, 2014 by Amazon Customer
This is a must for anyone thinking that Europe is completely lost. While I do not agree with all of Jenkins conclusions and evaluations, I think he makes very strong arguments.Published on December 8, 2012 by Frank
God's Continent makes a convincing case that the decline of European Christianity and the rise of Islam in Europe are not reaching quite the apocalyptic heights feared by so many. Read morePublished on November 5, 2011 by N. Smith
Title: God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis by Phillip Jenkins
Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 1 day. Read more
This is not the first book by the author I've read, but, after it, I feel no inclination to read anything else by him. Read morePublished on February 12, 2010 by Richard Nash Creel