Religion and the Struggle for European Union

Jul 11, 2016

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  (Originally broadcast 02/12/16) - In their book, Religion and the Struggle for European Union: Confessional Culture and the Limits of Integration (Georgetown University Press, 2015), Furman University professors Brent F. Nelsen and James L. Guth delve into the powerful role of religion in shaping European attitudes on politics, political integration, and the national and continental identities of its leaders and citizens. Catholicism for centuries promoted the universality of the Church and the essential unity of Christendom. Protestantism, by contrast, esteemed particularity and feared Catholic dominance.

Nelsen and Guth compare the Catholic view of Europe as a single cultural entity best governed as a unified polity against traditional Protestant estrangement from continental culture and its preference for pragmatic cooperation over the sacrifice of sovereignty. As the authors show, this deep cultural divide, rooted in the struggles of the Reformation, resists the ongoing secularization of the continent.

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