This year I’ve had the great fortune to take three vacations in Europe. I’ve walked or biked through beautiful small towns and the historic centers of great cities. In every town, and every city, I’ve found amazing churches. Of all the sights of Europe, I can’t seem to stop thinking about the churches.
I was inspired and amazed by their splendor. Some took more than a hundred years to build. They seem to be everywhere, in least in the historic parts. In Bruges, Belgium there are three cathedrals, and one has a sculpture by Michelangelo. These churches contain the greatest art of the Middle Ages. Many are jaw-droppingly beautiful, others serene, others just impressive. They are magnificent monuments to the glory of God.
The churches of Europe are burdened with a sad history of religious intolerance and bloodshed. Armies were launched, and monarchies rose and fell, falsely in the name of God. As I noted in my book, it’s a lot easier to get someone to fight for you and die for you if you can convince them that God wants them to do it. This misuse of religion is rampant in history, from the Crusades to the Protestant/Catholic wars to today’s hijacking of Islam by radicals.
The churches of Europe are also, it pains me to say, becoming empty. This is more so in Northern Europe; in Belgium some are now being used primarily as museums or public meeting places. Church attendance in Europe is declining. It is very sad that the countries with the most magnificent churches are turning away from God. The disease of Scientism – the false belief system that our material world is all there is and that there are no truths outside the laws of science – is rampant in Europe, and it is growing dangerously in America.
I suppose there are many reasons for this, perhaps their bloody history of religious battles makes many Europeans want to distance themselves from God. I think the false belief that science is contrary to God is a key reason. People seem to think we are here by accident. To me, the belief that we are here by accident is a superstition, and the idea that science supports it is the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the human race.
Thanks for reading. If you’re in Vero Beach Florida next Tuesday, Oct. 21, I invite you to stop by Trinity Church at 6 pm for my talk.