We might think that this preaching will fall on unreceptive ears. But I’m not so sure.
The Washington Post reports that there are 150 churches in Denmark and more than 250 in Britain run by foreigners as “part of a growing trend of preachers from developing nations coming to Western Europe.” Stendor Johansen, a Danish sea captain, seems to reflect the sentiments of many Europeans who are joining the new congregations. “The Danish church is boring,” he says. “I feel energized when I leave one of these services.” If more people come to share these sentiments then secularization may ultimately be reversed even in Europe.
Peter Berger writes about what he calls the “myth of secularization:’ He means that the thesis of inevitable secularization has now lost its credibility. In fact, it is going the way of Zeus and Baal. Berger’s work points to the reason for this. Ultimately secularization may be reversed even in Europe.
Berger argues that modernization helps people triumph over necessity but it also produces a profound crisis of purpose in modern life. The greater the effects of modernization, the stronger the social anxiety and the striving for “something more.” As Wolfhart Pannenberg puts it, “Secular culture itself produces a deep need for meaning in life and therefore also for religion.” This may not be religion in the same form in which it is imbibed in Nigeria or Korea, but it is traditional religion all the same, no less vital for having adapted to new circumstances. It is quite possible that a renewed Christianity can improve modern life by correcting some of the deficiencies and curbing some of theexcesses of modernity.
I have found this to be true in my own life. I am a native of India, and my ancestors were converted to Christianity by Portuguese missionaries. As this was the era of the Portuguese Inquisition, some force and bludgeoning may also have been involved. When I came to America as a student in 1978, my Christianity was largely a matter of birth and habit. But even as I plunged myself into modern life in the United