In reaction to a recent article, well-known atheist and author Richard Dawkins Tweeted Wednesday that we should not rejoice over the death of Christianity in Europe because we do not know what might replace it.
“Before we rejoice at the death throes of the relatively benign Christian religion, let’s not forget Hilaire Belloc’s menacing rhyme: ‘Always keep a-hold of nurse, For fear of finding something worse.’”
The article Dawkins referenced points to a report conducted by Stephen Bullivant, professor of Theology and the Sociology of Religion at St. Mary’s University in London which found that young people, ages 16 to 29, are not attending or have never attended religious services.
The report showed that the majority of young adults in 12 European countries practice no form of faith, the Czech Republic being the least religious. It also found that 70 percent of young people in the UK do not identify with any religion, with 59 percent never attending a religious service at all.
Bullivant stated that many young adults in Europe do not identify themselves with any kind of faith.
“With some notable exceptions, young adults increasingly are not identifying with or practicing religion. Christianity as a default, as a norm, is gone, and probably gone for good – or at least for the next 100 years,” he said.
Bullivant also stated that the high rate of immigration has had a major impact on the religious views of those surveyed.
“One in five Catholics in the U.K. were not born in the U.K., and we know the Muslim birthrate is higher than the general population, and they have much higher [religious] retention rates.”
In previous comments, Dawkins has said he recognizes the danger Islam poses to European Christianity.
“There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death,” he said.
In July 2017, KPFA Radio in Berkeley, California disinvited Dawkins from an interview because of his past criticisms regarding Islam.
In response, Dawkins asked why there was a double standard when it came to questioning Islam.
“Why do you give Islam a free pass? Why is it fine to criticize Christianity but not Islam?”
During a speech at the Cheltenham Science Festival, Dawkins said that Islam poses a worse threat than any other religion.
“It’s tempting to say all religions are bad, and I do say all religions are bad, but it’s a worse temptation to say all religions are equally bad because they’re not,” he said.
“If you look at the actual impact that different religions have on the world it’s quite apparent that at present the most evil religion in the world has to be Islam,” he concluded.
However, after stating in a 2015 interview that children need to be protected from the religious beliefs of their parents, Dawkins admitted he does feel concern over the rapid decline of European Christianity.
“In so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse,” he said.