European Protestants and Catholics

Do they go at it like we do here in the USA?

No. Religion in Europe is very different than in the US. First of all most of the real religious fanatics immigrated to the US in the 17th and 18th century! (I am only half joking!) The descendents of those fanatics are still forming their own churches here in the US, including some of the wackier ones. (That’s how I explain Jim Jones of the Kool-Aid drinking cultists in Guyana in 1979. Remember that?)

Italy, France, Portugal, and Spain are almost exclusively Catholic or fallen away Catholics. France and to a lesser extent the other countries have Muslims and a few Protestants, but not all the bazillions of Protestant churches that we have in the US. Some countries are largely Protestant but they tend to be a national religion from the time of the Reformation–Anglican in England (from Henry VIII), Lutheran in northern Germany, Lutheran in the Scandinavian countries, Reformed (Calvinism) in Holland, and so on. That’s kind of my theory in a nutshell.

[quote=La Chiara]No. Religion in Europe is very different than in the US. First of all most of the real religious fanatics immigrated to the US in the 17th and 18th century! (I am only half joking!) The descendents of those fanatics are still forming their own churches here in the US, including some of the wackier ones. (That’s how I explain Jim Jones of the Kool-Aid drinking cultists in Guyana in 1979. Remember that?)

Italy, France, Portugal, and Spain are almost exclusively Catholic or fallen away Catholics. France and to a lesser extent the other countries have Muslims and a few Protestants, but not all the bazillions of Protestant churches that we have in the US. Some countries are largely Protestant but they tend to be a national religion from the time of the Reformation–Anglican in England (from Henry VIII), Lutheran in northern Germany, Lutheran in the Scandinavian countries, Reformed (Calvinism) in Holland, and so on. That’s kind of my theory in a nutshell.
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People in the USA do seem to be very enthusiastic in what they do - religion definitely included.

Maybe it’s because the USA is such a young country.

FWIW, Italy has a significant Protestant minority - relations between the Waldensians and the CC seem to be healthy. There are also Calvinists.

“Operation World” is a book designed to help Evangelicals pray for mission areas - some of which are in countries which are culturally or religiously Catholic.

It’s very informative - it gives all sorts of info about the countries in question, from an Evangelical viewpoint.

I think we in Europe should be less reluctant to engage in mission work. It’s quite compatible with respecting a religion or culture - the Jesuits in 17th-century China did not find that a difficulty. Vatican II in some ways makes that easier - it releases the Church from having to take its culture with it when it goes elsewhere to plant the Church. ##

  1. I am not familiar with what FWIW means, could you explain?
  2. I don’t disagree that Italy has a Protestant minority, though I would not say it is “significant”. I would say it is pretty minor. It seems to me that the only places you will find a Protestant Church in Italy is where there are foreigners because there is international business or diplomacy. So I would say outside of Rome, Florence, Milan, Turin, Venice–the major cities–you are not going to find much in the way of Protestant churches. And where there are Protestant churches, the members are largely foreigners.
  3. I totally disagree with you. I think we should be MORE reluctant to engage in mission work to other Christians. I think it is the height of arrogance for Christians to aggressively proselytize their religions to other Christians or to others who are committed practicing adherents to another religion. Evangelization should be by deed rather than trickery, as it so often is here in the US. Mission work should focus on helping others with their needs as a primary mission, certainly with evangelization as a foundation for that work.

From a Christian perspective, Europe is moribund. Very few Europeans, Catholic or Protestant, attend church regularly. Having lived there for several years, I can assure you that, in general, Europeans are even more materialistic than Americans. The truth is that, unless there is some miraculous occurrence, most of Europe is doomed to continue its degeneration into neo-paganism and further feminization, thereby making them vulnerable to more aggressive and dynamic external influences such as Islam. The demographics are also running against the Europeans and what’s left of western–i.e., Christian–civilization. Most European nations are not even maintaining their own current populations. It’s estimated that by the end of the 21st century, France may be predominantly Moslem.

[quote=mark a]Do they go at it like we do here in the USA?
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Are you kidding? Where do you think the term “burning at the stake” originated? Fewer than 10% of nominal Christians of any denomination in most European countries attend Church at all, the threat there is the Islamic invasion.

[quote=larryo]From a Christian perspective, Europe is moribund. Very few Europeans, Catholic or Protestant, attend church regularly. Having lived there for several years, I can assure you that, in general, Europeans are even more materialistic than Americans. The truth is that, unless there is some miraculous occurrence, most of Europe is doomed to continue its degeneration into neo-paganism and further feminization, thereby making them vulnerable to more aggressive and dynamic external influences such as Islam. The demographics are also running against the Europeans and what’s left of western–i.e., Christian–civilization. Most European nations are not even maintaining their own current populations. It’s estimated that by the end of the 21st century, France may be predominantly Moslem.
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Larry–I imagine I have lived in Europe longer than you have (6 years) but I would not make such sweeping generalizations about Europeans or their faith. And don’t forget that the dire predictions in the 1970s about the “population bomb” used to justify “zero-population growth” and birth control, never came true in the US. So beware “estimates” and remember that statistics lie.

[quote=La Chiara]1. I am not familiar with what FWIW means, could you explain?
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Sorry :slight_smile: FWIW = For What It’s Worth

  1. I don’t disagree that Italy has a Protestant minority, though I would not say it is “significant”. I would say it is pretty minor. It seems to me that the only places you will find a Protestant Church in Italy is where there are foreigners because there is international business or diplomacy. So I would say outside of Rome, Florence, Milan, Turin, Venice–the major cities–you are not going to find much in the way of Protestant churches. And where there are Protestant churches, the members are largely foreigners.
  2. I totally disagree with you. I think we should be MORE reluctant to engage in mission work to other Christians. I think it is the height of arrogance for Christians to aggressively proselytize their religions to other Christians or to others who are committed practicing adherents to another religion. Evangelization should be by deed rather than trickery, as it so often is here in the US. Mission work should focus on helping others with their needs as a primary mission, certainly with evangelization as a foundation for that work.

I agree with you - proselytism is not evangelisation, and I think proselytism (= evangelism under false pretences, or in a way unworthy of the Gospel) has been forbidden by Rome. I was not suggesting anything unworthy of our vocation as Christians - that would be counter-productive and self-defeating and wrong.

The Church has been entrusted with the best news possible - and if we really love those for whom Christ died, we should share we have received, and not hog it. It’s meant to be shared. I even said we should be respectful of other faiths: not Christians, but non-Christians (hence the mention of the Chinese Jesuits) - but what they do not yet seem to have been granted, is the thing that has been granted to us, through no desert of our own whatsoever. It is not just for our benefit. And people can never be converted except freely, willingly, without compulsion from us. ##

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