July 29, 2021

“The twenty-first century of Christianity”: in the time of disenchantment

«The XXIe century of Christianity ”, edited by Dominique Reynié, Cerf, 376 p., € 20, digital € 13.

According to a study by the American think tank Pew Research Center, 84% of the world population claimed a religious affiliation in 2017. The idea of ​​a gradual exit from religion, an old and long structuring belief, is receding. It can even appear as an incongruity at a time as marked as ours by the affirmation of religious identity – from Poland to Burma, via Turkey or India -, globalized jihadism or the rise of the evangelists. in Latin America or in the United States, phenomena without common measure but which converge towards this evidence: it is not possible to think of the XXIe century without placing religious faith at the center of the analysis.

Inventory and cross-sectional studies

This is what, for the Christian area (31% of believers, according to the same study), the authors gathered by Dominique Reynié in Le XXIe century of Christianity, collection of nine long surveys conducted under the aegis of the Foundation for Political Innovation (Fondapol), headed by the political scientist. To the abundantly documented inventory of each Christian denomination, cross-sectional studies are answered, in particular on the role that Christians can play in secular societies, all of which draws a picture of exemplary scope and precision. The encyclopedic approach does not, however, exhaust the interest of the book, which also proves to be a fascinating exploration of the possibilities which the situation described is promising.

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Bertrand Badie and Pierre Birnbaum noted, in Sociology of the State (Grasset, 1979), the links between the rule of law on which liberal democracies are based and “The deep disjunction” practiced by christianity “Between the temporal and the spiritual”. However if this principle of separation of Churches and States, note Philippe Portier and Jean-Paul Willaime, has been rather obscured in the history of Christianity in favor of a vision “You organized” of society, it nonetheless represents a Christian singularity which, recalls Dominique Reynié, derives from the Gospels – “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18,36). And, in fact, the promise of autonomy that it contains created between the modernity of the Enlightenment and the Christianity of the “Elective affinities”, in the words of Max Weber.

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