Christianity in Europe
The Decline of European Christianity, 1675-Present
The demise of Christianity in Europe coincides with the rise of the Age of Enlightenment at the end of the 17th century.
Up to that moment, Europe had been relatively one in religious belief. True, religious wars had been raging for more than a century, with the fracturing of nations in the wake of the “Protestant Reformation.” But even then, Europe had acknowledged a single Savior — wherein lay His Church was the major point of contention. But today Europe exists in a post-Christian state. Its Christian identity has collapsed under the weight of Romantic-Enlightenment ideals, expressed dramatically in the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century and adopted politically throughout the continent as a result of a more man-centered, rather than God-centered, vision of life. This paper will trace the decline of European Christianity and provide three reasons why Christendom collapsed in Europe in the modern era: the prevailing new doctrine of “natural man” in no need of saving;
the rise of a new geopolitical group in opposition to Church authority;
and the usurpation of governmental control by non-Christian financiers.
Rousseau’s Social Contract
The ascent of the new doctrine of “natural man” — distinct from the concept of “fallen man” as taught by centuries of believing Christians — came out of the humanist ideals of the Renaissance and the new age of Enlightenment which viewed man as something distinct from what the Bible claimed him to be. Europe, saturated by bloodshed, was primed to forget its religious woes, and turn to “science” as a new doctrine for explaining its existence and state of being. Thus, Reason became “all” (later enshrined in Paris, as a goddess due worship, by the Revolutionaries there). Rousseau’s Social Contract became the voice of Reason: “Man is born free — and everywhere he is in chains,” Rousseau stated with absolute conviction.
The implication was clear for all of his followers: the chains were the binding testaments of the Old World, which saw sin as St. Augustine did — a chain of enslavement. Rousseau and the Romantics dismissed this Old World ideology and saw what the Christians called sin as natural and, therefore, good. The only evil was that which curbed one’s passion. Since Christianity, for centuries, had taught its followers to curb dangerous passions, Christianity became Enemy No. 1 in the eyes of Romantic-Enlightenment “missionaries.”
Rousseau’s coming had been prepared by the Rationalists, those who viewed Faith as antithetical to reason, contrary to the doctrine of medieval scholastic Thomas Aquinas, who taught that Faith built upon Reason.
Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica had been published in 1687 and gave a decidedly non-Christian take on the universe. Spinoza, who died in 1677, has been described as “the chief challenger of the fundamentals of revealed religion.”
Richard Weaver cites the attack on universals, initiated by William of Occam at the beginning of the 14th century, as the beginning of the decline of Christian Europe.
For Weaver, the Church was absolutist and convinced of universal truths. Occam denied the existence of universals and thus elevated subjectivity over objectivity. The primacy of the subjective allowed kings (such as Henry VIII) to denounce the authority of the Pontiff over England. It allowed Napoleon to claim authority over France in the wake of the French Revolution (an event which further triggered the collapse of what was left of Christendom). It allowed the philosophers to denounce the objectivity of the scholastics.
Thus, by 1675, Spinoza and the Enlightenment philosophers had firmly embedded their ideas in mainstream European culture. It is not surprising that Adam Weishaupt and the Institution of Freemasonry, which adopted the Enlightenment doctrine, should turn against the Church, which condemned it.
Rise of the Masonic Influence
Weishaupt was Jesuit trained in the latter half of the 18th century, but his predilection was not for religion but rather political control. By inverting the model of Jesuit formation (using the Church’s mode of confession not as a means of forgiving sin but as a means of controlling sinners), Weishaupt’s followers gained access to the secret sins of high-ranking individuals all across Europe, who joined in the ranks of the secret societies just coming into vogue. A new social order was in demand — how to get it was the question. In 1796, the conservative journal Eudaemonia published this letter aimed at Weishaupt’s new order model: “Anyone who remembers the artificial machine of the former Jesuits will not find it difficult to rediscover this same machine under another name and with another motive in the Illuminati. The former Jesuits were driven by superstition, and the Illuminati of the present are driven by their unbelief, but the goal of both is the same, the order’s universal domination of mankind.”
As Jones notes, it was not the “new order” that frightened the writer, but the “tainted” means of obtaining that structure. According to Jones, “it was Weishaupt’s genius to come up with a system of control that proved effective in the absence of religious sanction.”
What Christendom had held together through a doctrine of prayer and penance, charity and virtue, the Masonic lodges attempted to hold together through a doctrine of “natural” science, Enlightenment, blackmail (this is where “confession” came in handy), and overthrow.
The Financial Backers
The overthrowing of the few remaining Christian governments, however, could not be accomplished without help from the financial backers of the time — and these were decidedly non-Christian. They were Ashkenazi Jews, who spoke Yiddish, the language of the Khazars, who converted as a nation to Judaism in the 8th century. The transition from a Europe which was led by Christian leaders to a Europe which was directed by Jewish financiers was a delicate one. First, the Christian leaders fell out with one another: Charles V, Catholic Emperor of Spain and Germany was at war with Catholic monarch Francis I of France, who signed a formal alliance with the Turkish Sultan against Charles in the 16th century. Henry VIII fell out with the Christian princes of Europe. The Reformers fell out with one another. Each nation needed financing, and the Rothschilds were in a prime position to lend to the leading nations. From that one single family grew a dynasty which overtook Europe and saw to directing much of its affairs.
The Jews, who had been expelled from virtually every nation in Europe throughout the Middle Ages of Christendom, were back. Oliver Cromwell reversed the edict of expulsion in England in 1649 and in 1694 England had its first “Bank of England,” controlled not by the government as its name presupposes but by the Ashkenazi. The separation of Church and State, which the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 had essentially ushered in (described by the Church-antagonist Voltaire as a landmark event for Europe), had paved the way for this transition from Church authority over European nations to Financial authority (via the Ashkenazi) over those same nations by the 20th century. These financiers backed every revolution from the French to the Russian (Trotsky made a special visit to New York to obtain money from Jewish mogul Jacob Schiff).
A Continent Torn Apart
By the 1900s, Europe was ready to be shattered completely as a new alliance of geopolitical interests (backed by financiers, new imperialists, and business industrialists) conducted two world wars, which devastated the continent, set European nations back half a century, and allowed foreign lands to be grabbed by the aggressors (victors). The Golden Rule of the Christian era was obsolete in the new world order — the novus ordo seclorum depicted on the back of the United States dollar bill. What had replaced Christianity in Europe was visibly demonstrable: it was unbridled excess, greed, and violence, ushered in on the back of the so-called rationalist-humanist movement.
Thus, by the time second Vatican Council convened in 1962, Europe had lost the faith and the new churchmen saw a need to meet modern man on a new plane — the plane of modernity. Church doctrine, the Council virtually conceded, was outdated and archaic. What was needed was a new approach to the faithless European. What the faithless European got was a Church unsure of the validity of its own faith. The post-Council Pontiffs, from John Paul II to Francis I have shown a remarkable tendency to pray with non-Catholics, a heretical act according to the Old World doctrine of Christendom. Today’s churchmen, however, view it as a way of reaching out to those same non-Christians. It is meant to be a means of conversion — but the question is, who is being converted? More vocations have been lost and more churches have been closed since the second Vatican council concluded in 1965 than at any other time in Christian history. It is perhaps significant to behold that at the Council was a group of influential leaders of a newly erected Middle Eastern state.
In conclusion, Europe’s Christian faith was lost by a steady and gradual means which may be said to have begun in the latter half of the 17th century under the influence of the Rationalists like Spinoza and Newton and the Romantics of the 18th century like Rousseau. But it may also be said to have begun earlier under the influence of William of Occam in the 14th century or the auspices of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Whatever date one chooses to mark the decline, decline in faith it did, with different systems of order being erected to replace the crumbling columns left behind as the churches were sacked in one revolution, or reformation, after another. The authority that men had given Christian leaders was taken away by the next generation of men and given to diplomats, statists, financial lenders, and materialistic/atheistic philosophers. The salons of Europe were breeding grounds for “new” ideas — and as Weaver has observed, ideas have consequences. The consequences for Europe were a marked loss of faith and Christian influence.
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29, no. 3 (Jul-Sep, 1968), 347-66.
Kennedy, Daniel. “St. Thomas Aquinas.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. (NY:
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Israel, Jonathan. Radical Enlightenment Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750 (UK: Oxford University Press, 2002), 3.
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Rousseau, Social Contract, 1.
Kennedy, Daniel. “St. Thomas Aquinas.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. (NY: Robert Appleton Company, 1912). 1 Dec 2014
Israel, 2002, p. 159.
Weaver, Richard. Ideas Have Consequences. (IL: University of Chicago, 1984), 3.
Kelly, George A. “Rousseau, Kant, and History.” Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 29, no. 3 (Jul-Sep, 1968), 347.
Jones, 2000, 13.
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Straus, Raphael. “The Jews in the Economic Evolution of Central Europe.” Jewish Social Studies, vol. 3, no. 1 (Jan, 1941), 15.
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