European Exceptionalism

There is indeed an emerging global culture. It has both elite and popular dimensions. It is mostly Western and especially American both in origin and content. Its lingua franca is English, and American English to boot. It is perceived as a great promise by some, as a great threat by others, both outside and inside the West …. Most of the world today is as religious as it ever was, and in some places is more religious than ever, though there are two exceptions to this. One exception is sociological, the other geographical. The sociological exception is is a cross-national cultural elite, consisting mostly of people with Western-style higher education, especially in the humanities and the social sciences … The geographical exception is western and central Europe … [I]t is Europe, not America, that is exceptional” when it comes to religion.

Peter Berger, Globalization and Religion, Hedgehog Review, June 2002

August 11, 2019


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