RE: Scientist Christians on the (European) Continent

From: Hassell, Ian C. (
Date: Tue Feb 04 2003 - 09:01:30 EST

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    I've lived and worked in Stuttgart Germany for the past 2+ years and can
    attest to the differences in attitudes toward religion in Germany.

    In German secular society God seems to have been ridiculed out of
    intellectual thought a long time ago. In contrast American secular society
    associates less of a stigma with God and/or Christianity and makes it more
    socially acceptable to be "religious".

    Within German and American churches I don't believe there is a big
    difference between the percentage of attendees who have a real relationship
    with Christ and those who, for any number of reasons, feel compelled to
    participate in the social function called "Religion".

    Many in both continents miss the point: Christianity is not a religion, it
    is a relationship with Christ. I don't have much use for "religion" myself.
    Having grown up in a very legalistic, Independent Baptist Church I learned
    first hand how easy it is to confuse rules/religion/legalism with the
    simplicity yet profound depth of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

    I did find it ironic that the Italians, by ACLU standards, suffer religious
    imposition at almost every turn. You can't even stop at a Rest Area on the
    Autostrada that isn't named in honor of a Saint.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Mccarrick Alan D CRPH []
    Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 2:27 PM
    To: 'Don Winterstein';
    Subject: RE: Scientist Christians on the (European) Continent


    Thank you for the more positive aspect of God's continued work in Europe.
    Of course, you are right, that we can never say that "God is absent" from
    one place or another. He also does not fail to accomplish His purposes. I
    only know a small group of individuals that may not be representative. I
    will continue to follow this thread, and pass on to my friend pertinent

    I would stand by my observation echoed by missionaries that I have heard of
    the difficulty of taking the gospel to contemporary Europeans. Compared
    with the US, religion is indeed greatly reduced in its presence in French
    society - excluding the growing number of Muslims and occultists. Our
    notion of freedom OF religion allowing personal expression, the French idea
    (admittedly, observed within my small group of acquaintances) is freedom
    FROM religion - you can have any beliefs, but keep them to yourself.

    What I want to make contact with "confessing" Christians (to use the older
    term) in the sciences.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Don Winterstein []
    Sent: Saturday, February 01, 2003 1:37 AM
    Subject: Re: Scientist Christians on the (European) Continent

    I don't doubt what Peter Ruest and Alan McCarrick say about the "absence of
    God" on continental Europe, but I'm having difficulty squaring those views
    with personal observations. Perhaps they can shed some light.

    I spent about 2.5 years in Bavaria in the early '60s and two years in
    Yorkshire in the early '70s, and I've made assorted other trips to most
    countries in western Europe. I often attended Sunday worship services and
    presentations of religious music. Catholic services in France and Italy
    were often packed. Protestant services elsewhere were less well attended
    but still fairly full. I sensed that attendees in northern Germany and
    Norway (Trondheim, Oslo) were fairly cold and seemed to go mostly for the
    music, but this is just a feeling since I didn't spend much time in those
    places. In no place did I have much personal interaction with the people,
    but the piety of many of the Catholics seemed obvious.


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Peter Ruest" <>
    To: "Mccarrick Alan D CRPH" <>; <>
    Sent: Friday, January 31, 2003 9:42 AM
    Subject: Re: Scientist Christians on the (European) Continent

    > Alan McCarrick wrote:
    > > We had a missionary speak at our church on his work in France and
    emphasized the almost complete absence of God from the minds of most of the
    French. We spoke briefly afterwards. He was aware of the ASA, but not that
    there is a British sister organization.
    > >
    > > Does anyone know of any similar organization in France or other part of
    continental EU ?
    > In Germany, there is the "Akademiker-SMD", the graduates' and faculty
    > branch of the SMD (Studentenmission in Deutschland, corresponding to
    > Intervarsity). For March 7-9, 2003, they plan a meeting in Kassel about
    > "Materie - der Stoff, aus dem die Welt besteht" ("Matter - the stuff of
    > which the world is composed"), with 9 speakers (six physicists - some of
    > them also active in philosophy, mathematics, or computer science -, two
    > theologians and one historian). The aim of the meeting is to
    > "investigate the mystery of the structure of our world from the
    > perspectives of the natural sciences, theology, philosophy, and
    > history."
    > But unfortunately, the characterization "almost complete absence of God
    > from the minds of most" of the people applies to Germany, Switzerland,
    > Italy, Austria, etc., as well. This situation is probably a consequence
    > of the state or otherwise publicly privileged big churches having become
    > very much secularized, while discriminating or even at times persecuting
    > the free churches which base membership on faith. A great majority of
    > the populations of these and other European countries are members of
    > such big churches, having been baptized as infants. But most of them
    > never go to church except for weddings, baptisms, and burials, know
    > virtually nothing about the Bible, don't give a d... about anything
    > Christian, but would usually be severely offended if it were suggested
    > that they were not "Christians". It is not a pure coincidence that the
    > theological liberalism destructive of the biblical faith was invented in
    > Germany.
    > Peter
    > --
    > Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
    > <> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
    > "..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)

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