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Siedentop, Larry

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2 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

ABC - Spain | 22/04/2008

Larry Siedentop regrets that Europe has lost its faith

British historian Larry Siedentop writes that Europe is cutting its Christian roots. "Why do Europeans prefer to make reference to their Greek and ancient Roman cultural influence instead of that of the Church ? The answer is to be found in the way that secularism has been understood - or misunderstood - in Europe. The arguments in favour of secularism were developped during the anti-clerical period of the 18th and 19th Centuries. ... But the old antagonism still lurks under the surface. It resurfaced over the debate whether the proposed constitutional treaty for the EU should recognise the Christian roots of Europe. The visceral reaction of the French Left has its counterpart in Church rhetoric deploring the growth of 'godless' secularism. ... [This situation] is tragic because, by identifying European secularism with nonbelief and materialism, it deprives Europe of moral authority - playing into the hands of those who are only too anxious to portray Europe as decadent and without belief."

Die Welt - Germany | 29/01/2007

Larry Siedentop on Christian references in the EU constitution

Larry Siedentop, an American historian who teaches at Oxford University, speaks out in favour of references to God in the European constitution. He points to the danger of Europeans becoming separated from their roots owing to misunderstood secularism. "This is Europe's undeclared 'civil war'. It is as tragic as it is unnecessary. Tragic because equating European secularism with lack of faith and materialism robs Europe of its moral authority – and therefore plays right into the hands of those who portray Europe as decadent and lacking faith. Unnecessary because it is based on a misconception of the nature of secularism... Secularism by no means lacks moral substance. It is not a neutral or 'value-free' framework, to use the language of modern social sciences. Instead, it demonstrates the conditions under which true belief should be formed and defended. It makes a faith that is worthy of the name possible. Secularism creates the conditions for separating inner belief from external conformity."

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