Skip to main content

The Western Paradox: Why the United States is more Religious but less Christian than Europe

Pabst, Adrian (2012) The Western Paradox: Why the United States is more Religious but less Christian than Europe. In: Leustean, Lucian N., ed. Representing Religion in the European Union: Does God Matter? Routledge Studies in Religion and Politics . Routledge, London, pp. 169-184. ISBN 978-0-415-68504-7. (KAR id:37469)

PDF (pdf of full text) Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English
Download (329kB) Preview
Official URL


This paper argues that the transatlantic secularisation debate lacks certain philosophical and theological concepts to make sense of politics and faith in the United States and Europe. The first part suggests that secularisation and de-secularisation theories are wedded to a secular perspective that essentialises religion. The second section links US religiosity to a post-Christian Gnostic spirituality that perpetuates the myth of American exceptionalism. The third section concedes that Europe is the most secularised continent but contends that it remains a vestigially Christian polity. What emerges is a paradox: the United States is more religious but less Christian than Europe.

Item Type: Book section
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Adrian Pabst
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2013 20:22 UTC
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2019 04:05 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Pabst, Adrian:
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year