From the time of Alexander the great, through the imperial commands of the Romans, through the cultural prosperity of the Byzantines, through the inhuman theocracy of the ecclesiastic, the society of Europe is now where it is, mandated by democracy, given up itself to secularism and proclaiming itself to be the champion of human rights.
From a religious retrospect, the Europeans have been subject to a consistent transition for millennia, from the Greco-Roman days of paganism, through the promulgation of Christianity as the official religion by Constantine associated with and accompanied by heresies and schisms, successfully defeating the expansionist tendencies of Islam up to a certain extent and transforming itself to a secular society, thanks to the modern revolutions and massive movements of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Europe introduced world the concept secularism as the separation of church (religion) and state, but Europeans later transformed that concept of secularism to the rejection of religion and the acceptance of state and it was an apparent rejection of Christianity as the religion. Even in his recent Regensburg lecture, the Holy Father was concerned about the over secularization of Europe, but it is from a papal perspective, the rollback of modern democracy to medieval theocracy is inconceivable.
The secular adoption of Europe is of with no parallels in history, as when the rest of the world was in the midst of superstitions and in the darkness of religious dogmatism, Europe with at most adventurism embracing the intellectual path of human thought conquered the quest of the inquisitors, successfully separated church and state, so that its inhabitants of present enjoy the saccharine fruits of freedom for the vinegary seeds sown by their forefathers.
At this crucial juncture what will be the religious future of Europe? The ghost of the twin towers far across the Atlantic is haunting the minds of Europeans, the implications of the cartoon controversy are afresh in their memories and are there far right politicians and intellectuals predicting the emergence and establishment of a Eurabia. The far right politics, armed with all arguments want to educate the commons the imminent danger of Islam and the consequences are that the Hijab is banned in France, the Dutch right wing is all set to take over Amsterdam and that the anti immigration movements are gathering further momentum.
From a different perspective, the current religious ambience of Europe gives us a very ambiguous picture. On one hand, churches are empty, religious festivals as celebrated by Christianity are of no divine significance and the religious icons are either disregarded or even disrespected by the disciples of the great religion of Christ. On the other, there is a Muslim demography burgeoning, Islam as viewed by its own puritans is marching towards an inevitable objective and are mosques erected day by day, that such an Arabian architecture decorates even the city of Rome once the heart of Christianity, which can be seen from the papal State of Vatican and from which the Mohammedan rhymes can be heard five times a day by the Sancta Sedes.
Thus it is more about the future of Christianity in Europe than about the future of religion of Europe. Concerning the former it is an issue of existence, but concerning the latter time will take its own course and another chapter will be appended to the history of the religious transition of Europe.
Probably this may be the last hope of Christianity in Europe. The European society which is now accustomed to secular privileges is in no way willing to give them up, nor is it letting itself to be subjugated to the theocratic ethics which evolved to a dictatorship during the dark ages. The takeover of Islam by Europe by Islam will be a reversal to theocracy with only the oppressive religion replaced; Islam replacing Christianity.
With all the thirst towards luxurious life style, the entire quest towards monitory achievements and the whole enthusiasm to reject the intervention of religion in public life, Europeans are aware that it was for the struggle and strivings which lasted for centuries that they achieved the freedom that they enjoy today. They are more or less aware that Christianity as of medieval ages was a corrupted from of the religion of Christ and that it was reversal of this corruption that they accomplished at the cost of so many lives.
At least it is highly improbable that the ecclesiastical tyranny is in return, but it is extremely probable that the Islamic radicalism is introduced putting an iron curtain to all the privileges of these days. The outcome may be that European society asserts its Christian identity as a defense and that Christianity may be rejuvenated in Europe in its moderate form, whatever objective Church could never achieve on its own, Islam will let Church achieve.