Christianity in Europe—Losing Faith?

Article—Issue 26 (December, 2020)

Tobias Brandner
Associate Director

A few years ago, with a group of Hong Kong students on a study tour through Europe, we passed by a church in Berlin that had been turned into a center for the unemployed to find rest and counseling. The students’ immediate reaction was: “Oh, what a pity that this beautiful church stands empty.” Indeed, when Chinese Christians talk about Christianity in Europe, or in the West in general, one of the most common reactions is “It’s so sad how people in Europe have lost faith.”

In such expressions, one finds a mix of feelings and attitudes: genuine sadness about an apparently obvious decline; thinly veiled criticism, of Europeans in general for their lack of faith, and of European Christians in particular for their lack of evangelistic vigor; a sense of calling, i.e., that it has fallen to ‘the East’ to take up the baton of evangelization and global leadership in the spiritual realm, similar to what is claimed to be happening in the political and economic realms; and even sorrowful foresight, that what has taken place in Europe may also come to Hong Kong, with local Christianity already showing signs of what is often called ‘secularization’, and that even Christianity in mainland China, which for the past 30 years has shown such fabulous growth, may not be immune.

The following article discusses the so-called decline of Christianity in the West. First, it provides a short description of this shift in the religious landscape. Next, it discusses sociological and historical theories about the reasons and origins of this process. Finally, it offers an assessment of this development: how to view it, and how to cope with it.

Towards a Post-Christian Europe

That the numbers of practicing Christians in Europe are shrinking is uncontested. The typical Sunday morning congregation — a large church building in the center of a rural or urban community — consists of a few white-haired elderly people whose fragile voices are drowned by a booming pipe organ. Statistics from the World Christian Database (WCD) illustrate this dramatic decline. In Germany, Christianity has declined from 98.56% to 67.29% between 1900 and 2015, in the UK from 97.44% to 69.40%. The authors predict a further decline for these two countries by 2050, to 58.79% and 56.76% respectively. The reality is even worse than these numbers suggest: the WCD’s numbers are based not on worship attendance but on church membership. Furthermore, many people maintain membership simply out of nostalgia; out of solidarity with an organization seen as serving some social purpose; or for access to the main provider of core life rituals such as baptisms, weddings, and funerals.

However, membership does not mean participation. The famous dictum of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The church is the church only when it exists for others” (Bonhoeffer 1971: 382), has assumed a new, sadlly ironic meaning: not existing for the benefit of others, but existing merely for others (i.e., “not me”) to participate.

Indeed, the Church of England saw only 4.3 percent of people living within its dioceses participate in one of its Christmas services in 2014 – and Christmas is the service that draws the largest numbers of worshippers each year (Peterson 2018: 3; for more examples of this decline, see McLeod 2003: 2-5). Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of the Church of England, described England as a post-Christian country (Peterson 2018: 2-3), and the same could be said of most parts of Europe. There is decreasing interest in those traditional Christian rituals, a decrease in biblical knowledge, and — interesting for theological educators — decreasing interest in theological studies.

There are, of course, bright spots in this bleak picture. In some cities, one may find revivalist churches, where the presence of younger people contrasts with the predominance of elderly people in the traditional churches. However, while the decline may be affecting revivalist churches less urgently, there is no evidence of such churches growing significantly enough to compensate for the decline in established Christianity. The only churches clearly flourishing are migrant congregations of African, Asian, or Latin American Christians. Yet, they remain limited ethnically and struggle to reach the social majority.

Old church buildings have become a heavy burden for financially stretched churches. Leaders use various strategies to deal with the burden of their architectonical heritage: some churches are demolished; others are sold or converted into community centers; still others are turned into commercial venues such as restaurants, hotels, bookstores; some maintain a basic religious use that is complemented by cultural programs; and some simply share their space with other religious groups.

The traditionally close links between church and state are gradually decaying. Traditional denominational churches (Anglicans in England, Lutherans in Germany and Scandinavia, Reformed in Switzerland, Scotland, or Netherlands, Catholics in Southern Europe and across central Europe) still maintain a vision of a broad church that includes all of society. Yet, the reality on the ground is increasingly converting these churches into voluntary organizations – in other words, not much different from the revivalist ‘free’ churches.

Parallel to the decline in individual religiosity (what sociologists call ‘subjective secularization’), churches are losing their traditional hegemony in society and culture (‘objective secularization’), perhaps most obviously their declining influence on sexual ethics and marriage. Religious worldviews stand next to alternative worldviews, compete with them and are subject to the same market forces that dominate other parts of human life. Religious faith has become something that is not taken for granted anymore but must be actively chosen. This inevitability of choosing from among multiple options (including the claim of ‘no faith’) naturally leads to what Peter Berger, a sociologist of religion, calls a ‘heretical imperative’, ‘a movement from fate to choice’ (Berger 1979: 11): since there is no overarching and authoritative worldview, one necessarily chooses between faiths, each of which claims a kind of ultimate authority even while professing tolerance and inclusivity. Secularity is thus a “move from a society where belief in God is unchallenged and indeed, unproblematic, to one in which it is understood to be one option among others, [...]” (Taylor 2007: 3).

Social Reasons for the Deline: the Secularization Theory

The discussion about why Christian faith in Europe (and in the West overall) is declining is first played out in the field of sociology. Durkheim explained that the industrial revolution brought social and cultural diversity, where people of different faiths lived side by side and no single faith could claim exclusive truth. The reality of religious pluralism led to a privatization of faith and to individualization. At the same time, as more and more areas of life organized themselves without recourse to religious authority, the sphere of religion was diminished (Durkheim 1984: 119-20). Max Weber suggested that the rise of modern science led to what he calls a ‘disenchantment’ of the world: A magic world view, in which everything is caused by what are supposed to be non-human powers, is replaced by a scientific world view that sees only natural laws at work. Ironically, these Enlightenment forces have their roots in Protestantism. According to Weber, Protestant Christianity is the victim of its own success, undermined by the rationalizing and disenchanting forces that it brought into being. The modern world thus brought a demystification of the world, reflecting ‘man’s increasing rationality’ (Wilson 1966: 78), and a differentiation of society, with specialized sub-systems such as politics, economy, law, education, religion, none of which could claim authority over the others.

Many sociologists were convinced that modernity would inevitably lead to secularization (Bruce 2001: 250) and to the disappearance of religion. In complex societies, where people of different religious or secular faiths live side by side and compete, the mere presence of alternative claims of truth naturally means that the previously taken-for-granted claim(s) of absolute truth will face re-examination. These sociologists thought that such a relativization, together with the parallel dynamics of marketization, individualization, and subjectivization, would ultimately undermine religious belief overall. Yet, in the 1970s, these views began to change as, to many sociologists’ surprise, religions were showing great tenacity. Peter Berger revised his theory that took the demise of religion for granted, admitting that it “has turned out to be wrong” (Berger 1999: 3). Although modernity did have a secularizing effect, there were also movements of counter-secularization and processes of re-enchantment. More particularly, conservative and traditionalist religious groups who did not compromise with modernity ‘are on the rise almost everywhere’ (Berger 1999:6). Examples of this are the rise of Pentecostal Christianity since the 1980s and the rise of fundamentalism both in Christianity and in Islam.

Other sociologists argue that religion has not so much disappeared but has simply shifted into non-institutional and more subjective forms. Typical expressions of such non-institutional religiosity are the popular belief in New Age religiosity and the commonly heard distinction between religion and spirituality. Many people nowadays are maybe less religious and surely less interested in institutional religiosity, but they are not less spiritual. While all these scholars have moved away from the traditional secularization thesis (that modernity naturally leads to a decline in religious beliefs), their theories have modified the theory rather than completely replacing it. The shift in religiosity still signifies a clear loss of authority for traditional religion or, more simply, a clear decline of Christianity.

Secularization in Europe as a Special Case

David Martin, another famous sociologist of religion, supported the secularization theory in principle but did not see it as a universal and necessary course in the evolution of modernity (Martin 1990: 295). He pointed out how secularization in Europe and North America have followed different trajectories and argued that the European form of secularization stems from Europe’s specific historical experiences. Indeed, historical studies have contributed significantly to an understanding of the decline of Christianity in Europe.

Several events and intellectual shifts in European history contributed to a decline in Christian faith, or at least to a decline of attachment to the Christian church as an institution. The following summary mentions only major elements of this process.

The church started in the 1st century as a small alternative community standing in radical opposition to the Roman Empire. This changed when Constantine adopted Christianity in the 4th century as his preferred religion and, subsequently, Christianity became the empire’s official religion. With this, virtually every member of society automatically became a Christian.

The first crack in this marriage between church and society appeared in the famous investiture controversy of the 11th century, when church and state clashed over the question of who held ultimate authority in a politically and religiously unified Europe: After King Henry IV had claimed for himself the right to appoint bishops, Pope Gregory VII excommunicated him and compelled him to do penance (before the pope himself) before being readmitted to the church. Excommunication from the church would have made Henry’s continuous rule impossible. While the church emerged victorious from this conflict (at Canossa in 1077), the confrontation signified the beginning of the end of the Catholic church’s domination of European society. Ever since, political leaders have been suspicious of a church that could even bring a king to his knees. Thus, the event sowed the seeds of a division between religious and social belonging.

The next step in the separation of church and state and towards a secularized society happened during the Reformation. Although the Reformation was intended as a revival and purification of Christianity, the theological, cultural, and social shifts of the time had the long-term impact of indirectly contributing to a decline in religiosity. The magisterial reformers rejected the medieval concept of church-state relations, which regarded the church as superior to the state. Instead, they argued that political leaders equally perform the work of God and do so directly, without the church as mediator. This new understanding of the political realm reflected a deeper social and cultural shift, with a more positive view of the world. Traditionally, a life dedicated to God meant withdrawing from the world; now, the reformers emphasized that a Christian should rather serve God within the world. Whether as carpenter or cook, as fisherman or farmer, each Christian is called to worship God through his whole life, including his professional work. Of course, this shift on the level of ideas reflected more fundamental changes in people’s lives: the rise of an independent-minded urban population; and people’s growing confidence about mastering their own lives, not being passively subject to dark fate. The long-term result of this delimitation and diffusion of a “God-pleasing life” was that it became unnecessary to serve God in the church if one could serve God through one’s work.

The next historical experience that contributed to a decline in people’s religiosity was the devastating experience of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48). This war caused unprecedented destruction across large parts of central Europe, with an estimated death toll of 8 million. In present-day Germany, around half the male population died from war and war-related diseases. Although the war had strong political roots, it was generally perceived as a confessional war between Catholics and Protestants.

The destruction of the war brought a negative perception of Christianity, a fundamental disillusionment regarding religious faith’s ability to bring peace, and deeply influenced the ensuing Enlightenment period and its critical attitude towards religion. Since then, religion has been perceived as a source not of peace but of war. The criticism of Christianity and its potential to cause division was perhaps best expressed in Voltaire’s famous dictum, “There are no sects in geometry!“ In other words, a peace-loving person should look at the harmony of reason and science rather than the disharmony of warring religious factions. As churches failed to bring peace, people looked at political authorities to assume this function. A strong state appeared to be the best way to protect society from religion’s potential for conflict.

In the French Revolution, the cultural and ideological changes brought by the Enlightenment found expression in a social and political revolution aimed at establishing a more egalitarian society. Enlightenment forces stood in opposition to the church and its hierarchy, which, throughout the 18th century, had supported and legitimized the oppressive ‘old regime’. Not surprisingly, the French Revolution turned not only against the king but with equal vehemence against the church as the king’s ally. Nowhere was the Enlightenment more critical of Christianity than in France (Byrne 1996: 34-37). In England, on the other hand, the Methodist movement was a bloodless popular revolution (Elie Halévy, see Maddox 1998: 34) that mitigated social contradictions. Social change across the Channel thus was less revolutionary and less anti-Christian.

With the restoration of monarchic rule and the dominance of the Catholic church in the early 19th century, a fundamental opposition between modernists and conservative Catholic Christianity remained a dominant feature of European societies up to the Second Vatican Council (1962-65): all those who sought political liberalization would oppose the church and see it as a necessary enemy of social progress. The peak of Roman-Catholic anti-modernism was the second half of the 19th century, with Pope Pius IX’s 1864 proclamation of the Encyclical ‘Quanta Cura’ and its attachment, the Syllabus of Errors, which listed all the modernist doctrines the church condemned: freedom of the press, political liberalism, religious tolerance, democracy and socialism. The Catholic church presented these social movements as incompatible with Christian faith. People thus had to choose between two mutually exclusive options, the way of modernity or the way of the Catholic church.

Although Protestant churches were more willing to adopt modernity, the Roman Catholic church’s all-out rejection of all liberal ideas had an impact on society at large, leading to an overall alienation from institutional Christianity. Protestant churches also failed to keep up, both with the social impacts of modernization such as urbanization and industrialization, and with the social problems that these changes brought. Mainline churches remained sociologically stuck in a pre-modern structure that had long been overtaken by social realities (see McLeod 1997:118-131).

Other historical experiences in Europe over the past two centuries have contributed to a decline in Christianity. One is the widespread shame of Europeans about the atrocities of colonialism. Rightly or not, Christianity is publicly perceived both as benefitting from colonial expansion and as not sufficiently distancing herself from the injustices of the colonial enterprise. Many people in the West see Christianity and colonialism as two sides of the same coin, both aggressively reaching out and subjecting the whole world to their own rationale. Furthermore, the tragedies of the two world wars in the 20th century brutally laid bare the moral bankruptcy of the so-called Christian West. Although people in the West show some Eurocentrism in blaming themselves for the worst crimes against humanity in the 20th century — there were equally destructive campaigns by totalitarian rulers in other parts of the world — Christianity remains the religious belief most affected by such negative experiences.

In short, whether the crucial historical developments causing Christianity’s decline happened in the 16th century, or in the middle of the 18th century, or only in the middle of the 20th century, it is the combination of all these events and ideological/cultural shifts that has caused Christianity to lose its domination of Western society.

A First Assessment: Should We Be Sad?

Some of the (Chinese) voices mourning the decline of Christianity in Europe were introduced at the beginning of this essay. Of course, the decline is bemoaned by Christians not only in Asia but also in Europe. A few impacts of this decline are obvious:

The decline of familiarity with the Christian faith makes people forget basic Christian practices such as sharing, hospitality towards the stranger, and communal togetherness beyond political and ideological orientation. It undermines basic spiritual orientations such as gratitude, openness to transcendent dimensions of life, awareness of our temporality, radical hope against the power of normality, and receptivity to prophetic criticism that constantly disturbs our coziness in an established status quo.

The loss of basic biblical knowledge causes many people to lose touch with the large parts of European culture that are so deeply permeated with Christian stories and symbols. One cannot understand Western cultures and histories without some knowledge of Christianity.

The decline of an inclusive and broad form of Christianity leaves European societies, without integrating and cohesive social actors, at the mercy of radical religious groups unwilling and unable to connect the diverse voices. The vacated religious field is occupied by religious surrogates, tribalist affiliations, and faith expressions that do not creatively engage with the challenges of modernity and that have no concern for social coherence. Instead, conservative and credulous forms of Christianity foster a regressive form of faith, i.e., as a refuge for withdrawal from the modern world.

With the decline of mainstream Christianity in the West, the ecumenical movement, which in the past century contributed significantly to worldwide social transformation, is losing much of its financial backing. Ecumenical Christianity has inspired and supported a variety of progressive groups and movements: locally, the Christian Industrial Committee and the Tsuen Wan Ecumenical Social Service Centre (Wong 2019); internationally, the fight against apartheid, as well as peace movements during the Cold War and still now (such as reconciliation between North and South Korea); and many other social justice and liberation movements.

Despite a widespread and understandable melancholy regarding the decline of Christianity in Europe, there are plenty of alternative and often more positive interpretations of this shift. Some question whether such a decline has in fact happened. Hamberg (2018) points out that the assumptions of a decline build on exaggerated assessments of the impact of the churches in previous centuries (Hamberg 2018: 76). She questions the common assumption that European people in medieval times adhered so fully to Christian beliefs and practices (75). According to Hamberg, only a particular form of Christianity is in decline, namely the established form of mainline Catholic and Protestant Christianity, while an ‘unchurched spirituality’ continues to flourish (78). Hamberg’s interpretation is echoed by several contributions in McLeod and Ustorf (eds.), The Decline of Christendom in Western Europe, 1750-2000 (2003), seeing the changes of the past centuries not as religious decline but simply as religious change (McLeod 2003: 8) or as a reinterpretation of Christian faith.

Larsen (2018), arguing from an evangelical perspective, agrees that a decline of established Christianity does not mean a decline of faith. People have stopped belonging, not believing. He criticizes that a tendency to think in patterns of progress shapes much of secularization theory, which sees faith as belonging to an earlier age – to be modern as “to abandon it for a secular mentality” (Larsen 2018: 167). What is withering is Christendom, not Christian faith, and this is a reason to rejoice: “The right theological and practical response to the decline of established Christianity in the Western world is to rejoice. I will say it again: Rejoice (Philippians 4:4)!” (Larsen: 165) The new social situation of Christians thus offers new opportunities to evangelize, witness, and live according to the original message. Indeed, evangelical Christians have for a long time been critical of nominal Christianity, preferring a smaller but more vibrant and engaged Christian faith community.

A positive view of the decline of established Christianity is not unique to evangelicals. Many critical-minded Christians understand that the church’s place should be not at the center and mainstream of society but rather at the margins. This is where it belongs and, as such, it is necessarily small. A church with the cross at its center is necessarily a countercultural community moving away from the center of society. The decline of Christianity is in fact a liberation of Christianity from its captivity to the bourgeois establishment. Concern for a numerically large church reflects modern capitalist society’s obsession with growth, efficacy, and power, which stands in contradiction to Christian origins. Some argue that, if God had been concerned with effectiveness and numerical success, God would surely have chosen to send Christ into the world in the 21st century, where Christ could easily communicate through social media and travel across the globe.

Critical-minded Europeans are sensitive to a powerful church at the center of society for yet other reasons: In the past, the church was large and powerful, yet she failed to prevent world wars and the Holocaust. At the same time, Christians in the majority world recognize that the decline of some form of Christianity in the West offers an opportunity for more mutual relations (Guerra 2018: 199). The demise of Western Christianity, which, despite being local, claimed universality, makes room for the rise of World Christianity, which can be understood as “a process of transition to an age of inter-Christian reciprocity” (ibid.).

Spiritually progressive Christians rejoice over the decline of established Christianity also for deeply theological reasons: In the church’s decline, God’s kenosis, incarnation and engagement with the world become reality. The deep biblical roots of “secularization” have been widely acknowledged since Max Weber. The understanding that biblical narratives stand at the beginning of the process of secularization has inspired theologians, such as Bonhoeffer, to call for a religion-less Christianity and for a non-religious interpretation of biblical concepts (Bonhoeffer 1971: 280). His incarnational theology criticized religious concepts that tried to preserve some domain for the divine in areas not fully understood by humans, such as illness, death and other misfortune. He equally criticized a ‘deus-ex-machina’-god, i.e., a stop-gap power that intervenes where humans mess up. Inspired by Bonhoeffer, Harvey Cox showed how biblical narratives contribute to secularization: the story of Genesis is a call for a disenchanted view of history that completely separates the world from God: the creation is not divine but has been put in its right place by God; the sun and the moon are creations of Yahweh hung in the sky to give light. Similarly, the Exodus story advocates a desacralized view of politics and rejects any claims of divine right, a popular way of establishing political legitimacy; the Sinai covenant and the prohibition of images criticizes our attempts to worship what is fashioned by humans, including any absolutizing of human values or ideologies (Cox 1965: 25-37). It is thus a basic movement of faith to leave the religious realm behind and to fully enter and be absorbed into the world. The aim is not to stay in some “religious” realm but to transform the world and its social structures so that they reflect the values of the gospel. Like water poured on the ground to irrigate plants, so also here: the churches may be empty; but the aim of God’s mission is not to fill church buildings with believers but to transform our communities so that the poor, the widow, the stranger, and the downtrodden receive justice and care.

A Second Assessment: What Can We Learn?

Our last section explained how many Christians, both evangelical and spiritually progressive, are discovering that the decline of Christianity in the West is a blessing in disguise. However, this tremendous social shift also holds important lessons. The most important lesson is, of course, for Christians in Europe: to live without the comforts of established Christianity; to adapt to marginal existence; to rediscover the long-neglected basics of Christian witnessing. Western theologians in the past decades have shown an awareness of the decline and a readiness to seek creative new forms of Christian faith expression outside of the traditional, no-longer-convincing frameworks. Yet, significant learning happens only as theology and church practice arrive in the social lowlands, when the high salaries and dependable social safety nets for clerics and theologians are gone. It is thus safe to say that the crucial realizations still lie ahead.

The decline of Christianity holds important practical and spiritual lessons also for Christians worldwide, even though we should avoid the mistake of normatizing the Western trajectory of Christianity. A first lesson is that Christians elsewhere can learn from the experiences of Western Christians that contributed to the decline: Christianity has succumbed most quickly where it allied itself with oppressive forces, where it was too cozy with the establishment, where it was able to dominate and impose its values on society. There is an inherent temptation for Christians worldwide to turn their faith into a socially dominant religion. We see this in ‘dominion theology’, which tries to extend ‘Christian’ values to the whole of society, both Christians and non-Christians. This is not substantially different to Islamic groups who impose sharia law on their tribes, cities and countries. The same domination happens when community leaders and politicians call their nation a ‘Christian nation’, be it in the U.S., in Zambia, or in small ethnic minority groups in northeast India or Myanmar. Claiming to be a Christian nation is fundamentally wrong. Nations have no faith — people have.

A second lesson is that God may be more likely to appear in silence rather than in noise (1Kings 19), hidden under the contrary rather than in powerful manifestations, in brokenness rather than in beauty. Many Christians’ yearning for a large, effective, powerful, and highly visible church simply reflects a traditional logic of strength. The challenge for both growing churches in the majority world and declining churches in Europe is to discover the hidden presence of God in small, fragile, and marginal communities and in the fragmentary communication of the gospel in arts, songs, people’s and liberation movements, and even in popular religiosity.

Finally, as some Christians in the majority world are alarmed about the decline of Christianity in Europe and some even panic about an Islamic conquest of Europe, there is a spiritual lesson: we need not be overly anxious about God; it is not us saving God but God saving us. Looking over the long history of Christianity, one marvels at the ups and downs of the Christian movement and the resilience of its liberating message. As Christian communities, we are subject to the same movement of death and resurrection; we should not hold on our churches but be ready to die and to be resurrected with Christ. The movement of European Christianity reflects a natural trajectory particularly well: of faith deeply entering the fabric and structures of society to an extent that its specificity gets lost. It is from there, from the point of radical incarnation, that Christianity is resurrected. Or in the words of John the Baptist: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).


Berger, Peter. The Heretical Imperative. Contemporary Possibilities of Religious Affirmation. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press and Doubleday 1979.

_____. ‘The Desecularizaton of the World: A Global Overview’, in P. Berger (ed.), The Desecularization of the World. Resurgent Religion and World Politics. Washington D.C.: Ethics and Public Policy Center 1999, 1-18.

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Letters and Papers from Prison. The enlarged edition, ed. by E. Bethge, London: SCM Press 1971.

Bruce, Steve. ‘The Social Process of Secularization.’ In R.K. Fenn (ed.). The Blackwell Companion to Sociology of Religion. Oxford: Blackwell, 249-263.

Byrne, James M. Religion and the Enlightenment. From Descartes to Kant. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.

Cox, Harvey. The Secular City. Secularization and Urbanization in Theological Perspective. New York: Macmillan, 1965

Durkheim, Emile. The Division of Labour in Society. London: Macmillan, 1984.

Guerra, Jorge E. Castillo. ‘An opportunity to foster inter-Christian reciprocity. The view from “World Christianity” and “the Next Christendom”, in P.S. Peterson, The Decline of Established Christianity in the Western World: Interpretations and Responses. London and New York: Routledge 2018, 189-201.

Hamberg, Eva M. ‘Analyzing Religious Decline: A Sociological Approach’, in P.S. Peterson, The Decline of Established Christianity in the Western World: Interpretations and Responses. London and New York: Routledge 2018, 75-85.

Larsen, Timothy. ‘An evangelical response to the decline of Christendom’, in P.S. Peterson, The Decline of Established Christianity in the Western World: Interpretations and Responses. London and New York: Routledge 2018, 165-173.

Maddox, Graham. Political Writings of John Wesley. Edited and Introduced by Graham Maddox. Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 1998.

Martin, David A. Tongues of Fire: The Explosion of Protestantism in Latin America. Oxford: Blackwell, 1990.

McLeod, Hugh. Religion and the People of Western Europe, 1789-1989. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1997.

McLeod, Hugh, and Werner Ustorf (eds.). The Decline of Christendom in Western Europe, 1750-2000. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2003.

Peterson, Paul Silas. ‘An introduction to the essays and to the phenomenon of established Christianity in the Western World’, in P.S. Peterson, The Decline of Established Christianity in the Western World: Interpretations and Responses. London and New York: Routledge 2018, 1-30.

Taylor, Charles. A Secular Age. Cambridge, MA.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.

Wilson, Bryan R. Religion in Secular Society. London: Penguin, 1966.

Wong, Wai-Yin Christina. ‘An Ecumenical Experiment in Colonial Hong Kong: The Start of the Tsuen Wan Ecumenical Social Service Centre (1973 to 1997) and Its Local Praxis.’ Religions 2019, 10, 294, 1-14.x