How has Christianity influenced western culture

Faith: Germany needs Christianity

At Pentecost, Christians also remember the birth of the Church. Captured by the Holy Spirit, the disciples of Jesus began to preach the Christian message. Your words should change the world over the next few centuries. Our homeland, like all of Europe, was shaped by Christianity.

Especially at Pentecost, one can very well ask oneself how the meaning of Christianity is in our society. Is Germany a Christian Country? What cement do Christian values ​​give our society? Do we need a stronger return to Christian values?

At Easter, the British Prime Minister David Cameron provoked a heated discussion in England with similar questions. As head of government of a queen who is also head of a state church, he affirmed the statement that for him Great Britain was still a Christian country. The result was a wave of protest.

Was Cameron's statement unreasonable?

Numerous well-known intellectuals criticized him in an open letter and underlined the advantages of renouncing religion. Others expressed indignation at the apparent marginalization of Christianity among the new and confident religious groups that have now made the United Kingdom at home. Due to a generally noticeable shake of the head, Cameron quickly narrowed his statement. Was it really unreasonable, was it out of date or was it brave?

In this respect, Germany is difficult to compare with Great Britain. Unlike there, as a result of the French Revolution, state and church are ultimately separated in our country. There is no state religion in Germany, as Islam is in many countries in the Arab world. Germany is a secular country, despite the contractual links between the state and the major churches.

The freedom to practice one's religion is granted. The state has to stay out of questions of faith. Article 4 of our Basic Law formulates this with concise clarity: “The freedom of belief, conscience and freedom of religious and ideological creed are inviolable. The undisturbed practice of religion is guaranteed. "

A spiritual foundation of our society

Conversely, that also means: Germany is not a Christian state. Nevertheless, the Christian message is a spiritual foundation of our society. And above all, this society should be more certain of this.

It is worth taking a closer look in order to resolve this apparent contradiction, which is as old as the Federal Republic itself. Already with the reference to God in the preamble, our Basic Law expresses that beyond the established law, people are guided by another authority. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once formulated this in his “Ethics” in such a way that we only regulate the penultimate things here on earth. The ultimate things are determined by God.

With the reference to God, the Basic Law wants to clearly set itself apart from the barbarism of the National Socialists, who unleashed a deeply misanthropic and completely godless regime - it is intended to create a permanent barrier between this barbarism and the new Germany. The preamble with the reference to God describes a transcendent frame of reference in which the state moves. The preamble indicates that state law is not everything that defines a society.