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Peaceful co-existence

The retreat of religious faith-Arnold's "long, withdrawing roar"-has not happened as predicted in the 20th century. Even in Europe, where church attendance has fallen sharply, most people still believe in God. Paul Johnson argues that one reason is the surprising truce between science and religion

By Paul Johnson   April 1996

Sometimes even more remarkable than historical events are historical non-events. The 20th century is a case in point. Immense events took place during it, events to make us marvel-and shudder. But from one perspective-that of human spirituality-the most extraordinary thing about the 20th century has been the failure of God to die. The collapse of mass religious belief, especially among the educated and prosperous, had been widely and confidently predicted. It has not taken place. Somehow, God survived- flourished even. At the end of the 20th century, the idea of a personal, living God is as lively and real as…

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