11/26/2014—It goes without saying that secularists don't need religion. That is the constant refrain. But it is also true that the most secular region on earth—western and northern Europe—is suffering severe cultural malaise. And the next most rapidly secularizing society—America—is also.
Does the sense of decline have any theological significance? Maybe it is just that these societies are aging. That would not necessarily be an independent variable, since declining birth rates can be a sign of cultural despair. So it could be that aging cultures decline and declining cultures do not have high birth rates.
But America has a large immigrant population and there is still this sense of decline. Of course, it is also true that America has been very much on top for 60 years and so relative decline is inevitable.
All of that is true—and yet… . If the universe is an accident, maybe it is difficult to get too worked up over anything. Maybe secularism does have a problem that the Pope was speaking to.