Émile Cammaert, in an analysis of GK Chesterton’s works, said, “The first effect of not believing in God is to believe in anything.” This verdict seems to apply to the results of a July 2012 poll carried out for La Vie, a French Christian magazine, surveying “rationalistic” French society beliefs regarding the supernatural realm.
The poll reveals a France that, despite its religious scepticism, is nevertheless having difficulty breaking free of superstition—and that is as much the case of the highly educated as with the less academically qualified.
Less than a third of those questioned held to a world-view in line with biblical revelation. Half believe in faith healers and premonitions, while just one-fourth believe in foundational claims of the Christian faith (the creation of the world by God and the resurrection of Jesus). Even more surprisingly, one-third of practising Catholics share this general scepticism.
It seems that in spite of the constant, deafening noise of secularism, modern men and women remain spiritual beings, but that this spirituality is skewed, and needs to be countered at a foundational level.
David Leyshon, a volunteer translator for OM France, is a retired British pastor living in Brittany, France. He is the author of the book, Sickness, Suffering & Scripture.