Beginning in the 1860’s, the major religions within Europe were all displaced by the modern sciences and philosophies. Darwin’s evolution challenged the creation of species, anthropologists questioned sacred Christian tenets. Both the Old and New testaments were critiqued for language barriers and inconsistencies. Theologians and historians both attacked the historical background of the bible. Plus, the gradual shift from spiritualism to materialism kept many away from church, which became more and more casual as one went into the city.
Protestants were especially hit hard by the decline in church attendance. The protestant layperson often their own personal judgment more than their pastors, who weren’t even considered religious authorities to some extent. Protestants eventually branched off into two distinct belief structures; modernists and fundamentalists. The fundamentalists made efforts to defend the scriptures and denounce any scientific findings while the modernists were willing to accept scientific doctrine and interpreted the Bible as an allegory. The modernists usually had difficulty recapturing any sort of spirituality or any sense of Christian truth. Protestant Churches were slow to confront the many social problems of the era. A group was formed however, the “Christian Socialists,” noticeably within England. As governments did more to relieve the suffering of the common man, and draw them away from socialism, the Protestant Church did less. Except to the fundamentalist Protestants, religion became increasingly secondary until the post WW1 era, when a revival happened.
The Roman Catholic Church, under the now conservative Pope Pius IX, upheld its belief structure much better than the Protestants did. In 1864, Pius’s Syllabus of Errors denounced many of the widely accepted modern ideals, including faith in rationalism and science. The Syllabus served only as a warning to Catholics, not as an official dogma of the church. Beginning in 1854, when the Church made the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary part of the official dogma of the church, steps were taken to reaffirm the Catholic Church’s belief in the supernatural and miraculous.
Pius IX also convened, for the first time in some 300 years, a council at the Vatican in 1870. This council proclaimed the dogma of Papal Infallibility, which held the Pope as the final and unquestionable authority on matters of faith and morals. Since the Council of Trent, much had been done in Europe to make a sort of mistrust of governments and other religions amongst the Catholics. In 1870, by declaring Papal Infallibility, the papacy hoped to bring all Catholics under its unconditional jurisdiction.
In 1870, during the height of the Franco-Prussian war, the newly created Italian state ingloriously entered and annexed the city of Rome. With the loss of the temporal power, the spiritual hold of the papacy on Catholics around the globe increased. From 1870 to 1929, the papacy refused to recognize the loss of Rome and adopted a sort of self-imprisonment within the Vatican grounds. In 1929, Pope Pius XI negotiated with Mussolini for an independent Vatican City in return for finally recognizing the Italian state.
Leo XIII, successor to Pius IX, continued the battle against antireligious movements. He reinstated a medieval philosophy developed by Thomas Aquinas in which he showed that reason and religion couldn’t be in conflict. He also initiated a sort of Catholic Socialism in his Rerum Novarum, which found that private property was a fundamental right, and that capitalism was to blame for poverty and the general disparity of the lower classes. He condemned socialism as being anarchist and antireligious, but encouraged Catholics to create their own socialist parties. Thus the Catholic Church undertook to liberate its self from capitalism, and tried to make sure that if the world of the future was socialist, it would be Catholic as well.
As for the Jewish Europeans, always a small minority whose conditions reflected the general attitude of Europe towards them, the recent trend of science and secularism had the same effect upon them as it did upon more traditional forms of Christianity. Reform Judaism grew where the other ‘modernistic’ ideals sprung. Individual Jews more and more often gave up their traditional views and entered the mainstream of society to become businessmen of any profession, ceasing the age-old legal discrimination against their faith.
But there was a sense of growing anti-Semitism in Europe, and some more Orthodox Jews believed that assimilation into the greater of society of Europe would mean a loss of their Jewish identity or even the elimination of Judaism entirely. Jewish capitalism scorned many Jews in the eyes of socialists, while Jewish revolutionaries and Marxists were feared by capitalists, plus a growing sense of ethnic nationalism meant that the Jew had no place for himself in Europe. There was a growing movement, called Zionism, to create an all-Jewish state within Palestine. Many Jews were eager about this, while others scoffed at the idea of Jewish nationalism.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.