By Neil Bruinsma
As a team, we went to Cologne University, Germany and surveyed over 150 students. We asked them questions like:
- “Who or what do you think God is?”
- “If you could ask God one question what would you ask?”
- “What do you think happens when you die?”
Our intention was to get an idea where European university students are at in their view of God, share the Gospel, and develop long-term relationships with those interested.
What we found was that 45.5% of those surveyed believe God is some type of Energy Force but not a person, 37% don’t believe God exists, 10.5% believe God to be a supreme being or God other than a Christian God (Allah), and 7% believe in a Christian God.
The overall feeling that I got from everyone was that they really didn’t care and that it doesn’t really matter “believe what you want and I will believe what I want.” 40% believe that there is no life after death, 28% believe in reincarnation, 17% are not sure, and 15% believe in some sort of heaven or hell.
Almost all students that I talked with were very friendly, willing to take the survey, and excited to hear about my world travels. But most weren’t interested in discussing things of God or that have eternal value. In my opinion, it was sad to see a group of peers so highly educated but uninterested in even searching for everlasting truth.
After staying here for a month and talking with my contacts that have started a number of churches and lived in Germany for 18 years, I have gained a deeper understanding of how hard the “soil” is here. According to my contact, Europe is now considered one of the most un-reached areas of the world. France even has the highest turnover rate of missionaries.
But what is even more frightening in Europe is a new movement to “evangelize” atheism. A campaign in the U.K. raised almost $250,000 to plaster the phrase “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” on public buses and in other areas. It seems that the only higher good has become to “enjoy your life”, which, interestingly, is exactly what God wants for us.
But how can we enjoy life if we don’t understand that we all have been uniquely created for a unique purpose by a God that desperately loves us, even to the point of dying on a cross?
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” -Eph 6:12
Europe is in need of an awakening, and I believe it is coming, but it is starting through our prayers. Please pray with me against the evil spiritual forces that have tightly wrapped around the throat of Europe.
Neil is a missionary on an 11-month trip around the world called the World Race.