For many, thoughts of France include strolling lovers, magnificent art and architecture, and breath-taking views from the Alps. France is currently the most visited tourist destination in the world. Beautiful cathedrals dot its landscape, revealing a once religious heritage. Excellence in art, fashion, and cuisine have drawn visitors from around the globe. France also boasts some of history’s most influential writers, philosophers, and theologians. Though the majority live in urban areas, there are also many traditionally-focused communes. Between the European majority and growing immigrant populations, this nation is beautifully diverse.
France has inspired reform and even revolutionary ideals throughout history. Emerging as a leading member of the European Union, France maintains a massive global influence. As the sixth largest economy in the world, it’s socialized economic policies have led to good public service and infrastructure, while also opening the door for crippling bureaucracy and frequent strikes. Recovery from the 2008 recession has been difficult. Attempts at economic reform have often sparked protests and strikes. Increasing immigration has led to challenging integration issues. This includes over 6.5 million Muslims, who now represent France’s second largest religion. An increase in violent attacks of Islamic terrorism within France have brought tensions between Muslims and the secular French to a boiling point. Many in France are looking for solid answers to these mounting issues, revealed by the 2017 election of Emmanuel Macron, who represents an entirely new political party.
Although over half of the population is statistically defined as Christian, most have never had authentic contact with the Gospel. Only two percent are Evangelical, and only eight percent regularly attend church. A staggering 50 million have no link to a church, and 80% have never even handled a Bible. Many are suspicious of organized religion. Defined by secularism, the country has separated itself from its only source of healing. The philosophies of atheist existentialism and post-modern relative truth have left many seeking meaning and purpose. Despair and hopelessness has led to Europe’s highest number of youth suicides. However, this search for meaning has also led some to seek and find Christ! Praise God that dozens of churches are being planted each year! France stands in desperate need of a move of God – only He can bring the healing and hope this nation needs.