Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Age of Faith

Awesome essay by Wretchard over at The Belmont Club. As we have seen in miniature in the Anglican Church, it's Africa and Asia that are the fertile fields for Christianity these days, and there's something more:
In a process largely unnoticed in the West, billions of people in Asia and Africa have swapped out their indigenous faiths for either Christianity or Islam. And to an even greater astonishment of Western intellectuals most have chosen Christianity. Now the equalization of numbers has caused a fault line to appear through the Third World at about the tenth degree of latitude where the two aggregations face each other “at daggers drawn”.

The word “Christian”, associated in the 19th and 20th centuries with the missionary enterprises of Europe, has now come to mean something different in political terms. Today Christianity is a religion of the Third World. Europeans have largely converted to some soft and watered-down variation of the West’s only indigenous creed, Marxism, as represented by John Lennon’s “Imagine” song. Christianity can no longer be associated largely with the West. Ex oriente lux a phrase which once described the belief that all great world religions rose in the East is now truer than ever. With Marxism shrinking to the margins of the Guardian, the monotheisms have reclaimed the field at least in raw numbers.
The feeble remnants of the West are deluded by their own experience into thinking that Islam is a vital, lively, growing religion. Of course it looks stronger than the dried-out husk of Marxist materialism, which is its main alternative in places like Europe. But the "vitality" is that of termites chewing through dry-rotted timbers. Islam has no future. Once it's finished eating up Europe (if there's no Christian renaissance to throw them back), that place will collapse into the same sterile squalor that characterizes Islam wherever it reigns. There will be no "takeover" of Western riches, no return to the age of Muslim glory - just Muslims and the degenerate, deracinated nihilists left behind by the departure of Christianity, sinking together into the same mud.

I read a Theodore Dalrymple essay, years ago, where he stated that Islam is incapable of surviving a real contest with the modern world. It's brittle and ready to snap right now; Islamic terrorism is not the energetic outburst of a new, vital creed leaping into action. It's the jerks and spasms of a paralytic, trying desperately to deny the truth about his own impotence. It's almost like a dare in the face of Allah: "We're doing all this for you - now PROVE that you exist, and that this hasn't all been just a meaningless nightmare!"
Globally, as Jenkins sees it, the existential threat to Islam comes not from the declining number of Europeans indoctrinated in the quasi-Marxist “Imagine” creed, but from the burgeoning millions of the Third World. Whether Muslims are impressed by the secular belief system captured so succinctly in John Lennon’s song is open to debate. But the attractions of Christianity to the populations of the Third World apparently is not. Whatever the appeal of Islam in London might be, it is less so in Africa. “One factor driving Islamic militancy in many nations is the sense that Christianity is growing. Outside of the West, evangelism and conversion are two of the most sensitive issues in the modern world.”

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