30 August, 2010

Will Muslims win the coming battle for the West!

Mecca
Demographics alone points out that there is a coming confrontation between Muslims and the West. With birthrates throughout the western world having fallen below replacement levels while Muslims continuing for at least the first generation of their arrival as immigrants into western countries. This demographic reality has created a great deal of disquiet among Christians and the 'chattering classes'. 

IMHO, Christians should have confidence in the forces of western secularism rather than fear the 'Islamification' of culture, as seems to be the opinion of a significant percentage of frightened western citizens. Consider that as recently as the 1960's, Christian values and religious standards were enshrined as the dominant societal consensus. In one generation, these same preeminent values have been wiped from the public square. Though seemingly blind to the horrendous consequences wrought upon children and women's interests by the sexual revolution, secularists have at least proven their capacity to win the hearts of heretofore believers.

It has happened to Christians... it will happen to the Muslims who come here too. The Koran and Imans will never be able to match the creativity and effectiveness of Madison Avenue in the contest for the hearts and minds of future citizens. The exemplary  practice levels of various immigrants of all communions drops like a stone with each year they spend in Canada.

It is an intriguing amalgam of secularists and some Christians who have been fueling the hysteria. One camp believes that its own institutions and creeds will not succeed in a contest for the affections of theists, who are in league with those who object to any public expression of religious values and beliefs. We see public personalities and politicians such as Glen Beck and Sarah Palin trying to ride in the wake of this bizarrely paired set of bed-fellows into positions of influence and power south of the border. Following the footsteps of Karl Rove, they have enlisted tens of thousands of evangelical Christians to organize their neighborhoods and disseminate their positions to as many as possible. This was a winning strategy of George W. Bush and Christians should remember that their values were given little more than lip service in his administrations.

Unfortunately, the principle of freedom of religion and religious expression is now being put at risk by this Christian dalliance with the Conservative Right-wing of the Republican Party. If believers of any conviction allow the creation of a right for the state to discriminate against one religion as opposed to another (Islam is a religion insofar as Sharia law is a faith based system of laws, and with over a billion adherents, it is irrelevant if one believes its tenets or not - they merit the rights and obligations as a religion), then it can just as easily be wielded as a weapon to restrict the rights and actions of Christians in the future.

This is not a precedent that believers of all creeds must not allow to happen. These alarmists are claiming little more than the 'sky is falling' as they churn up the citizenry with their predictions of the 'Muslim menace'.
 

Put your confidence in the rule of law and western culture. They are far more powerful than alarmists are giving them credit for. Human rights, Hollywood and Haight-Ashbury combined are a force to be reckoned with for any religion. Christians should not think that Islamists will succeed where Christians have failed.

Fr. Tim

8 comments:

  1. Fr. Michael Smith31 August, 2010

    I remember a comment I heard while visiting Israel in 1997. A person who had spent much time in Israel said to our group that it would be in almost everyone’s interest in Israel for the country to be governed by secular political parties, for that is the only chance that minority rights would receive any respect.
    Differences between Israel and North America aside, the comment mentioned above makes a valid point. The secular state, with all its faults, is better at respecting minority rights than any other system we have seen. As a practicing Christian, I am a member of a minority. Even though our present society is tightening the screws on us, I would prefer our present society to a theocracy of whatever description.
    The problem, however, is that the secular state is falling prey to aggressive secularism, which is exclusive and intolerant, more of a reigning ideology than an open public square where ideas can flow freely.

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  2. Exquisite!

    I read a recent article which said that Canada is more secualr than the USA, and that BC is the most secular province, and that we as a society are moving ever rapidly away from regarding religion as being important to society in general, however important it might be to individuals. And that, despite all the yammering by fundamentalists of all stripes, on the whole, we're all getting along with one another just fine.

    All I know is that I live within the boundaries of one of the most culturally and religiously diverse cities in North America, and our year is filled with festivals that celebrate every conceivable religions and culture, to which the "rest of the world" is always -- always -- invited and treated as honored guests in the homes of the celebrants. I celebrate side-by-side with Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Tamils, Greeks, Turks, Hindus, Celts, Scandinavians, Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Mexicans, Portuguese, Spanish, Basque, Afghans, Persians, First Nations and other Amerinds, and the list goes on. Whether the festivals are religious, secular, or a blend of both, their message is one of a willingness to share with others and welcome them as fellow citizens, not to dominate them as religiously or culturally inferior.

    Fundamentalism is divisive and demeaning. It's also a lot of hard work, keeping up that steady stream of vitriol. The first jolt of alarmism can be electrifying, but once the joltee discovers that the alarm is false, it's nearly impossible to make him trust that alarmist a second time.

    And it would help a lot if the media didn't constantly pander to the Enquirer-type level of intellect in their reportings, making the alarmists seem much more important than they actually are. But, being realistic, it's the Enquiring mind that has the money with which to pay the media's piper, and as long as they continue to pay, he will continue to pipe. I decided for myself a long time ago always to consider the source, and treat it accordingly. And thankfully, most people I know do the same. And others are learning.

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  3. Hi Tim,

    Here is the money quote: "If believers of any conviction allow the creation of a right for the state to discriminate against one religion as opposed to another....then it can just as easily be wielded as a weapon to restrict the rights and actions of Christians in the future."

    I think your analysis is fundamentally sound, however, I would storngly disagree with your negative characterizations of secularists. Any secularists I have ever met are hardly "Madison Avenue" types. Madison Avenue tends to be entirely agnostic about your culture wars. You can count on Madison Avenue's ability to push soap and gadgets regardless of the prevailing social/moral ethos.

    I would add that the maintenance of the wall of separation between church and state is also critical for theists. Whenever religion gets entwined with the state, religion has a tendency to become corrupted.

    Moreover, once governmental promotion of religion is tolerated, the door is opened for future governments to promote religions that might be in direct conflict with your own.

    A strong, independent, secular state is the best insurance for religious tolerance and peace in the long term. So many of the "religious right" fail to understand this simple reality.

    Cheers...Martin

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  4. "The problem, however, is that the secular state is falling prey to aggressive secularism, which is exclusive and intolerant, more of a reigning ideology than an open public square where ideas can flow freely."

    I've never seen it put that way before, and it made me wonder if "aggressive secularism" isn't a reaction to the battling among the more aggressive members of various religions, all of whom seem to want the biggest slice of the social and economic pie for themselves because that's what their religious leaders tell them they're "entitled" to have, simply by virtue of being members of that particular religion? Kind of like otherwise benevolent parents who take away all the toys because the kids cannot share them, take turns, and play nicely with one another.

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  5. Lady Janus,

    "I've never seen it put that way before, and it made me wonder if "aggressive secularism" isn't a reaction to the battling among the more aggressive members of various religions"

    I don't think so. Secularism has nothing to do with religions contending for followers. It is anti-religion in general and anti-christian in particular. Christianity is an exclusive religion and although it can tolerate the existence of other religions in a free and democratic society, secular humanism tolerates no religion and is anti religious freedom.

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  6. Hi Michael,

    You write "...the secular state is falling prey to aggressive secularism...".

    Not sure what you mean by "aggressive secularism". Certainly, the "new atheists" have risen in prominence lately, but they are (IMHO) more a reaction to the power and influence of the religous right in the US.

    The RCC has lost a lot of credibility in the public square over the past decade, but I think that most of this is due to internal scandals, and the mishandling of your own sex-abuse victims. Not sure it is fair to blame all of that on "aggressive secularism".

    Cheers...Martin

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  7. I have to agree with you Lady Janus completely. I find the attacks on seculars by the Pope and others to be not only false and offensive but also very dangerous. Dangerous because we are living in a time where radical Islam has declared war on the infidels and make no mistake anyone and everyone who is not a Muslim is an infidels to them. They are out not only to destroy the way of our life but kill us. In Canada thanks in part to our excellent law enforcement we have been spared of any attack so far but make no mistake that is not because of their lack of trying. The radical Islamism do not value life and it is only a matter of time before a suicide bomber will be successful as was in the case of 9/11 that required very little resources on their part and changed our way of life forever. I do not see any seculars posing any threat to anyone. To think for one minute that any of these radical Islamist is patterns of Christians is sheer lunacy.

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  8. Michael,

    "The secular state, with all its faults, is better at respecting minority rights than any other system we have seen."

    I agree. While the secular state is far from perfect, as far as religious freedom is concerned, I think it is the least of all evils.
    I don't believe there ever will be a perfect system or government in this world until Christ returns and establishes His rule. Jesus said His kingdom is not of this world.

    Unfortunately we do have some RCs and protestants working with a so-called christian political party to try to establish a theocracy or at least gain some kind political power. I don't think this is a good thing. Christians are not called to try to build a theocracy or have the church control the government. The biblical message of salvation in Christ is what the apostle Paul preached. Some seem to have forgotten and think the gospel is a command to build a christian government or nation through politics. If they ever gained political power, I can't imagine what they might do.

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