Christianity is good for the West. In fact, without it, there would be no West – at least a West as we know it today. Moreover, Christianity is good for the world. These claims cannot here be argued for, although I have often sought to make this case elsewhere.
Here I simply wish to tie together three seemingly disparate articles, and form them into some sort of unified whole. All three have to do with the influence of Christianity, and/or what things tend to look like when that influence is withdrawn or weakened.
The Christian West was once the hope of the world, but as it becomes increasingly secular and indeed, anti-Christian, the once positive influence of the West is all but drying up. This is nowhere more clearly seen than in America, especially in Obama’s America.
I am no prophet, nor the son of a prophet, but I do not mind at all saying with a great degree of conviction that the two-term Obama presidency is in fact the judgment of God on America. It is as if our holy and just God has said America is almost reaching the point of no return, and his hand of mercy is being withdrawn from this once great nation.
Just as Paul argues in Romans 1 that homosexuality is both a grievous sin, but also the judgment of God at the same time (please reread Rom 1:18-32), so too America is collapsing spectacularly under the weight of its own sin, and the current POTUS is really an indication of God withdrawing from, and bringing judgment upon, this nation.
I like very much a new piece by Matt Barber in this regard. He asks what is ailing the nation, and says this: “Is it the systematic assault on natural marriage and family, or government sanctioning of mass infanticide? Yes. It’s all of these things and more.
“Still, these things are only symptomatic of a far greater problem. There remains a broader explanation, a definitive catalyst, for this, the domestic winter of our discontent – and, as so often happens, a mere 14 words from the Holy Scriptures better elucidates that catalyst than ream upon ream of opinion page copy. The words are these: ‘When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan’ (Proverbs 29:2). America groans because the wicked rule.
“Indeed, under this president, America’s chief export has become immorality. Sexual deviancy, murder of the unborn, redistribution of wealth, and other evils have been sanitized and propagandized as ‘basic human rights.’ Thus, when this arrogant man stands before the U.N. and decries those nations that refuse to embrace his special brand of pagan relativism, we shouldn’t be surprised if those nations push back. And so they push back.
“To be sure, in addition to triggering our own spike in angst, Obama’s fevered push to ‘call evil good and good evil’ is likewise responsible for America’s snowballing marginalization across the globe. Under the tragic leadership of this ‘selfie’-centered narcissist, the United States, while never perfect, now looks less like Reagan’s ‘shining city on a hill’ and more like the biblical Whore of Babylon. A nation that once stood alone as the world’s moral guidepost now leads the contemptible charge to infect our privileged planet with its own viral iniquities. And so the world pushes back.”
And with Europe and the UK we can already see what happens when God and Christianity are basically given the ol’ heave-ho. The momentary vacuum of course must be filled, and there the two main contenders have been secular humanism, and increasingly now, Islam.
Examples of this working out in practice have been chronicled numerous times on this site. In the UK Christianity is retreating at a spectacular rate, while Islam is pouring in just as fast and furiously. Let me offer just one more recent case:
“Dozens of Muslim protestors gathered to demand that businesses stop selling alcohol in a popular East London area yesterday. The group, led by former Al-Muhajiroun leader Anjem Choudary, warned restaurants and shops in the Brick Lane area that they face 40 lashes if they continue to sell the product, which is banned under Sharia Law.
“Around 60 men and women in burkhas handed over warning letters to Muslim-owned businesses in the area after the protest was initially delayed by a small number of English Defence League members staging a counter-protest. Controversial cleric Choudary was at the forefront of the protest. The Al-Muhajiroun group he formerly led has been banned under terrorism laws.
“Organisers told The Times the protest was held yesterday to coincide with the large number of office workers who would be in the area for Christmas parties. Choudary told the crowd: ‘The shops are run by Muslims and they know they are selling alcohol and they know the sale and consumption of alcohol is completely prohibited. We cannot live among the non-Muslims and see this evil take place.’ He told those gathered it was his wish that Sharia law, banning alcohol, should be enforced in Britain.
“He also defended three ‘fantastic’ men who were jailed last week for attacking drinkers while on a ‘Muslim patrol’. He was referring to an incident in which Jordan Horner and another Islamic extremist told a couple they could not hold hands while walking down the street, because it was in a ‘Muslim area’. The radicals also attacked a group of men drinking in the road, and told a woman she would face ‘hell fire’ because of the way she was dressed.”
This is London, not Mecca or Tehran. And it also should be pointed out that even in the Middle East, Christianity – where it has been meagrely allowed of late – has been a force for good. As Patriarch Louis Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon has said, “We will all lose if Christians flee the Middle East”.
He explains, “For almost two millennia Christian communities have lived in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East. These groups have contributed economically, politically, and intellectually, and have helped shape their respective cultures. Unfortunately, in the 21st century Middle Eastern Christians are being severely persecuted. When they have the means, many are fleeing the region.
“This exodus and its causes, largely ignored in the West, constitute a growing crisis with both humanitarian and security implications. In most of these countries, Islamist extremists see Christians as an obstacle to their plans. Some nations, dominated by extremist ideas, do not want so-called ‘Arab Spring’ democracy. Freedom and pluralism are dangerous to them and their goals.
“Unfortunately, some in the West are encouraging the emigration of Christians. Each month families in good economic situations leave for good. Many young Christians, especially those who are well educated, are fleeing. For example, the United Nations Committee for Refugees recently estimated that 850,000 Iraqi Christians have left since 2003. This is an immense loss for those who stay, as well as for Iraqi culture and politics.
“The current situation is all the more tragic because Christianity has its roots in the Middle East. In Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Egypt, Christians were a majority in the region well before of the arrival of Islam….”
While Islam seems to be working overtime to destroy freedom and democracy, Christianity has been at the forefront of these other tremendous goods we take for granted in the West. But as Christianity declines in the West, so do these social goods.
Islam will not be able to produce them, nor will secular humanism. So the collapse of Christianity impacts everyone. Of course as I have stated before, if the West goes, that is not the end of Christianity. God does not need the West to preserve his church. It is flourishing elsewhere at the moment: Africa, Asia and Latin America.
But the ongoing loss of the goods of the West are not something we should be cavalier about. Freedom, democracy, the rule of law and other things are worth fighting for and defending. If the West does implode, so be it. But we should seek to preserve what we can of it while we still have it.
If and when the end of the West comes about, we can still take comfort in knowing that God is not done with planet earth, and he is still at work in the world. So from a human point of view, the future looks rather grim, but from a heavenly point of view, we still have hope.