Culture, Christianity, Catholic Dogma & The Death Of The West

Culture, Christianity, Catholic Dogma & The Death Of The West

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What follows is an excerpt of an article by Richard John Nuehaus from First Things. It is among other things a book review of God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe’s Religious Crisis by Philip Jenkins.

"Jenkins operates within a very short time frame. He suggests that by 2050 there will be thirty million Muslims in Europe. Other scholars believe the figure will be much higher. Whatever the more plausible number, 2050 is, in historical perspective, only a few years distant. The life of nations is, in their own self-understanding, very long. The Novus Ordo Seclorum on the Great Seal of the United States may be a self-flattering conceit, as may be France’s belief, stemming from 1789, that it bears the destiny of humanité, but to invest in and sacrifice for the future of a people and its way of life—the most palpable form of which is in having babies—requires a timeline much longer than 2050. People who do not, in continuity with the world they know, hope to have grandchildren who will hope to have grandchildren do not have babies. The sacrifice of the identities of nations and peoples to the deracinated idea of “Europe” as institutionalized in the European Union, combined with the forceful counternarrative of Islam, does not suggest a future in which many will make an intergenerational investment.

"But then, and despite his roseate projections, perhaps Philip Jenkins knows all this. Recall his observation that “both Christianity and Islam face real difficulties in surviving within Europe’s secular cultural ambience in anything like their familiar historic forms.” Europe is a historical phenomenon, and Europe without its familiar historic forms is not Europe. To speak of the death of Europe is not to suggest that the continent called Europe will disappear. It is possible that “Eurosecularity” in sustained tension with an Islamo-Christian cultural ambience will flourish, at least economically, for generations to come. But, with the establishment of Eurabia or the Maghreb, Europe “in anything like its familiar historic forms” will be a memory. That is what is meant by the death of Europe.

"At a recent dinner party with European intellectuals, I put to an influential French archbishop Daniel Pipes’ projection: Either assimilation or expulsion or Islamic takeover. That, he said, puts the possibilities much too starkly. “We hope for the first,” he said, “while we work at reducing immigration and prepare ourselves for soft Islamization.” Soft Islamization. It is a wan expression. Whether soft or hard, the prospect is that, in the not-so-distant future, someone will publish a book titled Allah’s Continent. In fact, several Muslim authors have already published books with very similar titles, anticipating the future of the Europe that was. Needless to say, and historical contingencies being as contingent as they are, I very much hope that they turn out to be wrong. As I very much wish Philip Jenkins’ God’s Continent provided better reasons for believing they are wrong."