Blogger Vanishing American continues what is gradually becoming one of the most important discussions of our age: What role does, or should, Christianity play in Western civilization? Is it the bedrock of our culture, as Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch thinks, and is our decline associated with abandoning it? Or is Christianity, as John Derbyshire puts it, a religion for once and future slaves, an ideology that is now fueling globalist ideals and undermining our borders through mass immigration?
The Christian-non-Christian divide is perhaps the most difficult divide to overcome within the West today. I’m struggling with this myself. Some of the criticism of Christianity, or at least the way many Western Christians are behaving now, is legitimate. I have heard Catholics claim that Multiculturalism and Political Correctness are tied to Protestant culture. I’m willing to consider that possibility. There are significant doctrinal differences between Catholics and Protestants regarding redemption and the sinful nature of man. Maybe some of this is tied to the Protestant concept of “salvation through Faith alone.” However, when it comes to just plain old-fashioned dhimmitude and abandoning national borders, Catholics are at least as bad as Protestants.
The Second Vatican Council from the 1960s was good for reaching out to Christians of other denominations, Protestant and Orthodox, and for reaching out to Jews. The problematic aspect is in relations to Islam. The big Achilles’ heel of Christians in general, and of Jews, when confronted with Islam is the idea of a “shared community of monotheists worshiping the God of Abraham.” As long as this myth is maintained, Christianity can actually in certain situations be a bridge for Islam to enter the West, rather than a bulwark against it. I have seen more than once Christians making common cause with Muslims as “men of faith” against the godless forces of secularism. I notice, however, that Christians hardly ever do the same with, say, Hindus, so it must have something to do with a shared sense of monotheism.
Christianity is growing fast in South Korea. It is interesting to see how newly converted Christians react in non-Western nations. I’ve been critical of Christianity sometimes because it is one of the impulses behind the Western inability to protect our borders, and it is. But it is Christianity within a specific cultural-ideological context that reacts like this. Koreans don’t have the same problem, as far as I know. Nor did we, until the 1960s and 70s. So what changed? It can’t all be related to Christianity, can it?
These days we hear so many arguments against Christianity, such as from the ‘proselytizing atheists’ like Dawkins and Hitchens, and then we hear the arguments from the secular right which attack Christianity for being too pacifistic. The atheists claim that Christianity fomented violence, and that it is as militant and bloodthirsty as Islam, or in fact worse, and on the other side, we hear that Christianity is a religion of slaves, which weakens and emasculates the West. So Christianity gets it from both sides; it’s too militant, it causes wars and persecutions, and at the same time, it's a religion that turns men into milquetoast pacifists. Does this make any sense?
Christianity contains elements of both militancy and pacifism, but it is not one or the other. […] We know that our forefathers did not believe Christianity commanded them to be pacifists, or to erase borders and nations. To assert that they, for centuries, were wrong and that we are the first generation to really understand Christianity and the Bible is arrogant in the extreme. If anything, we today, on the average, are far more ignorant than our ancestors where the Bible and the faith are concerned. If anybody is wrongly handling the word of God, it is likely to be us, not our forefathers. Their brains were at least not addled by nonsense and Political Correctness, and I trust the consensus of our forefathers through the centuries rather than the consensus among today’s compromised generation.
In a comment on VA’s blog one of his readers writes:
I used to be a devout, practicing Christian. Today, I cannot recognize myself in any brand of Christianity currently available. Nor am I alone. Many of my friends tell me: “I can't enter any church now without having to leave my brain at the door.”
In this regard, the evangelist, fundamentalist churches are no better than the liberal ones. I once attended a presentation at a nearby Pentecostal church about Third World poverty. The cause? Lack of infrastructure. All we had to do was dig deeper into our pockets and the problem would be solved.
I’m sorry to say this but the cause is deeply rooted and largely intractable, at least in the short term. We will not help the world’s poor by welcoming them to our shores. We will simply destroy ourselves in the process.
John Derbyshire is more right than wrong. Yes, medieval Christianity had no qualms about resisting invaders, but medieval Christians (as Protestants love to point out) had adulterated their faith with pagan beliefs. Over the past few centuries, Christianity has stripped itself of its pagan accretions. In the process, it has become as much a threat to ourselves and our loved ones as Marxism used to be, if not more so.
That sounds like a harsh judgment. It is.