Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Numbers Game

Crowd in PeshawarA few weeks ago History News Network published an article by Timothy R. Furnish entitled “Resurrecting Christendom: A Blueprint”. It’s a thought-provoking essay that floats the idea of a worldwide alliance of Christian nations for the purpose of containing Islam.

Dr. Furnish calls it the “Gondor Strategy”, and says it “would entail setting a ‘Watchful Peace’ upon the bloody borders of Islam, as in Tolkien the most powerful human kingdom did against Sauron’s land of Mordor.”

He supplies some specifics about what the Gondor Strategy would involve:

This strategy would be implemented by a Global Christian Alliance, formed by representatives from the aforementioned countries with the largest Christian populations, minus the problematic ones: Nigeria (as many Muslims as Christians, thus on the fault line between the civilizations); China (officially Marxist); Congo (too politically weak and unstable); and Kenya (see “Congo”). At first perhaps only one or two official delegates from each nation would be sent to the formative meetings in the de facto, working “capital” of the GCA. Rome is undoubtedly the best location, since the only other truly viable candidate, Jerusalem, might be deemed too hot a political potato (although meeting there would demonstrate the GCA’s dedication to the preservation of Israel). Eventually, as the mechanics of the alliance are ironed out, some sort of proportional representation might well be incorporated, with the U.S. getting the most delegates, followed by Brazil, Mexico, Russia, etc. This would acknowledge the reality of the power differential between the nation-states involved—for this is not a revamped World Council of Churches, but a political and military alliance grounded in a shared Christian culture.

Note, too, that [Jim] Pinkerton’s four main Christian blocs—Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and African—would all be represented (as, for that matter, would the Mormons, largely subsumed under the Protestant American category). The foundational membership for the GCA would, under this plan, include a majority of Roman Catholic nations, several Protestant ones (including the largest and most powerful, the U.S.) and two Orthodox ones (Russia, Ethiopia), with African Christianity represented by South Africa as well as Ethiopia. Also, borrowing boldly from [Robert] Conquest, very early on the GCA would create both permanent Foreign Policy and Military Committees, each of which would have as its purview, unlike NATO, the entire planet14—or at least the non-Muslim parts of it. Perhaps most importantly “these two committees would also provide a unified approach to political warfare—concentrating information and expertise and insisting on the major role of this side of the struggle.” Indeed, the GCA, like Conquest’s posited Anglosphere, “might eventually…raise or sponsor its own forces on a limited scale.”15 Unlike Conquest’s Anglosphere, however, the GCA would not have as its stated ultimate aim the total political unification of its constituent members—although it would not rule that out—but rather the goal would be to preserve, protect and defend Christian civilization against those who would destroy or subvert it, primarily Muslim enemies. Other civilizational blocs, as they continue to unite politically—the Indian/Hindu one most obviously, but also the Buddhist one—could be accorded “observer status” at GCA meetings for discussing joint counter-Islamic strategies.

I recommend a visit to HNN to read the whole thing.

It’s a tempting and compelling vision. As a Christian, I want it to happen. But how feasible is it?

The problem with assembling a Christian alliance to stem the Great Jihad is that Christianity is on the wane throughout the West, but especially in Europe. The center of gravity for Christianity in the 21st century has moved from a trans-Atlantic axis to one that runs from the heart of Africa to the heart of Asia. As I reported last week, it is thought that up to a million Iranians have converted to Christianity in the last five years, and people in China are becoming Christians at an astonishing rate. Current estimates place the number of Chinese Christians at between fifty and sixty million — a number roughly equivalent to the population of the entire United Kingdom.

And, unlike most nominal Christians in Europe, these are practicing Christians. If you live under a brutal totalitarian regime — especially one, like Iran, that punishes apostasy with death — you don’t become a Christian unless you’re serious about your faith.

In contrast, if you’re a European, and you blow off church most Sundays, you’re far from alone. According to today’s Daily Telegraph, observant Muslims will soon outnumber observant Christians in Britain:
- - - - - - - - -
The increasing influence of Islam on British culture is disclosed in research today that shows the number of Muslims worshipping at mosques in England and Wales will outstrip the numbers of Roman Catholics going to church in little more than a decade.

Projections to be published next month estimate that, if trends continue, the number of Catholic worshippers at Sunday Mass will fall to 679,000 by 2020.

By that time, statisticians predict, the number of Muslims praying in mosques on Fridays will have increased to 683,000.

The Christian Research figures also suggest that, over the same period, the number of Muslims at mosques will overtake Church of England members at Sunday services.

[…]

The projections show that, if the Churches do not reverse their historical decline, there will be more active Muslims than Christians in Sunday services across Britain before the middle of the century.

Any functional Christian alliance designed to contain Islam would have to be anchored in the most advanced and powerful countries of the West. But, as the above news story illustrates, it’s a lost cause to urge the citizens of Western Europe to mobilize against the Islamic juggernaut on the basis of their Christian faith.

The United States is somewhat better off, thanks to the Baptists and the Pentecostalists. Christianity is still vigorous here, and will be for many years to come. But a global Christian alliance could not sustain itself solely through the muscular power of the USA.

Europe is necessary to the cause.

Based on the (admittedly anecdotal) evidence of Gates of Vienna commenters and email correspondents, about half of the impetus for the Counterjihad comes from atheists and agnostics. Throw in the Jews, the Sikhs, the Buddhists, and the Hindus, and Christians are in the minority among those who would roll back the Islamization of our societies.

That’s why I repeatedly advocate for a broad coalition. Christians may be the single largest component of the resistance, but this is not a Christian movement. It’s a movement of all people who oppose the backwardness and brutality of Islam as it is currently expressed in our world. It’s an alliance of people interested in maintaining and advancing what we all call “civilization”.

That’s what we have to work with. Two or three generations from now, when militant Islam has been extinguished, all the other faiths — Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Orthodox Atheism, and even devout secular Hedonism — will flourish.

I won’t be around to see the day, but some of you who read this will be. Stick around and keep your eyes on the prize.


Hat tip for the Telegraph article: TB.

14 comments:

Snake Oil Baron said...

While I am a secularist, I would recommend against any form of "containment" which added extra barriers to the evangelical work that Christians are doing in Islamic nations and immigrant communities. While traditional Christian denominations are stagnating in Europe, evangelical satellite broadcasts in Middle East/North African languages and house church work is helping to subvert Islamic ideology. This brings the populations closer to the point where the number of hidden apostates becomes high enough to begin eroding the ability of Islam to maintain fear.

Steve said...

Unfortunately, outside of Africa and Latin America, there are very few Christian countries. Since 1948, the US has been (by Supreme Court fiat - ultra vires) officially secularist. Canada is extremely hostile to Christianity, as is 'old Europe.'

Before we can have Christendom revivix, we need a massive awakening in the formerly Christian lands, and in those that do call themselves Christians. This would include no longer feeling that we mustn't call ourselves Christian, or that Christendom is somehow a bad idea (a notion that is popular among some evangelicals).

Secularism and commercialism have greatly eroded our cultural inheritance, and that is something we individually can do something about. We need to 'walk the walk' not only in personal morals, but in cultural expression, showing in the free marketplace of ideas, that Christianity is true, and desirable.

Jeff B's Blog said...

Baron,
for dummies like me.....simply put: what did it say?

Thanks
jbarouch

Baron Bodissey said...

Jeff,

I'm sorry -- it's not clear what you mean. What did *what* say?

NJArtist said...

One of the main reasons Christianity is declining -- judged by church attendance -- is that what is being preached and taught in churches is either a weak gruel or outright heresy and apostasy. The first things the faithful must due are to re-capture the churches and to re-establish sound, biblical doctrine.

Since Lord of the Rings is being given as a metaphor, remember That the king had to be set free from Sauron's agent before the battle could be mounted. We Christians therefore must set our churches free -- reconquer them if necessary -- from false teachers and their doctrines.

Barak Obama is a metaphor for every person who sits is a pew on Sunday and listens to an apostate or heretical preacher. It is written that the sheep know their master's voice. Those of us who know His voice are not going to be attending false churches.

NJArtist said...

...do....
...sits in....

Bad fingers!

Are these word verifications secret messages? Do we need to wear tinfoil finger hats?

SEOULDIER13 said...

Either way, like I say to others. It's going to be another Crusade. We need another crusade. Only thing that will hold off this thing from happening is the fact that Roman Catholics need to incorporate Protestant/Christians into the mix a little bit more. They should let the Protestants examine the "Lost Books" of the bible and also let them vote on what books should or shouldn't be/ or voted into being in the bible. So the problems are as follows,

1) Awakening of the Christiandom.
2) Governments of those awakened being reclaimed
and built/re-formed by Christian values.
(Going to be hard for America.)
3) Those countries uniting together.
(America and Russia are going to be hard to be
united under a common banner since the two
leaders seem to be against each other.)
4) I don't know if this really is step four. I think it
it can be placed in between two of the prior
steps but, Christians uniting under a common
banner. Not just in the name of God, but as in
putting the difference of the preference in which
they believe God. My thing is this, a thief that
steals an IPOD, and a thief that steals a car are
one and the same, a thief. So in saying, a Chris-
tians are one and the same. No matter how you
believe in God.

spackle said...

I know I am probably going to get jumped all over for this, but here it goes. I have mixed feelings about this. While I think that a global resurgence of Christianity would be a good thing, it scares me that religion as a containment policy could lead to zealotry making some Christian sects as dangerous as those we fight. There is nothing to prove that now, but we know what true believers are capable of. Right now I think our best bet is still a secular rationalist approach with people who happen to be Christians or Jews.

VinceP1974 said...

While I think that a global resurgence of Christianity would be a good thing, it scares me that religion as a containment policy could lead to zealotry making some Christian sects as dangerous as those we fight.

What an insult. And stupid too.

Right now I think our best bet is still a secular rationalist approach with people who happen to be Christians or Jews

You mean the same "secular rationalist" ideas that allowed Muslims to move to the West in the first place?

Yeah, those folks have such a great track record.

spackle said...

Vincep1974--

Sorry I dont see the insult. I am merely stating that I have reservations. And we all know that Religious zealotry could be a distinct possibility. Would it in the scenario listed in this posting? Possibly. Would it be large enough to be a significant problem? Who knows? It is merely something to think about. Calling me "Stupid" doesnt really accomplish anything other then to insult me. Be assured even if you are calling my comment stupid it still trickles down and is taken as a personal attack. Relax man. Its only an opinion.

PRCalDude said...

It’s a tempting and compelling vision. As a Christian, I want it to happen. But how feasible is it?

I think the question is, "Is there any Biblical warrant for such a thing?"

Jesus will reign over the church regardless of what the Muslims try to do. The Muslims are abandoning their faith in droves because of preaching, not fighting. Christ didn't come to establish an earthly visible kingdom, so I don't think he'd bless this sort of thing.

laine said...

Secularism and rationality parted ways long ago.

For instance, the secularists invented multi-culturalism which is itself an oxymoron giving us a Tower of Babel, not a strong unified culture.

After being obsessive and offensive about separating Christianity from the state, the secularists in the interests of promoting their Frankenstinian monster multi-cult allow/encourage all kinds of Muslim encroachments into public spaces and suggesting sharia law be allowed to pollute Western justice systems etc.

This is insane. There is nothing secular in a single Islamic state. Islam should be krypton to secularists. Are they ignorant, or do they crave totalitarianism so much they'll take the Islamic version if they can't get the communist version? Or are they so stupid they think the two can be successfully combined?

Francis W. Porretto said...

As implausible as it might sound to those of us in the increasingly "post-Christian" West, the Furnish strategy is essentially correct. You cannot defeat a militant theology with cool ratiocination; the former has forces at its disposal that rational, minimax-style thought cannot muster. "Thererfore" is simply less energizing than "Deus Vult."

Gringo_Malo said...

Being a simple-minded sort, I'm puzzled when people advocate things that simply aren't necessary. The United States could, all by itself, right now, put an end to militant Islam by depriving it of petroleum. But for oil revenue, Islam would be no threat to anyone.

We've already conqured Iraq, sort of. If America's leadership were not too cowardly, effeminate, and vapid to apply the ruthless measures necesary, our forces could easily complete the conquest of the entire Arabian Peninsula in a very short time. Americans would actually make money out of it. We lack only the brains and the will.