Philip Jenkins PhD has been writing pieces essentially saying ‘The Sky is not Falling’ when it comes to the Islamization of Europe and the decline of Christianity.
In some ways his logic could be called counter-intuitive but I hope he’s right. I have my doubts.
The rapid decline in the continent’s church attendance over the past 40 years may have done Europe a favor. It has freed churches of trying to operate as national entities that attempt to serve all members of society. Today, no church stands a realistic chance of incorporating everyone. Smaller, more focused bodies, however, can be more passionate, enthusiastic, and rigorously committed to personal holiness.
To use a scientific analogy, when a star collapses, it becomes a white dwarf—smaller in size than it once was, but burning much more intensely. Across Europe, white-dwarf faith communities are growing within the remnants of the old mass church.
We here at CMR are clearly fans of the power of a “creative minority.” I assume Jenkins is looking at the Church in places like Poland which was forced underground and proved transformative in the country later. But in places like Russia and China the “white dwarf” theory has yet to bear the same fruit. So to say that smaller is always better does not follow.
I can agree with Jenkins as long as we’re talking about the difference of adhering to faith rather than watering it down for masses. But then I believe Jenkins goes a bit too far by saying the Muslim invasion of Europe is actually good for Catholics and Christians.
Ironically, after centuries of rebelling against religious authority, the coming of Islam is also reviving political issues most thought extinct in Europe, including debates about the limits of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to proselytize. And in all these areas, controversies that originate in a Muslim context inexorably expand or limit the rights of Christians, too. If Muslim preachers who denounce gays must be silenced, then so must charismatic Christians. At the same time, any laws that limit blasphemous assaults on the image of Mohammed must take account of the sensibilities of those who venerate Jesus.
Sure, except for the fact that Islamists are stoning, murdering, and chopping Christian’s heads off wherever they find them! The fact that I might agree with my executioner that same sex marriage is bad isn’t necessarily all that important at the time.
To me, Europe seems intent on committing slow motion suicide. Jenkins however believes that a loud and active minority of Muslims in Europe could refocus Europeans on their Christian roots to good effect. Let’s hope I’m wrong.