The Rise of the Anti-Christian West and Islam

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HANNE NABINTU HERLAND is ethnically Norwegian, but was born and raised in Africa, and moved to Europe as a 19 years old. She is a bestselling Scandinavian author, historian of religions and commentator in leading Scandinavian newspapers who has further developed a Norwegian bestseller from 2010: The Culture War. How the West Lost Its Greatness. English is not her first language. She also speaks French, Portuguese, Swedish, Swahili and some Greek.

As we have seen, a startlingly high number, around 80%, of the American people believe in God, 75-80% call themselves Christians in Europe. Imagine the numbers. As few as 2–6% are atheists and little more than 1% belong to non-religious humanist associations. The vast majority of the Western population are discriminated against by the current anti-religious progressive elites, who control the media and state institutions. Is this democracy or a dictatorship?

Extreme Secular Tyranny

Religious traditions have a major impact on the large majority of individuals in the West. To repeat, in a country like the US, Pew Research Centre surveys shows that 80% of the citizens believe in God. Other surveys show that around 70% of the American people believe in God.

In Europe, the number of believers in God is about 76.2%, and as many as 70% in the UK and Germany call themselves Christian, according to Pew Research Center 2012.[1] That is definitely what you would call the vast majority of a population. If one adds millions of Muslims and numbers of other faiths in Europe, these numbers definitely represent a broad majority. Atheism and extreme secularism, on the other hand, which seems to be the leading force within mainstream media and the political establishment, may comprise as low as only 2% of the world’s population; another poll showing 8%, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. These are startlingly low numbers. In short, almost no one in the West are atheists, compared to the vast majority of believers.

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Even in a secular country like France, about 90% of the population call themselves Christian, according to the World Factbook. Statistical numbers steadily vary depending on, for one, how the questions in the surveys are worded. Pew Research show that around 70% of the French population consider themselves Christian.

These, again, are remarkably high numbers given the fact that the European population has been subjected to fervent anti-Christian influences for decades, given the influential powers in proportion to their public support. As Kirsten Powers has pointed out in The Silencing. How the Left is Killing Free Speech, the more success the illiberal left – where one tends to find the highest numbers of atheists – has in terrorizing, demonizing and defaming people who express dissenting views, the fewer objections there may be. Most understandably just want to do their jobs and support their families, which is hard in academia if you are not sufficiently politically correct. A quick glance at some of the debates where famous British atheists appear, is a show of bullying tactics, rude comments, lack of manners and respect for the broad majority view on religion. They speak as though they own the world, yet the statistics show this is not the case.

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Islam Respects Jesus More Than We Do

Let me quote Patriarch Kirill once more, from a Russian Christmas 2016 interview:

Well-to-do Europe has turned into a place where Christians are oppressed. Christianity is being pushed out of the public space. In many countries, the word ‘Christmas’ isn’t used now. The plight of Christians in Syria, Iraq, and many other countries, has been driven to extremes. Christians are currently the most oppressed religious community in the world, and not only in the Middle East but also in well-off Europe, where a public display of faith, such as openly wearing a cross, can lead to dismissal at work.

Kirsten Powers, herself a liberal fighting to end the illiberal tendency within the American left not to tolerate differences of opinion, writes in The Silencing. How the Left is Killing Free Speech that she finds the current situation problematic. A 2007 study of faculty in college campuses, found that 53% of university professors had negative attitudes towards evangelicals. Powers states that this raises serious questions on how fair a treatment young Christians would get when entering college.

A 2012 study, showed that 82% of liberal social psychologists would feel uneasy and prejudice if a Christian Conservative was to be employed at their faculty. Christian groups have been denied university status by student government organizations on the count that they hold views that are not liberal enough. Powers points out that disagreement is fine, discrimination is not, finding that the current situation in the US involves a left-wing movement that is becoming increasingly radical, to the point that it today fights tolerance and free speech – when Conservatives and Christians speak. She calls this type of one-way tolerance “repressive tolerance.” She states that the illiberal Left believes that people who have different ideological opinions than them should be completely silenced. Instead of using rhetoric or persuasion, they turn to delegitimize the person, using character assassination, demonization and dehumanization tactics.

  According to EU lawyers, the increasing persecution of Christians in Europe is driven by groups whose ideological agendas counter Church teaching, both centrally placed in the EU and the UN. Let us take the case of Pope Benedict XVI. It was nearly impossible to read a positive sentence about him for several years, even though he was hailed as a fearless and uncompromising teacher of morality in other parts of the world.

After spending Christmas in Dubai a few years back, this injustice became even more evident. In the United Arab Emirates, a Muslim nation, the Pope’s Christmas speech was cited in its entirety in the leading newspapers. There were large photos, front-page images, respectful articles on how Pope Benedict XVI had encouraged everyone to take better care of one another and show respect for others. It struck me with force. The pope would never have received the same type of respect in Western media outlets.

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The Pope openly encouraged everyone to love one another. Muslims were the ones who appreciated it. Yet again, on Christmas Day, there was a two-page spread with photographs of Christians in prayer in Muslim newspapers, respectfully acknowledging their prayers. To honor the birth of Christ, Burj-al-Arab, one of the world’s very seven-star hotel, was illuminated by particularly glittering colors. Dubai was sharply colored in vivid brightness, to honor the birth of Christ. The Quran regards, as we know, Jesus as the second most important prophet after Mohammed.

 It is notable to remember the words of renowned evangelist, Billy Graham, who also showed respect for one of the world’s most influential Christian leaders, the pope. He said in one of his TV interviews, as quoted by the Saturday Evening Post that the pope at that time, Pope John Paul II was the greatest religious leader of the modern world, and one of the greatest moral and spiritual leaders of the century.

Being astounded by the respectfulness of the Muslims, it was clearer than ever that the pope was on a serious collision course with the radically illiberal forces in the European debate. There seemed to be no end to the slander of Pope Benedict XVI’s name. He was, at that time, almost consistently referred to in the Western press as arch-conservative, rigidly bound by old traditions, an opponent of modernization, narrow-minded, backward and old-fashioned. The Pontiff had to endure both unfair, scornful and overly generalized critiques from his opponents. This type of illiberal treatment illustrates the present willingness of the Western ruling elites to use totalitarian means to silence opposing religious viewpoints.

The West is turning into a desert of godlessness and pride. We have lost the sense of the sacred. The food you eat, the water you drink, the experience of life itself is a sacred gift. We ought to be grateful, filled with humility. Instead, we live in a culture that increasingly abuses both animals, humans and the environment, greedily craving for more.

Increasingly, one has to turn to non-Western nations to find leading political leaders who actually steadily address the need for sovereign nations to uphold religious and traditional cultural values as the cornerstone of society. Somehow, issues like the devastating atrocities committed against Christians in the Middle East, simply do not get mainstream media attention in the West.

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Islam, Geopolitics, and the Refusal of the Extreme Liberal

Pushing for Islam has, during the past decades been a convenient tool to many progressives, one may assume, in the attempt to diminish Westerners’ trust in their own cultural heritage and Christianity. It has been quite a useful tool, though recently backfiring. In the age of mass immigration into Europe, tolerance has been described as the willingness of Europeans to let go of their own heritage in order to accommodate foreigners and newcomers.

This approach has resulted in Islam now being one of Europe’s strongest religions. Many of its believers have political ambition to influence society with values that contrast those of the same progressive, anti-religious elites who opened the way for Islam in the first place. Islam is the second largest religion both in France and Britain and other European countries. Christians and Muslims now often fight the same battle for the reimplementation of the respect for religious freedom in the West, as many of the “pro-Islam European atheists” now have realized that they may be outnumbered precisely by Muslims in just a few years.

Some say that it was the terror attacks in New York on September 11, 2001, that enthused new attention towards religion in general. The bombing of the Twin Towers came as a shock to most Westerners, although claims later have been made that the mostly Saudi Arabian hijackers were part of a larger geopolitical strategy. It remains uncertain whether the attack was done due to religious or political reasons. Nevertheless, shortly after the attacks, the US went to war in Afghanistan, then Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Syria. Regardless of the driving forces behind the current geopolitical strategies, the Western secular elites revised their thoughts on the increasingly politicized role of religion in the modern world.

Jürgen Habermas now also revised his position on the role of religion in liberal societies, as we have seen. Upon receiving the Holberg Prize in Bergen, Norway in 2005, he delivered a remarkable acceptance speech that deserves to be cited. It’s unique message represents a stunningly strong abandonment of the academic theories that professed that faith in God is an attribute of an unenlightened, old-fashioned and archaic society. He stated that the historical European ethic has a role, a moral role, to play as the ethical foundation in a secularized Europe. The tendency for solidarity to decline in liberal society and for egoism to dominate is a worrisome development. Numerous moral philosophers have actively warned against this trend for quite some time.

Habermas is, as most know, a leading neo-Marxist philosopher and proclaimed atheist who has argued for a strong secularization his entire life. His dramatic change of view is therefore quite sensational. Habermas now seems to acknowledge some of the flaws in the neo-Marxist thinking that characterized post-war Europe. The speech reflects the new attitude, as Habermas acknowledged that religious traditions and denominations have taken a new and unexpected place in politics. He states that religion has ended up playing, in clear contrast to what many secularists predicted, an increasingly important role in the modern world. The essence of the speech focused on the necessity of a renewed focus on the value of religious ethics in order for secular society to rekindle the waning spirit of solidarity, empathy, and respect for one another.

Habermas provided a compelling example of how dramatically unexpected this change was by citing an article published in the New York Times, “The day that extinguished the enlightenment.” It summed up the general feeling of many in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks. The rushing wave of secular modernity did not succeed in wiping out religion, he said. At the very least, Islam’s rise with its political and social clarity dictated that religion again assume a position on the political agenda that was surprisingly strong.

Even in the wake of the extensive niqab and burka debates, as well as the quest for implementing Sharia law in Europe, the influence of Muslim cultures – both in its traditional Islamic form as well as through its more political, ideological and jihadist wings – has become more and more apparent as a socio-political force that will dominate European debates in the years to come.

In addition to global religious trends, the much uncontrolled wave of mass immigration from non-Western countries has greatly changed the face of Europe, much in accordance with the will of the multiculturalist movement. They have succeeded in moving millions from their countries of origin and into Europe.

Ironically enough, Islam has gained a foothold in the West, precisely through the help of the non-believing liberals who fought for open borders and the multicultural implementation of other cultures and their values into the European fabric in the first place. The term multiculturalism is generally understood as the acceptance and promotion of multiple cultural traditions within one country so that the host culture does not require the assimilation of new coming immigrants into its own society. New immigrants are to keep their cultural traditions and not submit to the cultural regulations of the host culture. In other words, paradoxically one is not to criticize Muslims but may very well do so with Christians and other traditional Western denominations.

Millions of non-Westerners came to Europe in search for a better life than that of their cultures of origin. New arrivals looked for economic development and job opportunities, yet still kept their Islamic zeal for the worship of God and submission to Allah. One may be astounded by how thousands of European mosques are filled with hundreds of thousands of active worshippers, how Muslims take over church buildings and collectively refuse to succumb to the secular standards of “privatized religion” and still pray openly in the streets of Paris, London and Rome.

The entry of Islam into Europe has shocked secular atheists, as they finally thought to be on the doorstep of getting rid of religion altogether. They assumed our Muslim brothers would lose their religion once they entered into the Western liberal hemisphere, alas, the opposite happened. Precisely the extreme-secular thrust that so effectively silenced the Protestant bishops and other religious groups to such a degree that they almost seem invisible in the European political landscape is a failed tactic against the Muslims. Muslims in the West now raise their voices even higher and complain about the decadence among the cultural elites in their countries of origin as well as in the West. This type of critique has, as we know, also been an issue in Islam throughout the ages. Islam became the fastest-growing religion in the modern world.

LIGHTER CULTURE WAR LIGHTER CULTURE WAR LIGHTER CULTURE WAR

One thing is certain: with the influx of millions of believing Muslims into Western societies, we are set to become more openly religious yet again. The question is which religion? Will the Christians rise to meet the challenge or will they leave the scene to Islam?

In his Holberg speech, Habermas pointed out that the political revitalization of religion occurs right in the heartland of Western society. Even though a wave of secularization has washed over most European countries since World War II, the significance of religion for political purposes has not decreased in the rest of the world.

He stated that against this background, the division in the West is perceived as evidence for the isolation of Europe from the rest of the world. Habermas stated, that precisely by the elimination of capital punishment, liberal abortion laws, the equality of homosexual partnership with heterosexual marriage, the unconditional rejection of torture, and generally giving priority to individual rights over the collective good such as national security, it seems that European countries have left USA behind on the road they once shared. In the light of world history, the European form of anti-religious rationalism is actually an exception to the rule: People in the rest of the world still believe in God and the spiritual realm.

The growing importance of religion indicates a dramatic change in civil society, where academic debates about religion increasingly re-enter the public sphere. Habermas further maintains that the ongoing process of religious renewal has reinforced the divide between Europe and America. In the US, spiritual faith has, so far, been met with more respect than in Europe. In The Divided West Habermas explores this theme more extensively. He herein repeats the principle that states that religion has no place in the public sphere as evidence of Europe’s actual disconnect with the rest of the world.

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Humanist Movements – Exploiting Muslims and Harassing Christians

The aim of the atheist and humanist Associations in Europe has been to seek the end of religious privilege, promote a secular worldview and to bring an end to discrimination against the non-religious. The last point is excellent, as there should be no discrimination against those without a religion, atheist or agnostic alike. There should be no discrimination against those with a religion either. The Humanist Associations have dominated the public sphere, harassing bishops and dictating theologians, constantly on the watch if Christians speak out in the media to instantly there to bully them, portraying their own work as if it is all about “tolerance.” Ironically, the Humanist Association’s statutes are but a copy of original Christian values – only omitting any reference to God or spiritual search.

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  A quick glance at the humanist movements in Europe shows they have gained remarkable political influence despite their puzzlingly low number of members. An example is the Humanist Associations in countries such as Norway and Sweden, which represent as low numbers as 1.6% of the population, according to their own websites. A recent UK survey, ‘The Profile of the Members of the British Humanist Association’ by Glyndwr University, cited at Science, Religion and Culture showed that the UK Humanist Association has as few as around 12,000 members and only around 30,000 supporters.

In 2011, the first time the UK Census provided the opportunity to register as “humanist,” only around 15,000 people from England and Wales did so. If one compares with the overwhelming number in Europe that call themselves Christians, the humanists have a remarkably strong political influence. Humanists should not be given the right to suppress the majority.

  Yet, the humanist movements’ often militantly hostile opinions on religion and the influence of the Church, have been at the centerfold of public debate for decades. They speak the loudest about tolerance, yet fight the right of the broad majority to freedom of conscience and respect for religious faith. Humanists are cited in the media as if they represent millions, and not only the one percent. They speak at all kinds of rallies, relentlessly fighting traditional values and portraying furious criticism in what seems to be a profound hatred towards Christians. They represent a tiny minority but still push with an extreme anti-Christian agenda as if they speak for all.  An analysis of the Humanist Association’s public reactions shows an almost endless attempt to label Christians as irrational people who advocate for an old-fashioned superstition.

Young Christians

Puzzlingly, as previously mentioned, the same atheist groups tend to strongly defend Muslims’ rights to practice their traditions, the claim being that Christianity represents a discrimination against Islam. This paradox has, for example, made the Humanist Association in Scandinavian countries into “defenders of Islam”, even though their own statutes states that the aim is to quell religious privileges as a whole – obviously including those of Muslims in the long run. Can it be that some are cynically using the newly arrived Muslims in order to condemn traditional European values, and believe that bullying Christians would serve the cause? Once they finish off Christians, they would begin the same tactics with Muslims?

Among other issues, humanist protests have widely been held against church attendance for school children before Christmas. The point is that one should no longer celebrate the birth of Christ since it is offensive to the newly arrived minorities. Yet, Muslims repeatedly confirm that they do not see the point in this, Jesus being a major prophet in Islam. Many openly stating that they do not object to celebrating the Christian feast of Christmas. Many Muslims even state that it is obviously not “racist” when Europeans wish to adhere to their own holidays and religious celebrations, the same way Muslim countries celebrate Islamic holidays.

If it was to be the case that celebrating Christmas is “racist,” where is the criticism of Saudi Arabia when it hails the pilgrimage to Mecca as Christians are not allowed to join?

[1] Regional Distribution of Christians (Friday, August 18, 2017) http://www.pewforum.org/2011/12/19/global-christianity-regions/

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