Will America suffer the same fate as Europe and the rise of what Karen Armstrong calls “secular fundamentalism”? We seem to be headed in a similar direction with the secularization of our schools, courts, media, and politics. Christianity in America, like Christianity in Europe, is under attack. We see it every day. Judges are being scrutinized for their religious beliefs, especially on abortion, homosexuality, and gender redefinition. A similar thing happened to Italy’s nominee to the European Union’s executive commission a few years back. He was attacked by EU parliamentarians and the press because of his view that homosexuality was a sin. The attacks were so vicious that he had to step down.
What’s happened to the once-Christian Europe when a court has consistently denied the parents of their infant son Charlie Gard to seek alternative medical treatment in the United States? George Weigel, a theologian and senior fellow of the Ethics and Policy Center in Washington, D.C., says that the culprit “is the atheistic humanism that took shape in the 19th century.” Whether in the form of Auguste Comte’s positivism (empirical science is the only reliable worldview), Charles Darwin’s naturalism (nature is all there is), or Karl Marx’s materialism (the spiritual world is an illusion), it attempted “to exclude transcendent reference points from cultural, social, and political life,” Weigel contends. “In specific, it reversed the view that the Hebrew and Christian God was the source of human freedom and dignity and proposed that this God was the obstacle to both.”
If Evolution is Right Can Anything be Wrong?
Atheistic evolutionists express moral outrage against murder and rape, but if evolution is true, how can there be moral outrage since it was killing and rape that got us where we are today as a species? Animals kill and rape every day. Why are killing and rape OK for animals but not for humans, who are only supposedly highly evolved animals? If evolution is true, at death we are nothing more than dust in the wind and in life we are nothing more than a bag of meat and bones.Buy Now
Acquiescing to secularism struck at the heart of moral reason “in a culture that had given the world the very concept of moral reason.” Two world wars were an indictment of humanism and materialism, but instead of rejecting the materialistic worldview that was used to justify the wars, the people adopted a “hyperindividualism” which has led to “a lack of confidence in the future.” When you no longer believe in the future, you tend to discount the past (rejection of Europe’s Christian civilization), deny the future, and live for the present, both in philosophy and practice.
To show the detachment many Europeans have to the past and future, during the heat wave of 2003, the French continued their summer vacations. If a family member had died, they remained unburied and warehoused in refrigerated lockers which were soon overflowing. In Germany, there are no death notices in the newspapers, no church funeral ceremonies, no secular memorial service — “as though,” Richard Neuhaus observed, “The deceased did not exist.”
A Swedish company advertises a service in which cremation is replaced with human composting, the dead being immersed and frozen in liquid nitrogen before being smashed in small pieces by ultrasound waves and then freeze-dried and used for fertilizer. Sounds like something out of the dystopian movie Soylent Green (1973):
Thorn: “It’s people. Soylent Green is made out of people. They’re making our food out of people. Next thing they’ll be breeding us like cattle for food. You’ve gotta tell them. You’ve gotta tell them!”
**Hatcher: “**I promise, Tiger. I promise. I’ll tell the exchange.”
Thorn: “You tell everybody. Listen to me, Hatcher. You’ve gotta tell them! Soylent Green is people! We’ve gotta stop them somehow!”
Given the state of mind of many Europeans, I’m not sure Detective Thorn’s warning would elicit much of a response. In fact, some might consider turning the dead into food a good idea. It’s the funeral plan that keeps on giving.
Europe is also having what demographics’ expert Ben Wattenberg calls a “birth dearth” where the average birth rate among European women is 1.4, while the minimum replacement rate is 2.1.
For the first time since records began in 1900, more people died in The Netherlands than were born in 2022, according to the nation’s official statistician.
In a stunning example of Western demographic decline, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) of The Netherlands reported that last year the birth rate fell below the death rate, with 168,000 babies born compared to 169,000 deaths. The number of births declined by 11,000 over the previous year, putting the rate of 1.49 children per woman on par with historically low birth rates in the 1980s.
Nevertheless, the population of the country still increased as a result of mass migration, with some 402,000 immigrants settling in The Netherlands last year, an increase of 150,000 over 2021. The increase was in large part a result of the war in Ukraine, with 89,000 Ukrainians being registered as fleeing to the country this year.
The Netherlands was once the community of Christian worldview thinking led by Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920), who served as Prime Minister in the Netherlands (1901-1905) and founded the Free University of Amsterdam in 1880, said in his Inaugural Lecture on “Sphere Sovereignty,” “Oh, no single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’” This is no longer the case among most Christian leaders and even less a reality among rank-and-file Christians. You see, heaven is their home and they’re just pilgrims passing through. Worldview pluralism, advocated by Kuyper in terms of his sphere sovereignty paradigm, was advocated and later dispensed with once the pluralists gained a foothold, ascended to power, and shut the open door shut behind them.
Similar demographic statistics can be found in Japan. Europe has another related problem—a competing worldview that it has no inherent ability to fight Islam. The Muslim population in France could grow from being 5 percent of France’s 60 million population today to a majority in 25 years. Fouad Ajami, director of the Middle East Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University, told the [Harvard Political Review] that much of the Muslim population of France, for example, is “shut up in these ghettos, secluded and kept apart from French society. They have a subculture of their own, a slang of their own, a language of their own. And the French have no answer to them.” For many nationals whose self-conceptions rest on shared cultural values and assumptions, the existence of this distinct, alien, highly-religious community is perceived as a serious threat to national unity.
Christianity has been the only religion capable to compete with Islam, but Europe today is experiencing the spread of “Christophobia” that “is tied to a Europe-wide spiritual malaise that is pushing the Continent toward broad cultural and economic decline.” You can’t beat something with nothing. Spain has already capitulated to Islamic terrorists. Individualism cannot beat a corporate worldview. Christianity is corporate: one body but with many members. “I believe in the holy Catholic (not Roman Catholic) (universal) church.” When this corporate identity is denied, you become ripe for the picking.
Thinking Straight in a Crooked World
The nursery rhyme ‘There Was a Crooked Man’ is an appropriate description of how sin affects us and our world. We live in a crooked world of ideas evaluated by crooked people. Left to our crooked nature, we can never fully understand what God has planned for us and His world. God has not left us without a corrective solution. He has given us a reliable reference point in the Bible so we can identify the crookedness and straighten it.Buy Now
There are signs of hope among the young. Many of the children of the “now middle-aged and soon to be retired … have become Christian believers. Those who grew up Christian and rejected both the faith and the Church in late adolescence or early adulthood are puzzled, even angered, by the phenomenon of their children turning to Jesus Christ and Christianity to fill the void in their lives.” It’s the counterculture in reverse; the decade of the 1960s turned on its head. But will it be enough with a preoccupation with end-time speculation that we are indeed living in the last days, and nothing will change what’s happening. The “rapture” of the church is the eschatological answer to the decline of Christian civilization.
Jay Tolson, “European, Not Christian,” U.S. News & World Report (May 30, 2005), 52.
Abraham Kuyper, “Sphere Sovereignty,” in James D. Bratt, ed., Abraham Kuyper: A Centennial Reader (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 488.
George Weigel, The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God (New York: Basic Books, 2005), 76-77.