Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Elephant in the room...

I just read a piece by RICHARD JOHN NEUHAUS of First Things entitled "The Much Exaggerated Death of Europe"

His review of author Philip Jenkins book "God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe’s Religious Crisis and his views of 'things aren't as bad as they seem' is a must read this morning.

Here's an excerpt:
Philip Jenkins begs to differ. But first a word on the discussion that prompts his dissent. Over the years, FIRST THINGS has devoted substantial attention to the thesis that Europe is a dying continent. In the fine phrase of David Hart, Europe is dying of “metaphysical boredom.” We were among the first to give a sympathetic hearing to the work of Bat Y’eor, who argues that Europe is, probably irreversibly, on the way to becoming “Eurabia.” Catastrophically low birth rates, combined with a burgeoning Muslim population, led the sage Bernard Lewis to comment in 2004: “Current trends show that Europe will have a Muslim majority by the end of the twenty-first century at the latest. . . . Europe will be part of the Arab West—the Maghreb.”

Then there was George Weigel’s “Europe’s Problem—and Ours” (February 2004), later expanded into his influential book The Cube and the Cathedral, in which he asks us to envision the prospect of a “Europe in which the muezzin summons the faithful to prayer from the central loggia of St. Peter’s in Rome, while Notre Dame has been transformed into Hagia Sophia on the Seine—a great Christian church become an Islamic museum.” Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum writes in National Interest that Europe is faced with three choices, two of them very stark: peaceful integration of its Muslim population; a reversal of immigration policy, joined to a brutal campaign to expel Muslims; or an Islamic takeover of Europe. And then there is Mark Steyn in America Alone, who says the takeover is already unstoppable. Bat Y’eor, Bernard Lewis, George Weigel, Daniel Pipes, Mark Steyn—with varying levels of scholarship and restraint—suggest little or nothing for Europe’s comfort. Other authors could be added to the list. Lawrence Wright in Looming Tower, Melanie Phillips in Londonistan, Bruce Bawer in While Europe Slept, Ian Buruma in Murder in Amsterdam, and, or so it seems, a grim new book-length diagnosis of Europe’s terminal illness almost every other week.

Enter Philip Jenkins with God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe’s Religious Crisis. This is the third volume of his ambitious trilogy examining religion in global perspective. There was The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, followed by The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South, which was his subject for our 2006 Erasmus Lecture published in our January 2007 issue. In God’s Continent, Jenkins seeks to counter what he views as the excessively dismal, even alarmist, analyses of the future of Europe.

Some good points to think about from Philip Jenkins however you just can't ignore an Elephant in the room...especially when he's intent on stepping on you.

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