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A Faithless UK and Resurgent Islam: The Perfect Storm

A Faithless UK and Resurgent Islam: The Perfect Storm

By BILL MUEHLENBERG
https://billmuehlenberg.com/
May 29, 2017

Nature abhors a vacuum, and so too in the spiritual, moral and political realms. The Western world was largely the product of the Judeo-Christian worldview and could not have developed as it did without it. But as the West becomes increasingly secular and dismissive of its Christian roots, it is becoming more and more unstable and likely to collapse.

We reject our moral and spiritual foundations at our own peril. It was Jesus who talked about building a house on the solid rock and not sifting sand. It is the same with nations and civilisations. And we are seeing right now how a solid foundation can give way to something else.

While so much of the West can be described in such terms, the UK is a clear example of this. Christianity is on the decline there big time, and secularism, along with militant Islam, are rushing in to fill the gap. And as I have said before, an anaemic, value-less secularism is no match against a crusading Islam.

Consider some reports coming out of the UK. Things are looking very bleak indeed. The opening paragraph of one article on this is a real shocker: "A new study has found that the United Kingdom's nonreligious population is now bigger than its combined Christian one, with 26 believers abandoning the faith for every atheist or agnostic who decides to become a Christian."

The piece continues:

The Benedict XVI Center for Religion and Society, launched by St. Mary's University in Twickenham, released its May study based on data from the latest British Social Attitudes survey and European Social Survey, with key findings revealing the nation's growing secularization.

The researchers noted that 24.3 million people, or 48.6 percent of the British adult population, identified as "nones" in 2015 and they are predominantly young, white and male.

The nones were found to have different faith backgrounds -- 38 percent of people who now say they have no religion were brought up as nones, while 25 percent were brought up as Anglicans, 25 percent as Other Christians, and 11 percent as Catholics, before leaving the faith.

"For every one person brought up with No religion who has become a Christian, twenty-six people brought up as Christians now identify as Nones," the study noted as a key trend.

"It is no secret that a large proportion of the British population consider themselves to have no religion," wrote Stephen Bullivant, professor of Theology and the Sociology of Religion and director of the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society at St. Mary's University.

"This has been a consistent finding of polls, social surveys, and censuses over the past several decades. In fact, the rise of the nonreligious is arguably the story of British religious history over the past half-century."

Christians, including Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and members of other denominations, made up 43 percent of the population in 2015, down from 67 percent in 1983.

And a recently released report from the Gatestone Institute is equally sobering. It found this:

By 2020, estimates are that the number of Muslims attending prayers will reach at least 683,000, while the number of Christians attending weekly Mass will drop to 679,000. "The new cultural landscape of English cities has arrived; the homogenised, Christian landscape of state religion is in retreat", said Ceri Peach of Oxford University. While nearly half of British Muslims are under the age of 25, a quarter of Christians are over 65. "In another 20 years there are going to be more active Muslims than there are churchgoers," said Keith Porteous Wood, director of the National Secular Society.

Since 2001, 500 London churches of all denominations have been turned into private homes. During the same period, British mosques have been proliferating. Between 2012 and 2014, the proportion of Britons who identify themselves as Anglicans fell from 21% to 17%, a decrease of 1.7 million people, while, according to a survey conducted by the respected NatCen Social Research Institute, the number of Muslims has grown by almost a million. Churchgoers are declining at a rate that within a generation, their number will be three times lower than that of Muslims who go regularly to mosque on Friday.

Demographically, Britain has been acquiring an increasingly Islamic face, in places such as Birmingham, Bradford, Derby, Dewsbury, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Sheffield, Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets. In 2015, an analysis of the most common name in England showed it was Mohammed, including spelling variations such as Muhammad and Mohammad.

Most important cities have huge Muslim populations: Manchester (15.8%), Birmingham (21.8%) and Bradford (24.7%).

Wow. That helps to explain a lot of things, including last week's jihad attack in Manchester which left 22 dead and 60 injured. Indeed, one of the more shocking things we now know about this horrific Islamic attack was that the bomber attended a mosque there that used to be a church. The Didsbury mosque used to be a Methodist church:

The mosque attended by the Manchester suicide bomber has been described as a "jihadist" institution, and it has previously been accused of raising funds for an al-Qaeda affiliated terror group. The Didsbury mosque was well known to Salman Abedi and his direct family. The terrorist learnt the Quran there, his brother taught Islamic lessons there, and his father, Abu Abedi, was a "well known" figure who performed the Muslim call to prayer.

Not bad for a former church. John Wesley would be turning in his grave. But so many churches there are now mosques, or discos, or homes, or restaurants. The slow decline of Christianity is not without consequence. As I said, the vacuum will get filled one way or another.

And the steady growth of Islam in the UK sure is not helping things on the terror front. Consider this shocking fact:

Intelligence officers have identified 23,000 jihadist extremists living in Britain as potential terrorist attackers, it has emerged....

Ben Wallace, the UK Security Minister, told The Times that the existence of a database of 23,000 potential attackers was a stark illustration of the magnitude of the terrorist threat.

"The figures reveal the scale of the challenge from terrorism in the 21st century," he said. "Never has it been more important to invest in intelligence-led policing."

MI5's capacity to investigate is limited to about 3,000 individuals at any one time. People are added to and removed from the group of "live" suspects depending on assessments of who poses the greatest risk.

When an investigation is closed, the people identified drop into a growing group whose risk is seen as reduced. Sources say that the pool of "former subjects of interest" has swollen to 20,000 during the years of Islamist threat since 2001.

There is concern that the intelligence agencies have been poor at detecting former subjects of interest who return to extremism.

Wow again. No wonder the UK is in such a perilous state. At least one military officer is talking tough here:

Colonel Richard Kemp, a former member of the COBRA committee, Joint Intelligence Committee, and commander of the British Task Force in Helmand, Afghanistan, has called on the Government to deport or intern all foreign nationals on the terror watch list. "The problem is, there are 3,000 known jihadis on the streets of the UK today," explained the Royal Anglian Regiment veteran.

"Our intelligence services and police -- no matter how good they are -- they cannot monitor all of them; they can't control all of them, and therefore people like the bomber in Manchester and also the attacker in Westminster a couple of months before, these people were known to the security, yet they slipped through the net.

That would certainly be a good start. But the problem is much bigger than that as I have been trying to explain here. The hope of the West is the faith that helped to bring it about. As long as the Christian church keeps haemorrhaging on a massive scale, the secularists who rush in to take its place will not in the least be able to withstand the Islamic onslaught.

And we see this perfectly on display with how Europe responds to each new jihad attack: more hashtags and candlelit vigils! As if that will save us. As Giulio Meotti has just commented:

Madrid: 191. London: 58. Amsterdam: 1. Paris: 148. Brussels: 36. Copenhagen: 2. Nice: 86. Stockholm: 4. Berlin: 12. Manchester: 22. And it does not take into account the hundreds of Europeans butchered abroad, in Bali, in Sousse, in Dakka, in Jerusalem, in Sharm el Sheikh, in Istanbul.

But after 567 victims of terror, Europe still does not understand. Just the first half of 2017 has seen terror attacks attempted in Europe every nine days on average. Yet, despite this Islamist offensive, Europe is fighting back with teddy bears, candles, flowers, vigils, Twitter hashtags and cartoons.

At the end of the day a pathetic and secularised West will not be able to withstand this death cult. The only solid answer which is up to the challenge is a return to the faith that made for Western civilisation in the first place. Sure, we must fight Islamic jihad (actual and stealth), we must stand up and defend social goods like democracy and free speech, etc.

But unless the suicidal rush into secularism is checked, it looks like the UK -- as well as all of Europe and so much of the West -- is a real goner. Things are looking very grim indeed. And the real answer to our troubles is ultimately a spiritual one.

Military or economic or political answers by themselves will not save us. The sad truth is, while it takes centuries to build a civilisation, they can be destroyed overnight. The job of rebuilding will take as much time and effort as the original building process.

As T. S. Eliot put it way back in 1948, what is at stake is very serious indeed:

It is in Christianity that our arts have developed; it is in Christianity that the laws of Europe have -- until recently -- been rooted. It is against a background of Christianity that all our thought has significance. An individual European may not believe that the Christian Faith is true, and yet what he says, and makes, and does, will all spring out of his heritage of Christian culture and depend upon that culture for its meaning. Only a Christian culture could have produced a Voltaire or a Nietzsche. I do not believe that the culture of Europe could survive the complete disappearance of the Christian faith. And I am convinced of that, not merely because I am a Christian myself, but as a student of social biology. If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes. Then you must start painfully again, and you cannot put on a new culture ready made. You must wait for the grass to grow to feed the sheep to give the wool out of which your new coat will be made. You must pass through many centuries of barbarism. We should not live to see the new culture, nor would our great-great-great-grandchildren: and if we did, not one of us would be happy in it.

END

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