“It is a commonplace today that Christians in the West have lost their faith, whereas Muslims in the East are still believers; that what we now have is a confrontation between decadent post-Christian secularists, and sincere if possibly misguided Muslims. The first part of this proposition often seems true enough, especially of contemporary Europe. But I really think the second proposition is false. I think one of the reasons Islamism has erupted with such gale force in the Muslim world is indeed the very loss of faith, and the fear that comes from this. ...
“It is in moments of doubt that one often makes the wildest, most desperate, professions of faith; and in a way Osama bin Laden is doing this within his own person, and calling to fellow Muslims who are experiencing the same dark night of the soul. It is as if they were confronting not us, but instead Allah, and saying, ‘Show us! Prove to us you still exist; because, if you don't, we will give up on you entirely.’
“At the edges of that Muslim world today, there is much, chiefly anti-Christian violence: in the Philippines, Indonesia, in Nigeria, Sudan, and across Africa, in the Trans-Caucasus and elsewhere. But part of the reason for this, I have come to realize, is the very success of the new Christian missionaries. They are coming today not from Europe and America as they once did, but from churches now indigenous to Africa and Asia. For in the grand statistical overview of the present day world, Islam is expanding by its birth-rate alone, it is not making many converts; whereas, paradoxically, it is Christianity that is now spreading like wildfires from many different centres in the Third World, both by birth-rate and by conversion.”
It's all a matter of perspective.
Thursday, December 05, 2002
This is Canadia writer David Warren's take on Christian/Muslim relations and attitudes. (Via David Frum)