How the West Was Lost

migrants-crowd

The political and economic advantages that lead people to seek asylum in the West are the result of territorial jurisdiction. Yet territorial jurisdictions can survive only if borders are controlled. Transnational legislation, acting together with the culture of repudiation, is therefore rapidly undermining the conditions that make Western freedoms durable. The effect of this on the politics of France and Holland is now evident to everyone. And when we find among the “asylum seekers” the vast majority of those Islamist cells that have grown up in London, Paris, and Hamburg, we begin to recognize just how much the political culture of the West is bent on a path of self-destruction.

–Roger Scruton

Secularism’s Ongoing Debt to Christianity

Christianity“Although I am a secularist (atheist, if you will), I accept that the great majority of people would be morally and spiritually lost without religion. Can anyone seriously argue that crime and debauchery are not held in check by religion? Is it not comforting to live in a community where the rule of law and fairness are respected? Would such be likely if Christianity were not there to provide a moral compass to the great majority? Do we secularists not benefit out of all proportion from a morally responsible society?”

“Secularism has never offered the people a practical substitute for religion.”

“Succinctly put: Western civilization’s survival, including the survival of open secular thought, depends on the continuance within our society of the Judeo-Christian tradition.”

-John Steinrucken,
Secularism’s Ongoing Debt to Christianity
http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2010/03/secularisms_ongoing_debt_to_ch.html

The Enduring Relevance of Jesus

Christ A5B copyJaroslav Pelikan remarks that “Jesus of Nazareth has been the dominant figure in the history of Western culture for almost twenty centuries. If it were possible, with some sort of super magnet, to pull up out of that history every scrap of metal bearing at least a trace of his name, how much would be left?”

…And what is it, really, that explains the enduring relevance of Jesus to human life? Why has he mattered so much? Why does he matter now? Why does he appear on the front cover of leading newsmagazines two millennia later? Why, even, is his name invoked in cursing more than that of any other person who has lived on earth? Why do more people self-identify as Christians—by some estimates 33.6 percent of the world population—than any other world religion? How is it that multitudes today credit him with their life and well-being?

I think we finally have to say that Jesus’ enduring relevance is based on his historically proven ability to speak to, to heal and empower the individual human condition. He matters because of what he brought and what he still brings to ordinary human beings, living their ordinary lives and coping daily with their surroundings. He promises and imparts through his companionship a life that has the quality of eternity.

He comes to where we are, and he brings us the life we hunger for. An early report reads, “Life was in him, life that made sense of human existence” (John 1:4). To be the light of life, and to deliver God’s life to woman and men where they are and as they are, is the secret of the enduring relevance of Jesus. Suddenly they are flying right-side up, in a world that makes sense.

–Dallas Willard,
The Divine Conspiracy

Why the West is so powerful

Rodney_StarkConsider this recent statement by one of China’s leading scholars:

“One of the things we were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world. We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West is so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this”.

Neither do I.

–Rodney Stark,
The Victory of Reason

Civilization without God

Peter-KreeftWhen Nietzsche, back in the 19th Century, said, “God is dead,” he didn’t mean simply that God is a myth and a superstition and never did live.  He meant that this superstition, this thing that never was literally alive, was the energy of Western Civilization.  Nietzsche, like the saints, understood that there is no Western Civilization without God.  Although he believed that we created Him in our image, rather than that he created us in His image, he realized that the image and the model go together.  

When there’s a mirror on the wall in a room, and you walk out of that room, due to the finite speed of light, though you can’t see it, your image remains in the mirror for a split second after you leave the room.  Well, if we’re made in God’s image, and God is dead, it may take a split second, or a century, for man, His image, to die.  But man cannot live without God.  An image cannot live without its model.  If God leaves, man leaves.  Nietzsche knew that.  Half of him rejoiced in it; half of him was agonized over it, but he called for the new man, the man without religion and without morality.  We’re seeing it gradually happen.  

–Peter Kreeft