Thursday, January 05, 2006

Christianity, Islam and Global Demographics

While some people are debating whether or not the Patriarchate of Moscow, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Patriarchate of Antioch, and who knows who else, are "legitimate" Orthodox Churches or heretic, schismatic, or just plain unsavory, the larger context of what is happening in the world could, just possibly, be passing by, unnoticed. There are developments taking place that could, on one level, render these questions moot. Take a moment to read the article by Mark Steyn, entitled, "It's the Demography, Stupid: The real reason the West is in danger of extinction."

Here are two quite relevant quotations:

And yet the world is utterly altered. Just to recap those bald statistics: In 1970, the developed world had twice as big a share of the global population as the Muslim world: 30% to 15%. By 2000, they were the same: each had about 20%.

And by 2020?

So the world's people are a lot more Islamic than they were back then and a lot less "Western." Europe is significantly more Islamic, having taken in during that period some 20 million Muslims (officially)--or the equivalents of the populations of four European Union countries (Ireland, Belgium, Denmark and Estonia). Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the West: In the U.K., more Muslims than Christians attend religious services each week.
A decade and a half after victory in the Cold War and end-of-history triumphalism, the "what do you leave behind?" question is more urgent than most of us expected. "The West," as a concept, is dead, and the West, as a matter of demographic fact, is dying.

What will London--or Paris, or Amsterdam--be like in the mid-'30s? If European politicians make no serious attempt this decade to wean the populace off their unsustainable 35-hour weeks, retirement at 60, etc., then to keep the present level of pensions and health benefits the EU will need to import so many workers from North Africa and the Middle East that it will be well on its way to majority Muslim by 2035. As things stand, Muslims are already the primary source of population growth in English cities. Can a society become increasingly Islamic in its demographic character without becoming increasingly Islamic in its political character?

"In the U.K., more Muslims than Christians attend religious services each week." This should give us all pause; as should the author's noting that, in the most rapidly growing countries in Africa, where there is a Muslim majority, the legacy of democratic rule left behind by the Western colonial powers is rapidly being displaced by the imposition of shari'a law. Those who fail to note that the groups largely responsible for the violence and destruction (burning cars, among other things) in France a few weeks ago were, for the most part, largely young men of Muslim background ignore the shift of the population base in many of the European countries, such as Germany (as well as France).

Where will the jurisdictional questions be then?

This posting has been made at several Yahoo! discussion groups. I felt it should also be posted here. My thanks to Jamesofthenorthwest for calling the article by Mr. Steyn to my attention.