Mark Shea has posted commentary and an illustrative video on the National Catholic Register site about how England, in the course of a few decades, has gone from a Christian country to a multi-cultural country (my term, not his), to a post-Christian country increasingly bullied and controlled by “inflamed and diseased Islam”. Shea makes several good points, including these:
The Islam on display in this video is a simple, straightforward and deeply fleshly religious tradition that offers frank and naked rewards to human pride with no hint of the checks placed on it by the preaching of Jesus concerning humility and the warnings he gives about judgmentalism. English secularism, being the idiot stepchild of a debased Anglican/Calvinist tradition, simply assumes that such open and frank pride is Not the Done Thing and so is utterly without antibodies when confronted with a culture that cares nothing at all for the cry of “judgmentalism”. It will be interesting to see if post-Christian England (and America) can adapt (which will mean, ultimately, a conscious reclamation of their Christian roots for some purpose other than finding sticks to beat Christians with) or if it will simply buckle in uncomprehending confusion before this arrogant and aggressive new religious ideology.
One thing I can predict with confidence: Among the first comments to a blog entry like this will be the de rigeur act of pointing out that Christians have also been guilty of the sins of pride and judgmentalism. Manning’s corollary–a favorite strategy of the “all religions are alike” post-Christian crowd–states
“In any online conversation about an incident of violence perpetrated by adherents of Islamic fundamentalism, the conversation will inevitably devolve into claims that Christians commit the same type and degree of violent acts, regardless of how demonstrably false that is; further, the claim will be made that past historical violence involving Christians means that present-day Christians are morally incapable of denouncing current violence involving Muslims”
So let me say now: Yes:, Christians commit the sins of pride and judgmentalism. And the reason pride and judgementalism is a sin and not a virtue in both Christian and post-Christian tradition is that Jesus preached humility said, “Do not judge”. That, I repeat, is my point. There’s a real difference between a religious tradition that condemns the sin of pride and a religious tradition that commends it. Watery post-Christian secular moralism is parasitic on the Christian moral sense and assumes it in its bullied Christian victims. But watery post-Christian secularism is utterly at sea when faced with people who could not care less about humility, the danger of passing judgement, multiculturalism and respect for diversity.
Read his entire post. It’s remarkable to think that England, in the 1940s, bravely withstood massive bombings by the Nazis and sacrificed hundreds of thousands of lives in the fight against the Axis powers. Now, just a few generations removed, that formerly great country is apparently, for the most part, meekly throwing away its Christian inheritance and the civilization built upon it. There are many factors, but the relentless pursuit of a faulty, even toxic, “multiculturalism” is a key part of the problem. Not satisfied with recognizing what is good and virtuous among differing cultures, multiculturalism is more often not merely intent on proclaiming a very dubious equality of cultures, but (as Shea touches on) insists that other cultures are inherently superior to Western culture and to anything perceived as Christian.
As Roger Kimball writes in his forthcoming book, The Fortunes of Permanence (St. Augustine’s Press, 2012), “Multiculturalism is a moral intoxicant; its thrill centers around the emotion of superior virtue; its hangover subsists on a diet of nescience and blighted ‘good intentions.'” One obvious result is a deep—and deeply confused—sense of self-loathing, as if everything about Western culture must be criticized and savaged with a sort of barbaric irrationality. The same confusion is already deeply ingrained within many key institutions in the U.S.
The question isn’t so much, “Can it happen here?”, but, frankly, “Why wouldn’t it happen here?”