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Tuesday, June 01, 2004

The Ecclesia's New Map  

We are well into a Great Extinction of the Peoples, such as has not occurred since the collapse of Rome. Just as the endangered peoples of the 4th century embraced Christianity as a promise of immortality beyond the grave of their culture, so the peoples of the South flock to the same Cross. Seventeen hundred years ago they acknowledged the authority of Rome. Today the source of Christian authority is America. [Growth of church membership in the southern hemisphere concentrates in denominations of American or British origin.]

The secularists who dominate American foreign policy seem to think that they can export the shell of the American system, namely its constitutional forms, without its religious kernel. It seems that the peoples of the South know better. It is no stranger that America's hold over the world's imagination should find religious expression first and political expression later, than that radical Protestants should have founded America in the first place. The new Christians of the South will surprise us for ill as well as good.
What Spengler (and before him Philip Jenkins in The Next Christianity call "the South" is what Tom Barnett (of The Pentagon's New Map) terms
The gap. What I call the non-integrating gap ...[t]hat is poorly integrated to the global economy. ... It`s the Caribbean rim. It`s the Andes portion of South America. It`s most of Africa. It`s the Balkans. It`s the Caucasus. It`s Central Asia, Southwest Asia and much of Southeast Asia. [quoted from the Booknotes transcript]
Now as 17 centuries ago, one of the first ways disconnected Gappers in failing societies try to integrate themselves is through universalizing religions: Christianity, Islam, Christianity again. Market participation and adoption of the secular rule-sets come much later. Those nearer the bloody boundaries understand this, even if we in the Western parts of the Core have forgotten.

Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong of Singapore (hat tip American Thinker):
[T]he identification that all Muslims feel for events affecting other Muslims has become real and visibly stronger and more widespread since global communications have facilitated the dahwa, or missionary activities of the Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia preaching and spreading Wahhabism with its oil wealth. Denying that there is such a globalized Muslim political and religious consciousness, or trying to argue that a universal ummah is a danger or somehow undesirable, only mobilizes all Muslims to dig in as they feel their religion is under siege.
We can't allow our secular bias - our fixation on the shell rather than the kernel - to let us see religious forms of integration as illegitimate or a threat, rather than an opportunity to be seized. As in the battle of ideas and media reportage, we can't continue to abandon the field to the other side.

One step might be for the Western churches to stop driving headlong into schism with the South as they respond to the dearth of vocations in a secularized society by ordaining anyone willing.

Another might be to recall that one difference between the American and French revolutions was that between co-opting/tolerating religion and attempting to extirpate it. Most of us can figure out which strategy worked better.

posted by Kelly | 11:58 AM link