Poll of a Billion Monkeys

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Exchange - The Last, Best Hope

The Exchange - The Last, Best Hope

A friend of mine sent me these article links along with his personal observations regarding religious matters in Germany and Europe.

We have often had related discussions on these very matters. I'm not going to post his remarks because they were for a few select friends but below you will find my response to his observations and the articles he sent me.



My Response:

My personal opinion on this matter is this.

Germany and Italy were the prior religious centers of Continental Europe. (One could easily count Spain at one time but Franco held that under the thumb for a very long time).

When religion began to decline in both nations they were ripe for Hitler and Mussolini and with Fascism changing Christianity into a sort of bastardization of official ceremonial state function, or wiping it out altogether and replacing it with neo-pagan Nazi state religious totems, Christianity began her modern death march in Europe.

Then Germany and Italy lost the Second World War but Germany never recovered her religious identity, (and I'm not sure she ever may entirely), I suspect because many people there associated with the idea that religion had done nothing to stop Nazism, and they were right. But Christianity was already impotent and on the decline in the continent by that time anyway. Italy recovered because of the Vatican and Catholicism but really hasn't been a major political, social, religious, or national power up until very recently, and then only weakly compared to the past.

When religion is weak in Germany and Italy it is weak throughout all of Western Europe. (When religion is weak in Russia it is primarily weak throughout Eastern Europe as well, Poland possibly excluded.) Britain is too much the non-continental and semi-isolated island outsider to really drive the continent in any way and France is a religious joke as well as a political and economic one. Italy may always be relatively religiously strong due to the Vatican, but Germany really determines the course of Western Europe, economically, politically, and religiously. Europe does not have a unified culture and never will and only religious sentiment and association can stand as a surrogate "Super-culture." Secularism cannot act as a Super-culture at all because by very definition secular prosperity is competitive and economically adversarial. Germany and France cannot secularly and economically prosper equally. Only religion acts as a superculture and always has in Europe, even amid internecine conflict. Though such conflicts also on the one hand served to remind Europe of the superculture (Christendom) while at the same time tearing apart that superculture with various regional, national, and ethnic versions of Christianity in violent competition. (Not that I'm against denominational competition, it's good for religion, but not to the extent that it helps breed religious and sectarian warfare. That's all been worked out in modern times, Christian religious groups and denominations do not war on each other, but then again they do not act cooperatively in Europe either. They are apathetic and languid to a high degree.)

Nevertheless if Germany corrects itself religiously then most of Western Europe will become that much more stable and much can be done to isolate and marginalize the danger, degeneration, and duplicity that is France. If not then Western Europe will follow France into another period of stagnation followed eventually by open warfare in Europe.

I found it interesting you mentioned the Third World Nigerian street preachers. About two years or so ago I read a very good book which had statistics on various types of Christianity apparent in different parts of the world. Surveys were taken in various regions of the world and the one major power/industrialized nation that scored the most in common with Third World Christians (as far as similarities of religious views) was the United States. The US also scored high in similarity of religious viewpoint with home churches in Asia and with Catholics in South and Central America. The nations we scored least as having anything in common with religiously were most Western European nations. Which only makes sense because America has never had much faith in secularism as a solitary pursuit, or a safe national or cultural pursuit, rather we mix secular and sacred pursuits freely, like the Byzantines did. (I have a personal theory that the US is Byzantium reborn and improved upon.) Also America has never really lost her affiliated affections and sentiments towards primitive or early Christianity and has even to this day maintained a "rural and primitive feel" in most things, culture and religion included, when compared to the over-civilized and over-intellectualized and passive and primarily effeminate cultures of Western Europe. I do not say effeminate as a mere insult, but as a true and correct observation. Europe is urbanized, passive, slow to change, retiring, narcissistic, pessimistic, effeminate, and timid. The US is primitive, frontier-like in outlook, dynamic, aggressive, optimistic, masculine, and unafraid. We have far more in common in psychological outlook and general worldview with many parts of the Third World than we do with Europe, with which we share basically only a common cultural background heritage. Europe is our ancestor, but in truth we are nothing like our parents. Thank God for that.

Anyway, if Germany and Italy return to the more primitive roots of their Christian heritage then the axis will shift again and Europe may tilt in our direction once more. If not then in my opinion we can look to fight a war there once again, maybe by the time of our grandchildren. I would like to be optimistic, and I am considering Pope John Paul and Benedict, and the Third World primitive Christian missionaries now invading Europe and even the US (and our major urban centers could use a few good missionaries, they have to far too large an extent become "Europeanized") but it may already be too late. Only a complete collapse of the Secular Only model may bring Europe to her senses again, and that will only follow a real catastrophe. But then again if the early Christians could bring Rome to her knees and remake the Roman world into Christendom, then maybe the modern primitives can also remake modern Europe into a kind of New Christendom. But only time will tell in my opinion. I think we're too far out to tell as of yet.

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