Flew back to Spain a few days ago and with a few hours to spare in the airport I went for a quick peruse through the book store. I saw this book ‘The Strange Death of Europe’ which caught my eye, but quickly moved on. At the other side of the shop I had this strong impression – go back and buy that book. So I picked it up and bought it. If I had skimmed through it I probably would not have done so, it is not exactly on my page!! Glad though I have read it, and if one follows the trajectory laid out, the destination does seem to be ‘the death of Europe’. Of course, I am of a different persuasion (and biased) that Europe is being privileged and carrying a responsibility to open a whole new path regarding the kingdom of God. I with faith / optimism / delusion hold to the rebirth of not simply Europe but of the globe with the seeds sown from the first Century truly coming to fruit… a ‘reformation’ (not sure that is the right word) beyond that of the 16th Century. Also given that reading is a challenge for me, let me get in to it!
Why will Europe die? Murray draws the three strands together that are in the sub-title: immigration, identity and Islam. We cannot afford to allow immigration as is happening to continue, for the identity of ‘who / what is Europe?’ will be radically altered. Europe will no longer be Europe, compounded by the incredible increase of Islam eroding the shaping foundation of the Judaeo-Christian values and faith will further mean that no longer will Europe be connected to its roots and in an embrace / appeasement of Islam Europe as Europe will simply no longer exist. This death of Europe has started and the final outcome is in sight. Facts, figures and stories abound in the book, and I suggest if we project from here to the not-too-distant future his thesis is indeed compelling.
I could argue of course that what we have is a far-right perspective and so say ‘typical’ (OK maybe I cut the post short now and simply say that!), but what really provoked me was what might a faith response look like? Murray is a ‘Christian’ atheist, one who does not believe in God but in the core values of the Judeo-Christian tradition (as he sees them), hence the projection from the past is important, and the only framework he has. Across the pond the same appeal seems to be being made, hence the trajectory there can be seen in what takes place here. Re-birth becomes possible if faith is involved, otherwise we should simply begin to write the obituaries now, and write them without hope. We could slow the death, and really make re-birth difficult with (my opinion) the ‘between the lines’ appeal by Murray. Stop the immigration, restore sovereignty to the nation-state, legislate from the centre…
He is no fan of any form of identificional repentance, nor sees the validity of Imperial seed sown and the reaping of that later. Confessing guilt for the past, for colonisation, trampling over cultures has no place and only adds guilt and the accommodation of foreign cultures and values. He does not accept that what has been sown is coming back to be reaped. And of course on Christendom, this is where he as a ‘Christian’ atheist and myself part company. This is not to suggest that society has no benefits from that era of dominance, much like the fall involved in the monarchial institution in Israel was not without its benefits, but those benefits being due to God being willing to go where we go, and certainly not due to God’s approval of either monarchy nor Christendom.
But a vision?
If anyone is in Christ… sight changes. I understand that when one looks at where we are, and draws the graphs forward there is little of good cheer involved. But what if we were to be crazy. What if we thought there was ‘new creation’? What if we did not despair, but any looking to the past drew great hope from the context that the small Jewish sect (followers of the way) that grew up in an obscure Roman province, and who carried a message that was offensive to their own people (crucified Messiah) and foolish to the wider audience (one crucified of countless thousands) that was not simply being branded about in evangelistic settings (raise your hand) or in revival settings (I will put my hand on you), but in the darkest, occultic, multi-faith, politically oppressive scenarios… Hope and then… a huge big ‘forget that, for I do a new thing’. Hope from the past but not shaped from the past. WOW.
Immigration. Always a sign of new stewardship coming. Multi-faith – I don’t like that – but do we have to learn about true faith. If we start with faith defined in a box it will be very difficult to find faith. This is the biggest days of opportunity, amidst chaos, and the ‘dust of death’ to see something birthed that will be incredible. Maybe ‘The Sure start of something to get on board with in Europe’ might be a good title (yes I know a little too long, but we can work on it).
The book is sobering, but it is not the content of the book that is depressing. It is for me how much we as the body of Christ just long for a return to where things were. That might be understandable for a ‘Christian atheist’. The challenge for us as believers is whether the ‘god’ we have believed in, the ‘god’ we have commanded the Scriptures to confirm, is truly the God who makes all things new or not. Maybe not ‘atheism’, but…