On this Good Friday, Christians are under attack in Africa. On this Passover, Jews are under assault in Europe. And on any day of the week anyone who catches the eye of the caliph's enforcers is getting his head sawed off in the Islamic State.
WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Shifts in the world's major religions will see Islam growing faster than any other faith, with the number of Muslims nearly equaling that of Christians by 2050.
A new Pew Research Center study finds that with the exception of Buddhists, the world's major religions will all see an increase in numbers by 2050, although some will make up a smaller percentage from today. Muslims are the only major religious group projected to increase faster than the world's population as a whole... If current trends continue, Muslims will outnumber Christians worldwide around 2070.
2070 sounds a long way away, but it's about the same time as the Beatles to now. 2050 is about the same time as, oh, Blondie and the Police to now. So what are the implications of this demographic shift?
Such a dramatic change raises questions about whether global conflicts between radical Muslim groups and Western nations with Christian majorities will become more inflamed in the decades ahead.
Really? I think Scaramouche has it right:
I predict there will be less conflict as infidels accept their all but inevitable dhimmitude.
Indeed. If you think Barack Obama and David Cameron and François Hollande's religion-of-peace shtick is pathetic now, give it another couple of decades and by comparison with their successors they'll sound like rock-ribbed defenders of Christendom.What "Western nations with Christian majorities"? Even under Pew's generous definition of "Christian", Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France, etc, will all be minority Christian. And, lest that thought cheer Richard Dawkins and other non-believers, it won't because of the supposedly inevitable triumph of atheism: According to the Pew survey, the percentage of humanity that is "religiously unaffiliated" will fall from 16.4 to 13.2. In the United States by 2050, Muslims will outnumber Jews.
In a democratic age, demography is destiny. The more Muslim the world's population gets, the more Muslim its cultural, political and social character will be - which, absent any countervailing pressures, will be bad news for Christians, Jews, women, gays, artists, scientists, economic innovators and people with a quaint attachment to free speech. Or to put it another way: In 2070 the front-page story isn't going to be about a bakery that won't make a gay wedding cake.
~How far advanced is civilizational ennui? I was touched by the emails I received yesterday from our comparatively modest number of East African readers about the latest savagery by al Shabaab - the mass murder at Garissa University. But Linda writes to point out that even in Kenya much of the commentary on social media is in denial about the reality of what happened:
Thanks so much for addressing the massacre that happened today. You are truly my big brother in the Commonwealth. I am so disheartened by most of my countrymen's comments concerning this. This is just one of many Facebook posts:
'The war going on is not religious but a result of humans desensitized by hate. KDF need to leave Somalia and we should embrace a fallen nation.'
Mark, these Islamic militants singled out Christians. They separated them out and killed as many as they could. This happened at Westgate Mall and this happened in Mombasa during the World Cup. Why is it we will not admit a fanatical religion is a war with us?
Because to do so would require too much of us. Marie Harf of the US State Department thinks that this is all a problem caused by lack of economic opportunity that can be solved with more investment, more jobs programs, etc. Modern civilization is deeply committed to the pre-eminence of homo economicus: Middle-class jobs and the comforts they bring are the solution to every problem. But the rise of Islamic imperialism teaches a cruel lesson - that culture trumps economics, always. The Kenyan targets - upscale malls, higher education, elite sporting events - underline the point: They tell the infidels that you can build the attributes of a successful, materially prosperous society, and we will destroy them. Because, to us, Islam trumps everything.
But, as I said, to acknowledge that would demand too much from us. It's easier to lose incrementally but unobtrusively - as those demographic numbers above suggest we're doing.
And yet tides ebb and flow. And on Good Friday of all days we should know that even at the darkest hour there is the possibility of resurrection, and new life. The future promised by that Pew study does not have to be, not if the civilized world recovers its will.