Friday, June 20, 2008
If Dad is Dead, Who Will Take His Place?
If dad is out of the family portrait, it won't be long before the entire family disappears too. At least that is what studies are showing. More than half of all male and female scientists surveyed are childless, and I'm sure they're hopeful that someone out there is mature enough to raise the next generation. But we must ask, who will take their place while they're busy at the lab?
For a society to maintain its existing population, it has to have a birthrate of 2.1 children per couple. The extra fraction (0.1) is to compensate for infant mortality. With the near complete elision of family values, particularly the traditional traditional role of an involved father, the birthrates in every Western European nation have plunged drastically. The Italian birthrate fell below 1.5 as early as 1984. By now, it has probably fell below the 1.28, which was the last figure given. Germany is at 1.3, and in communities where there are no immigrants it is often below 1.0, less than half replacement rate. Spain is also at 1.2 (figures taken from Phillip Jenkins, God's Continent, Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis). To the East, in Russia, it is 1.14. One would think that Vladimir Putin would have made headlines like a corduroy pillow several years back when he offered women more than a year's salary in Ruples for having a second child. Surprisingly, this hasn't had any affect at all. In Latvia, the number of people under the age of 18 has been cut by 29% in just fourteen years, shrinking the overall population by more than 500,000 during the same time.
Inese Slesere, member of the Latvian Parliament, gives us a well-thought diagnosis of what has caused Europe's empty cradle crisis. She has said that the precipitous drop in birthrates stems from a "radically individualistic philosophy" that diminishes "virtue, character, and respect for others" within society. The result is what she calls a "culture of rejection and death" where "divorce, abortions, cohabitation, single-parent households, and out-of-wedlock births", often unwelcome births are commonplace.
So what will be the result of the birth-dearth, or what Charles Colson calls the "Demographic Winter?" If you're an Environmentalist, you're probably thrilled by such figures. Less people to suck up all the world's precious resources; expendible people vs. precious resources.
But Europe, along with no civilization ever recorded in history has had the luxury of dying peacefully without the threat of greedy neighbors. There is such a culture, newly arrived in Europe, which is already licking its chops, greedily anticipating the inheritance that is theirs just as soon as the current inhabitants keel over & kick the bucket.
I'm sure you know where this discussion is going after seeing the crescent superimposed atop the Eifel Towel. That culture is Islam. Let's compare their growth stats side-by-side with their European neighbors; neighbors by the way, who are literally next door neighbors. The average birthrate in all of Europe hovers just above 1.3, but when the Muslim immigrant population is singled out and taken alone, they are reproducing at a rate of more than 5.0 in some regions.
National Review is already advertising a "Farewell Europe" cruise as early as 2010 to enjoy European culture before Europe is veiled to be refurbished as Eurabia. The researcher, Phillip Jenkins notes, "It is almost too easy to find convenient images of the decay of Christianity,and the growth of Islam. Any traveler in modern European cities has noticed the new mosquess, the abondoned and secularized churches, some transformed into museums. In the words of former film star Brigitte Bardot . . . 'From year to year, we see mosques sprout up pretty much everywhere in France, while church bells are becoming silent because of the lack of priests."
Men who are not Christian at all may not bemoan the death of Christianity in Europe, and increasingly in the United States, which as Francis Schaeffer once pointed out, is thirty-five years behind the trends of Europe as a general rule. But listen to what Bruce Bawer, by no means a Christian, says about this crisis, "When Christian faith had departed" from Europe "it had taken with it a sense of ultimate meaning and purpose and left the continent vulnerable to conquest by people with deeper faith and stronger convictions."
You can take away an unforgettable principle from Bawer's statement: That is that history has never been ruled by majorities (A good indication of this is that the latest polls in California show that the majority of the population is against gay marriage). History, as J. Rousas Rushdoony once quipped, "has never been ruled by majorities, but always by minorities who stand unconditionally on their faith."
This is so true in that Islam is still a minority in Europe and yet almost every social change that has been made in recent years has not been made in the direction of greater freedom, but in the direction of curtailing freedom to placate Islam. Muslim men are now able to receive multiple welfare payments for bringing multiple wives to Britain. 66,000 documented cases of clitorectomies were performed on Muslim girls last year alone. It is evident that Britian is making baby steps toward Sharia holy law, and it is only a matter of time before these babies born to multiple wives take to the helm of a once Christian nation.
When Jyllands-Posten Magazine in Denmark printed its cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, the Islamic world was not chastized for the 139 Danes who were innocently killed in the aftermath by angry mobs of Muslims. It was Europe that was chastized for being so intollerant and insensitive. A satirical cartoon, intollerant? Even after Andres Serano displayed his "Piss Christ", depicting a crucifix of Jesus submerged in a fish-bowl of his own urine, or after Chris Ofili displayed his portrait of the Virgin Mary, using the medium of cow dung (paid for by the American tax payers through the National Endowment for the Arts by the way), we never had to tally up the death-toll of those were killed as a result.
Moreover, for the EU to glibly nod in agreement with the Islamic world after 139 people were killed is mind boggling. In Europe we are realizing how docile and obedient we can become to anyone who would exact blood for payment; anyone who'se convictions are stronger, and who'se beliefs are more tightly held than our own.
What happens to our men when there is no meaning but self-meaning and self-gratification? What happens when men view women not as their God-given partners to raise a family with, but as nothing more than an object of lust? What happens when there is no part of your culture or beliefs worth preserving for future genterations? The unavoidable truth is that the future will be an empty void for those who do have beliefs worth preserving. When it comes to the question of who controls our future, it is as simple as "knock knock, who'se there?" With the most popular boy's name in almost every European metropolis being . . . you guessed it, "Muhammad", the only refuge the secular European mind has is the present. The future on the other hand, won't be so promising.
I know by now I am probably being shouted down by many as a dystopian naysaer. But I want to conclude on a happier note by asking how a Christian respond to what is taking place. The simple answer for the Christian is that God is in control of history. What we are seeing take place today with the disappearing of those who believe in freedom and the rapid increase of those who believe in intolerance is to be expected. After all, God promised us that this would happen.
You might be expecting me to wrench some biblical verse out of context to address current events as so many sensational preachers have done. Sorry, I'm not a prophet nor the son of a prophet! Instead, I want to give a principle that we are given in Scripture. Because the following verse is a principle it does not directly address current demographic dilemma I'm up in arms about. However, it is intended to give a general rule for what happens to any nation or civilization that rejects God. It is in Deuteronomy 28:43-51:
“The foreigners living among you will become stronger and stronger, while you become weaker and weaker. They will lend money to you, but you will not lend to them. They will be the head, and you will be the tail!If you refuse to listen to the Lord your God and to obey the commands and decrees he has given you, all these curses will pursue and overtake you until you are destroyed. These horrors will serve as a sign and warning among you and your descendants forever. If you do not serve the Lord your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received, you will serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you. You will be left hungry, thirsty, naked, and lacking in everything. The Lord will put an iron yoke on your neck, oppressing you harshly until he has destroyed you. The Lord will bring a distant nation against you from the end of the earth, and it will swoop down on you like a vulture. It is a nation whose language you do not understand, a fierce and heartless nation that shows no respect for the old and no pity for the young. Its armies will devour your livestock and crops, and you will be destroyed. They will leave you no grain, new wine, olive oil, calves, or lambs, and you will starve to death."
This principle was given as a curse to the Nation of Israel should they ever forget God and begin to bow down to idols. In spite of the warning, Israel did just that and on several occasions, this curse rang true. Notice that the way God chose to punish Israel would be causing the "foreigners" among them to increase while causing the indigenous peoples to decrease. Many other passages, such as Psalm 9:17, tell us that any nation that forgets God shall be turned into hell. So we cannot apply this to Israel alone. These warnings should serve as a principle for our own culture which has increasingly become more and more secularized and more and more embarrassed if ever described as "Christian."
These warnings, however, can offer hope to believers, that if we are true worshippers of Jesus Christ, and are unmoved and stedfast in our convictions, God may very well bless our seed and heal our land (II Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 72:4-8).
I know I have only stated the problem so far. But if you aren't roused to see the problem, it is unlikely you'll ever be motivated to find a solution. I want to show that a Christian, and more particularly, Christian fathers, have a responsibility to care about where our world is headed.
Have you ever heard som self-absorbed Christians say something to the effect of, "The world is going to Hell, but thank God I won't be around when it gets there?" The more sanctimonious ones will say something like, "Jesus is coming soon; I'm gettin' outa' here," as if saying that the world can be left to wallow in its own sin and degradation without me.
This apathetic attitude is totally foreign to the biblical worldview and it is a reproach to a people that were commanded by Christ to be a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. I will even go so far as to say that if you don't care where the world will be headed once your corpse becomes worm-food, you are not a Christian in the biblical sense of the word. In fact, your heart-felt concern, which doesn't extend very far beyond your immediate family, is the very antithesis of what those in Antioch had in mind when they coined the term "Christian." But you'll have to give me till next week
to prove my point.