Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Secularism is Doomed to Die Out: Conservative Will Inherit the Earth

Ed West has an intriguing story in the Daily Telegraph about yet another reason why the secularization thesis, so popular in sociology and political science a couple of decades ago, is wrong. He claims that the future belongs to religious conservatives of all religions and that atheism and secularism will die out because atheism and secularism do not provide sufficient reasons for people to procreate. He says:

"The 1960s counterculture slogan “make love, not war” could have been invented for the Hutterites, a conservative, pacifist Anabaptist community in the US and Canada. Numbering 400 at the end of the 19th century, when they moved to Dakota on the point of extinction, there are almost 50,000 Hutterites today, despite conversion being extremely rare (they speak an archaic form of High German and live in the middle of nowhere, which makes it unlikely they’ll turn up at your doorstep with a funny grin).

They are not alone. The Mormons continue to grow by 40 per cent every decade, largely thanks to a high birth rate, so much so that by 2080 there will be anywhere between 63 and 267 million Mormons, depending on whether that figure falls to 30 per cent or 50 per cent.

And Evangelical Christians now account for two thirds of white American Protestants, while the ultra-Orthodox account for 17 per cent of British Jewry, but 75 per cent of children.

Across the western world the fertility rate of religious conservatives far outstrips that of non-believers, so much so that modern liberal secularism is endangered. That, anyway, is the thesis of Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?, a fascinating new book by Eric Kaufmann of Birkbeck University, which is published later this month. It may well be one of the most significant books of our era."

Read the rest here.

The take away point here is not Evangelical Christian triumphalism. In fact, Mormans and Muslims may grow faster than Evangelicals during the next century. The point is that we need to know who our true rivals are - and the serious threat to Christianity is not secularism except insofar as we allow ourselves to become accommodated to secular ways of thinking and living.

There is no compelling reason to imitate the Darwinian, materialistic, secular atheists. They are doomed to a long slow decline into cultural isolation and irrelevance. We don't have to convert them (although it would be great if we do), we just need to avoid being converted to their pessimistic, hedonistic, individualistic, anti-family lifestyle. That is the main task and the better we do at that task the more feasible and successful our evangelistic efforts will become.

The main task of the Church is first to be a sufficiently counter-cultural community that converts have a place to go where they can be trained in a new, specifically Christian way of life.

We should not be surprised that atheism leads to the culture of death and eventually to extinction. Even if some sort of evolution turns out to be true, it may well be that Darwinists like Richard Dawkins will die out because they fail to meet basic evolutionary criteria for survival. As one website puts it in its slogan: "Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive."

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