Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Recycling a bit of good news . . .

In the blogosphere, recycling is the way it often works. At home I recycle all my glass, paper, plastic, and cans. Since I am not a professional blogger, I tend to recycle items from the blogosphere or internet that I happen upon or that drop into the inbox of my aggregator. Here's one that  bounced off three or four rails to get here:

Bruce Kesler of Maggie's Farm passes along a good summary of Richard Fernandez' excellent Pajamas Media piece on Philip Jenkins article "Third World War," dealing with the appeal of Christianity in the Islamic world and elsewhere. As I have said many times, if the playing field were level -- that is, if Muslims could convert to Christianity without being condemned to death by the former co-religionists -- a flood of conversions would ensue. Fernandez confirms this. Here's Kesler's quick summary.

First, Fernandez’ introduction:
In a process largely unnoticed in the West, billions of people in Asia and Africa have swapped out their indigenous faiths for either Christianity or Islam. And to an even greater astonishment of Western intellectuals most have chosen Christianity. Now the equalization of numbers has caused a fault line to appear through the Third World at about the tenth degree of latitude where the two aggregations face each other “at daggers drawn”.
The word “Christian”, associated in the 19th and 20th centuries with the missionary enterprises of Europe, has now come to mean something different in political terms. Today Christianity is a religion of the Third World. Europeans have largely converted to some soft and watered-down variation of  the West’s only indigenous creed, Marxism, as represented by John Lennon’s “Imagine” song. Christianity can no longer be associated largely with the West.
Now, Jenkins:
Christianity, which a century ago was overwhelmingly the religion of Europe and the Americas, has undertaken a historic advance into Africa and Asia. In 1900, Africa had just 10 million Christians, representing around 10 percent of the continental population. By 2000, that figure had swollen to over 360 million, or 46 percent of the population. Over the course of the 20th century, millions of Africans transferred their allegiance from traditional primal faiths to one of the two great world religions, Christianity or Islam—but they demonstrated an overwhelming preference for the former. Around 40 percent of Africa’s population became Christian, compared to just 10 percent who chose Islam.
The subtitle of Jenkins’ article is “The real showdown between Christians and Muslims isn’t in the Mideast.”  In this article, Jenkins doesn’t get around to one reason why: Christians have been driven out of most of the Middle East, and those who remain live in constant danger.  There are only between 10-12 million native Christians remaining, down from 20% of the population a century ago to 5% now. Last August, Kuwaiti commentator Ahmad Al-Sarraf wrote in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Quabas:
What sustained this stream of enforced emigration [of Christians from the Middle East] is the innumerable incidents of injustice to which local Christian minorities have been constantly subjected, and which in many areas have become routine. Thus, heads of [Christian] communities have been murdered; [Christian] places of worship have been set on fire; [Christian-owned] shops have been plundered; the Christians have been marginalized in their [host] societies, and their lives have been embittered - and this is only a partial list.
HT: After all those bounces, this story came my way thanks to my friend Athos at Chronicles of Atlantis 

Feel free to send it on its way to others.

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