Is more secularism the answer to Islamic terror? Certainly not, a retired Anglican bishop who works on behalf of the persecuted church says. The only force he says is capable of unifying Europe and preserving western civilization is Christianity.
This was first published a year ago, but it’s just as true now as it was then.
“The truth of the matter is that Europe needs to recover its grand narrative by which to live, by which to determine what is true, good and beneficial for its people. The nostrums of Marxism and Fascism have brought frightful suffering for its people. Now another totalitarian ideology threatens. A truly plural space can only be guaranteed by intrinsically Christian ideas of the dignity of the human person, respect for conscience, equality of persons and freedom not only to believe but to manifest our beliefs in the public space, without discrimination against or violence to those who do not share them,” Nazir-Ali writes.
“Instant self-gratification and endless entertainment will no more contribute to contemporary European survival than they did to ancient Roman. What is needed is an ethic of service, selflessness and sacrifice for the sake of the common good. Many will recognise this as the teaching of the Galilean Master, not of any paganism, ancient or modern, nor of any ideology, secular or religious.”
“There is no such thing as neutrality or value-free process in these matters. The extremists have decided what their values are and from where they come. Have we anything to counter with? The institutions, culture, achievements and values of Europe can most readily be understood with reference to the Judaeo-Christian tradition, its teaching on the value of the person, the common good and, most crucially, the necessity of self-criticism and renewal. This is the time to re-appropriate it, in its broadest sense, as the wellspring of our values, to celebrate it and to offer it to all of goodwill as a basis for working together for an open but cohesive Europe.”
Nazir-Ali, the first non-white bishop of the Church of England in Britain, retired from his role as bishop of Rochester to work on behalf of persecuted Christians worldwide, and specifically for Muslims who left Islam to become Christians. He now heads the Oxford Center for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue.