Western Europe, the cradle of the Judeo-Christian civilization, is now post-Christian. This lamentable state of affairs is signified by the decline of church attendance to single digits among the native population, as well as the loss of faith in the values and beliefs of Western civilization. All of which only renders West Europeans defenseless in the face of the surge of Muslim immigrants and their militant assertion of Shariah law. (See “A quiet threat: Religious freedom dwindling in Europe, US“)
America, while we’ve not yet sunken to West Europe’s morass, is quickly catching up.
In the six years of Obama’s presidency, Christians and Christian values increasingly are under assault. Churches, ministers, judges, and even privately-owned businesses are commanded to violate their conscience and religious beliefs by performing homosexual marriage and providing medical insurance coverage for
abortion the murder of tiny but innocent human beings. See:
- Senate Democrats’ bill will remove all restrictions on abortion – past, present & future
- Judges of conscience choose resignation over performing homosexual marriages
- Colorado baker would rather go to jail than give in to judge’s order to serve homosexuals
Spearheading the assault on Christians is the U.S. federal government itself.
Under Obamacare, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requires even religious institutions to provide contraceptives and abortifacients (drugs that induce abortion) to their employees.
The IRS not only targets conservative and Christian groups and individuals for special scrutiny, the agency struck a deal with atheists to monitor churches and sermons for violations of their tax-exempt status by venturing into “politics” in addressing the right to life and traditional marriage. See:
- Obama’s DOJ demands outspoken approval of homosexuality
- Obama’s IRS told to favor leftwing over conservative groups
- IRS lost Lois Lerner’s emails – How we know that’s a lie
- IRS Strikes Deal with Atheists to Monitor Churches and Sermons
- Army threatens chaplain’s assistant for criticizing homosexuality on her personal Facebook page
As Christianity increasingly is marginalized and attacked in America, we can take some comfort in the renascence of Christianity in Russia after its long night of communism.
In the 74-years life span of the Soviet Union, not only was the state officially atheist, Christianity and other religions were persecuted. But in just two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a vibrant renaissance of Orthodox Christianity in Russia.
Between 1991 and 2008, the share of Russian adults identifying as Orthodox Christian rose from 31% to 72%, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of three waves of data (1991, 1998 and 2008) from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) – a collaboration involving social scientists in about 50 countries. During the same period, atheists and agnostics (Russians who do not identify with any religion) dropped from 61% to 18%. The share of Russian adults identifying with other religions, including Islam, Protestant Christianity and Roman Catholicism, rose in the 1990s and then leveled off.
In a talk in Naples at the invitation of Crescenzio Cardinal Sepe, the Catholic Archbishop of Naples, on October 17, 2014, Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, 48, traces the beginning of an authentic “conversion of Russia” to the celebrations in 1988 of the 1,000th anniversary of the baptism of “the Rus” (the Russian people collectively). [Source: Abyssum]
“From that moment (the year 1988) on, there began an unprecedented in its scale revival of the Church throughout the expanse of the former Soviet Union. At the beginning of the 1990s the number of those wanting to be baptized was such that a typical priest in a typical city or village church could baptize in the course of one day hundreds of people. Everywhere churches were restored and opened.
Throughout the last 26 years in the Russian Church there have been restored from ruins or opened anew more than 26,000 churches: this means that we have opened and continue to open a thousand churches a year or three churches every day. There have been opened more than 800 monasteries, which have been filled with young monks and nuns.
In the large cities, Church secondary schools and church institutes of further education have appeared. Theological faculties have been opened in secular universities. The Church has assumed the direction of her activities which in the period of persecution were in effect banned: publications, social ministry and charity work.
And all of this has taken place in the very same era which in the West some call post-Christian.”
In contrast from the West, in Russia “In our time the Church and her sacred Tradition have become a revelation for our nation. A whole generation of people torn from the Church has again discovered faith.”
Hilarion believes that the key characteristic of the Christian Church is her freedom:
“We Christians believe that the gift of life is a gift from God, and that human life is not under the power of anyone other than the Maker of the human race.
This belief renders Christians free from the oppression of any political power and any ideology. It makes them capable of being martyrs and confessors when the Church is persecuted; and witnesses to the truth and heralds of the Kingdom of God when the Church is recognized. No other religion or ideology characterizes such a reverential attitude towards freedom.“
Hilarion presents the Christian faith as a support for the deepest aspirations of human freedom against oppressive state power. In contrast, he sees that oppressive state power at work in the West today, rooted in a false conception of freedom:
“In recent times, we have more often been able to observe how in the West another type of freedom has been proclaimed: freedom from moral principles, from common human values, from responsibility for one’s actions. We see how this freedom is destructive and aggressive. Instead of respect for the feelings of other people, it preaches an all-is-permitted attitude, ignoring the beliefs and values of the majority. Instead of a genuine affirmation of freedom it asserts the principle of unrestrained gratification of human passions and vices remote from moral orientation. The modern-day democratic state is even viewed by some as the role of guarantor of the legal status of immorality, for it protects citizens from the encroachments of ‘religious sanctimoniousness’.”
America and the West are entering a post-Christian era, but the rebirth of Christianity in Russia gives us hope.
As we go into our “long night,” we will stand fast with our loins girded in truth, hold faith as our shield, and fix our eyes on the Cross and the Light of Christ.