The intransigent stupidity of the Right never fails to amaze me. Normally I dont read pundits like Rod Dreher but these were linked on seriously slow-witted Shadi Hamid‘s TL. Consider these two articles from “The American Conservative”: The Douthat Scenario is Coming True and Islam is the Last Badass Religion. Both articles comprise a sort of protracted moan about the decline of christianity in the US. Unsure what Dreher is recommending– possibly Christianity as a state religion? But wouldnt that be anti-constitutional?
Anyways, I can enlighten these simpletons about cause with science (see Pascal Boyer: Religion Explained and Scott Atran: In Gods We Trust). Although it seems Hamid should know this (since he claims to be muslim) the core difference between Islam and modern christianity is the method of salvation. Indeed Hamid even discusses this in his sillie book, but only in the context of the separation of church and state. The thing about salvation by faith alone is there is no penalty for defection. Once upon a time (before the born-agains, protestants and evangelicals) Catholicism was “badass”. Because the penalty was excommunication. But now– theres no penalty– murderers and rapists on death row can be born again with Jesus and go right straight to heaven. Secular atheists dont believe in heaven so its even easier for them. And then there is the “no religious affiliation” cohort.
Peter Beinart– Over the past decade, pollsters charted something remarkable: Americans—long known for their piety—were fleeing organized religion in increasing numbers. The vast majority still believed in God. But the share that rejected any religious affiliation was growing fast, rising from 6 percent in 1992 to 22 percent in 2014. Among Millennials, the figure was 35 percent.
Islam requires both works and faith, something christianity jettisoned a while back. And being a martyr is definitely a major work. Heres Dreher, still not getting it:
That’s something I respect about Muslims in general: they take their faith a lot more seriously than we Christians do. The only forms of Christianity that are going to survive the dissolution now upon us are going to be those that are serious about the faith, and incorporate it into disciplined ways of living. What would it mean for Christianity to be “badass”? Not violent, or intimidating, or cruel, but serious and countercultural. This is one reason that Orthodox Christianity is so attractive to men. It sets serious challenges in front of you — fasting, prayer, and so forth — and expects you to rise to the challenge. It’s not rigidly dogmatic and moralistic, certainly, but it’s not sentimental either. It sees the Christian life as a pilgrimage toward God in which we die to ourselves every day. That’s not Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. That is the faith.
Good luck reinstating salvation by works into fat lazy xenophobic American christians. Because that is what it will take. The other problem is demographics, which political “scientists” like Shadi Hamid never talk about. Although there is rough global numerical parity between christians and muslims, the distribution is vastly different, as is the TRF (total reproductive frequency). Muslim populations are more concentrated, younger, and make a good case for religion emphasizing muslim over race, while it is very apparent that white christians are not the same as black christians, or south american christians the same as african christians. In christianity race mostly trumps religion. And Islam is growing by attracting new adherents while christianity is losing reps to “unaffiliated”.
And finally here is a new paper “The Evolution of Extreme Co-operation via Shared Dysphoric Experiences”. Certainly right now MENA is one big war zone full of many dysphoric experiences for sunni muslims.
One type of extreme co-operation is obviously martyrdom.
So unless Dreher has an idea for giving the Benedict Option some teeth (listening to an atheist and a maftoon dissing Islam isnt going to cut it) christianity will continue to decline vis a vis Islam.
tant pis, but that’s how evolution of religion works.