Originally published in The Gospel Herald
While state leaders and ordinary citizens scramble and struggle to know how to keep Europe safe from radical Islamists threatening it, a retired Anglican bishop believes he has the answer. As many start to claim that promoting secular values is the key to avoid another occurence of the deadly Paris attacks, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali says only Christianity can save Europe.
Originally from Pakistan, Bishop Nazir-Ali penned a long piece for the Catholic Herald as to why only Christianity can save Europe from the radical Islamics wrecking havoc around. According to him, several factors lead to the conclusion that the secular states of Europe are similar to the fractured Roman Empire of the fifth century, when it was stormed and attacked by barbarians.
For the bishop, historians who blamed Christianity for the fall of Rome because secularism was challenged, could not be more in the wrong. Nazir-Ali claimed that secularism cannot be the unifying force at the time for Rome because it was never secular. Rather, it had “religions of the family, tribe, city or empire.” Moreover, these systems adhere to varying ideas and values.
More importantly, the bishop claimed that invasions from barbarians were actually taking place at a time where Christianity was starting to solidify and unify the empire around common ideals on life and faith. It could therefore be said that it was Christianity, and not secularism, that rescued western civilization in the Dark Ages.
“It is quite astonishing that some, instead of seeing Christianity as part of the answer to Europe’s predicament, are taking this opportunity to smear all religion by association, whatever the facts of history,” Nazir-Ali writes. Moreover, he asserted that as radical as the extremists may be, it is observable that they are fully committed to their ideology and religion. Their values and world perceptions are all mainly shaped by their religion. The problem is that Europe may not have a counterpart. “It is quite astonishing that some, instead of seeing Christianity as part of the answer to Europe’s predicament, are taking this opportunity to smear all religion by association, whatever the facts of history,” Nazir-Ali asks.
Nazir-Ali, is the first non-white bishop of the Church of England in Britain. When he retired, he dedicated his efforts to help persecuted Christians around the world, particularly Muslims who left Islam for Christianity. He is currently the head of the Oxford Center for Training, Research, Advocacy, and Dialogue.
In related news, Washington Post reported that American evangelical leaders are uncertain of what can be the best response to Paris attacks, choosing between staging a war against terrorism and militant Islamic ideology or Christian reconciliation.