It’s symbolic — and ironic — that in Europe following terrorist attacks, the unofficial anthem of choice is that ode to atheism, John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
After the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, a pianist attracted the attention of millions via the mainstream press and social media when he played "Imagine" outside one of the places of carnage, The Bataclan. Last February in the aftermath of killings in Copenhagen by a radical Muslim, tens of thousands of Danes sang "Imagine" at memorials across the country.
“Imagine there's no heaven . . . No hell below us . . . And no religion too,” go the lyrics.
It’s symbolic because religionless is what Europe has become, particularly Northern Europe. Churches in France are closing for lack of worshipers. Only about 5-10 percent of the French go to church regularly. That percentage is even less in Denmark.
So the ethnic French (as opposed to ethnic Arabs in France) largely have attained one of the sentiments longed for in the song: no religion. They have abandoned the Christian faith.
Are they better off without Christianity? The tragic event of last weekend suggests they are not.
French society still retains some Christian values. They include a love of peace, justice, and civility, and helping the poor and downtrodden. The latter manifests itself in the form of generous foreign aid programs, and taking in refugees afflicted by war and poverty.
It is one thing for a country to open one’s doors to a certain number of the poor and downtrodden. It is quite another thing to open one’s doors to whole nations of poor and downtrodden from radically different cultures. That is what France and other developed countries including the United States have been doing. (And it’s not just motivated by compassion, but also by a desire to import future liberal-left voters.)
Taking in what amounts to whole nations of peoples fundamentally transforms the identity and culture of the host nation. After decades of migration from the Middle East and North Africa, many aspects of French society are being upended, such as a rise in economic inequality. But worst is the importation of the culture of violence. It should not surprise anyone that terrorist attacks that always have been so common in the Middle East are now taking place in Europe.
Had the French remained devout Christians, it is doubtful they ever would have taken in such huge numbers of Muslims. They would have recognized the threat it would have posed to their Christian identity, to their freedom of worship, and to their security.
Their leaders would have been more in the mold of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who keenly recognizes the problem of outsized Muslim immigration into traditionally Christian nations.
Europeans have taken to heart another piece of bad advice contained in John Lennon’s song: “Imagine there's (sic) no countries.” The open-borders policy reflects that. And it’s devouring them.
Imagine also makes a nod to communism with the “Imagine no possessions” line. At least the French haven’t gone that far — yet.
But getting back to imagining no religion, the abandonment of Christianity in France invites another great danger: less protection from God.
All you atheists, agnostics, and Christians who don’t take your religion too seriously may laugh off what you just read. I would have, back when I was in your camp. But a couple of years and a lot of investigation later, I’ve become convinced that all those things that we associate with religion are actually true: God, the spiritual world, the divinity of Christ, the authenticity of the gospels, heaven and hell, angels, and fallen angels. Evidence of that will be presented in future articles. But for now, suffice it to say that fallen angels do exist. (The Drudge Report posts stories on that topic practically every few days — and many of them are credible.)
The earth truly is the devil’s playground. His greatest triumph is convincing the world that he doesn’t exist.
According to theologians, God protects us from the evil one all the time. Without such protection, the whole of the earth would degenerate into one big slaughterhouse. When nations turn further away from God, his protective hand eases up.
That’s what’s happening in France. Last weekend we saw one of the consequences. As America turns further away from God, we too tread on more dangerous territory.
It behooves those in France, America, and other Western nations to return to their Christian roots. Otherwise, expect more tragedies such as what happened in Paris.
Patrick D. Chisholm is a writer and editor whose articles have appeared in many publications including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Baltimore Sun, San Francisco Chronicle, National Review, and Christian Science Monitor. Previously he worked for financial and business publications, and in the State Department's Office of Mexican Affairs. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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