There are some interesting discussions going on about the development of faith in Europe. Grace Davie has pioneered research in this area and written books on the subject. She comments on the current discussion hosted by the Guardian.
Grace gives an overview there, but her comment that the church has an important role to play, but does not have control, seems central to me.
I write this because I have been pointed to a video on YouTube which draws attention to the changing demographics in Europe. It contends that Europe will be Muslim in a few years because of changes in birth rates. Clearly Europe, and Britain, are becoming increasingly multi-racial. According to the videobirth rates among “native Europeans” have dropped below a critical level which guarantees their extinction as a majority culture. It then predicts that Europe will become predominantly Muslim, as distinct from Christian and from the current trend towards secularism. This prediction seems fraught with hazardous assumptions, such as: immigrant communities will continue to have “higher birthrates,” and that they will want to overthrow the culture that they are surrounded by rather than value it or develop it.
The video finishes with a “call to action” for Christians, but it seems intended to scare and to evoke a racist response in order to protect (“Christian”) “civilisation as we know it.” For this reason I do not find the seven minute video easy to watch, but here's the link to it.
What do I think, from a Christian viewpoint?
Firstly, it's no good being protectionist about our Christian culture, we need to do better. It has a lot of holes in it, as is shown at present by the scandal over the expenses of some Members of Parliament. The good news is that the public does care about such abuses, and has a sense of ideal morality to which it aspires.
Secondly, it is clear that our culture is changing and not static, we need to have an idea of the way that we would like our culture to develop, and live in a way that will bring it about. We need to be intentional about our own way of life and the development of society, not just “let it happen.” As Gandhi put it, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”
Thirdly, the Bible does not set out a vision for a homogeneous Christian culture. On the contrary, it describes Christianity being lived out in different ways as it continues to spread through different cultures. It took courage and wisdom on the part of early church leaders to allow this. Healthy church growth has worked for its culture, and needs to be culturally and racially diverse.
So, finally, let's build a Godly society in which the teachings of Jesus are alive, expect it to be culturally (and racially) diverse and to benefit from those varied expressions, and don't expect to control the way it happens!