A new religious movement is sweeping across Europe. Can the traditional “Christian” world absorb this into the fabric of Western society, or will this movement swallow the traditions of the West? What does the future hold for these two religious cultures?
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Some observers are saying that Europe is becoming a post-Christian society with an ever-diminishing understanding of its historical Christian values. Many are calling this the “hallowing out” of traditional Christianity.
In her new book, The Force of Reason, famed Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci claims that Christianity’s ancient stronghold on the European continent is rapidly giving way to the ambitious and assertive religion of Islam.
Analysts estimate that in Britain, for example, Islamic mosques host more worshippers each week than the Church of England! Filling the void of traditional Christianity is a robust, energetic and youthful movement afoot in Europe. If this continues at the present rate, cathedrals will appear as vestiges of a civilization of times past. The great national cultures of Italians, French, Germans and others may be replaced by a new transnational Muslim identity.
This is not a new 21st century prediction, but one that was actually brought out in 1968 by the British politician Enoch Powell. That year, he gave his famous speech, “Rivers of Blood,” in which he warned that by allowing excess immigration, the United Kingdom was “heaping up its own funeral pyre,” bringing major religious/cultural changes. His message damaged what, at that time, was a promising career.
Recently, an Israeli foreign ministry report stated that Islam is now the second largest religion in Europe. According to this report, most EU nations perceive the presence of radical Muslims as a threat to state security and the fabric of life. The Muslim population in Europe is growing rapidly and may now be approaching 15 million. The report states, “According to the demographic data, the number of Moslems will continue to steadily rise due to a high birth rate and the continued mass immigrations. This means that such a rise could be the increased influence Moslems have on the shape of Europe in the future.”
How does Islam, the fastest growing religion in the western world, conflict with the goals of the new mighty European Superstate? To understand this, we must briefly examine the past.
For centuries, Europe has had a commonality that united all of the peoples speaking different languages. That common element was their Christian heritage. This common religious heritage has an interesting past that cannot be denied.
History has proven that the powers that have sought control of the European continent in the past have had a standoff with the religion of Islam for the greatest influence of the European continent and the Holy land. The major Christian influence of Europe during times past has always proven to come from the smallest country on the continent—the Vatican.
From the time of Justinian in A.D. 554, the Roman Empire became known as the “Holy Roman Empire.” Historians almost universally acknowledge that the Pope’s crowning of Justinian, after he defeated the Ostrogoths, signaled this change. Events in Europe, surrounding the Holy Roman Empire, rose and fell for many centuries. Periodically, new rulers appeared—Charlemagne (A.D. 800), Otto the Great, (A.D. 962), Charles V (1520), which in turn was followed by Napoleon’s reign (1805).
During these years, the Vatican’s influence was the glue that held together the Holy Roman Empire. The Popes held ultimate power and gave their blessing to the secular leaders to carry out their agendas.
This unity was forced on its peoples most of the time, with the secret police and state military extinguishing hundreds of thousands of non-compromising Muslims (as well as Jews and Protestants for that matter) during the Crusades. This powerful influence was responsible for the slaughtering of vast numbers during the Inquisition. And through the centuries, this influence continued to force millions, on the pain of death, to convert to Catholicism.
Islamists took control of the Holy Land in AD 632. For a time, Christian leaders were allowed to retain the positions of power they had in Jerusalem, and some were even given titles by the Islamic rulers. For example, Charlemagne was given the title “protector of the Christians in Jerusalem” by the Muslim leader Harun al-rashid.
However, Christendom did not tolerate Islam’s rule of the Holy Land for long. During the Middle Ages the Catholic Church made repeated attempts to reclaim Jerusalem—known as the Crusades. The pope’s call for all Christians to expel Islam from the Holy Land brought Europe more firmly under the power of the Vatican and deepened the roots of Christianity in the continent. It also sowed the seeds of religious tensions that remain between Christianity and Islam to this day.
This past historical accuracy is an essential element in understanding the future of the continent of Europe.
Because of this past, Europe has been branded as having historic “Christian roots.” The modern leaders of the new Europe are depending on these historical Christian roots to be the last piece of the puzzle in turning Europe into the superstate of global supremacy. Why? Because this great religious influence has been the foundation of the modern western culture and stands alone with its arms stretched across the world’s dominant economic system!
In 2004, the European Union finds herself on the fast track to becoming a super giant in the political and economic arena. European leaders have long sought the dream of a United States of Europe—a return to the past glory of the Holy Roman Empire, and a rival to the giant of the past century, the United States of America.
Europe is already an economic giant ready to dwarf the United States. They are even standing up against the U.S. on the world stage, in the arena of world politics. Witness the way they snubbed their nose at the U.S. in regard to the war in Iraq. Standing up to the great twentieth century superpower has caused the world to recognize that the EU is a new power to be reckoned with.
The European Union has also made it very clear that they are seeking to become independent of the U.S. in military defense and to make decisions regarding their own security issues.
One major concern against cultural change by the powerbrokers at the top of the pyramid of the coming European superstate is two-fold. First, very simply, if Islamic influence were to continue to spread throughout Europe, that would impede the plan for unification. Peoples across the continent would be further divided, not only by language, but now by religion. The European political landscape would change drastically. New goals and concerns for the continent would certainly follow. Not only that, but the “glue” (the historic Catholic element) that would bind together all of the differing languages and nations would be drastically less influential.
But the second aspect of this concern is even more far-reaching, pertaining to Europe’s religious and cultural traditions. Islam hates the religious practices associated with “Christianity,” which it views as a religion of “infidels.” This great European system is poised to attain world dominance. The powers of many Islamic nations know this and feel very threatened by this fact. Islamic extremists see the possible inclusion of countries such as Turkey in the EU as a means of spreading Christianity into predominantly Muslim nations. These extremist factions have responded to this threat by perpetrating acts of terror on European soil. This trend could be the factor that ultimately binds the nations of Europe into a strong, unified force on the world scene.
The press office of the Spanish Episcopal Conference recently released Pope John Paul II’s decalogue for the construction of the new superstate. According to the Zenit News Agency, some of the points the Pope brought out were “reminders” that Europe’s history and present state have been shaped by Christianity. He stated boldly that Christianity is the religion of all Europeans! The Pope made it very clear that the Christian roots of the European continent are the principal guarantee of its future, and has asked that these “roots” be acknowledged in the new European Constitution. He went on to declare, “To ignore, forget, or conceal Europe’s Christian heritage is an injustice, an offense…This is why, in the future, the European Constitution reference must be made to the Religious heritage, particularly the Christian, and its rights must be respected and recognized.”
For over 20 years now, the Pope has worked tirelessly to bring the nations of Europe together by way of their “Christian heritage.” The Pope and leaders of the European Commission realize that if Islam continues at the speed of growth at which it is moving, it will become the new majority, thus reshaping the European political landscape. Many European officials are stating publicly that the continent could be predominantly Muslim within decades.
For many centuries, the Muslims who were among Europe’s Christians posed a threat to their religious and cultural identity. Likewise, for Muslims, Christianity poses a threat to their religious and cultural civilization. Each side considers the other a rival in the evangelization of the world! No two religions have made such universal claims to the allegiance of mankind as have been made by both Islam and Christianity, each considering the other as “infidels.”
Hatred is now on the rise once again between these two cultures.
In her article “Anti-Semitism: The Old Hatred Returns,” associate editor Pamela Bone states that “according to a European Union report, most of the anti-Semitism in France—the burning of Jewish schools, defacing of graves and attacks on individuals—is coming from young Muslim immigrants, and anti-Muslim feeling is not coming from France’s Jewish community, which is old and established and has better things to do than deface mosques.
“In the Arab world, hatred of Jews pours out on television, newspapers and mosques: Israel is to blame for every wrong that besets Arab countries; the Holocaust is either a lie or didn’t go far enough; the ancient Christian ‘blood libel’, that Jews kill children and use their blood to make Passover bread, is repeated in mainstream newspapers. It is common wisdom that Jews were behind the September 11 attacks, and that Jews persuaded the Americans to invade Iraq” (The Age).
The New York Times stated, “The call to Jihad is rising in the streets of Europe…Intelligence chiefs across Europe say they are struggling to contain the openly seditious speech of Islamic extremists, some of whom, they say, have been inciting young men to suicidal violence since the 1990’s” (April 26, 2004, “Militants call for Jihad”).
Because of the increasing Islamic influence sweeping across Europe, many Catholics are standing up to promote a spiritual “revival.” Recently, in a powerful speech, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spoke of a severe decline in European culture. The task before Christians, he said, is to work for a revival of Europe’s true Christian culture, “so that Europe regains the best of her identity, and puts herself in the service of all mankind” (Lifesite Daily News, May 14, 2004).
Osama Bin Laden recently wrote an open letter to the West, in which he demanded all of Christianity to convert to Islam. If not, they will be forced to turn through Jihad (holy war)! How long before the Pope and the Catholic Church galvanize religion with a united European superstate in defense of their traditional cultural heritage?
Soon, there will be a call for a “strong man” to take the lead on the European continent. This strong man will supposedly have the answers to the problems of terrorism, war, and political and religious unrest. He will also bring together the peoples and nations that have always been separated by language and culture. Indeed, this man will not have to conquer the continent with force as was the case in the past. This man will have the nations come to him for leadership—an empire looking for an Emperor! The nations will give their power and strength to him, and will operate as one (Rev. 17:12-13).
Bible prophecy shows there is yet to come a final end-time restoration of the Holy Roman Empire! It will ultimately be composed of 10 nations (vs. 12). This resurrected Holy Roman Empire will be able to stand up and conquer the United States, Britain, and international terrorism! It will be considered by millions to be savior and God’s answer to the world’s twenty-first century problems!
The coming configuration in Europe, according to Bible prophecy, will be a church-and-state combine. Its goal will be to completely dominate the globe. It will go on to enormously influence the world, through false miracles and religion (Rev. 13:13-14)! This power will claim victory over all other religions and cultures.
So will Europe be conquered by Islam? The answer is…NO. But neither will Rome’s brand of Christianity dominate the world. Why? Because there is a supernatural force that will intervene!
The great military powers of this world will ultimately be preparing to clash for complete world domination—until they will suddenly be confronted by what they conceive to be “a common enemy”—the returning Jesus Christ! Christ will return and, from Jerusalem, proclaim His dominion over the world! “And the nations were angry…” declares Revelation 11:18. The world will not want to submit to God’s rule! Instead, they will seek to destroy Jesus Christ—whom they will regard, falsely, as the antichrist. Instead of fighting each other, the kings of the earth will put aside their differences to “make war with the Lamb” (Rev. 17:14). Christ will bring judgment on this system of religious/economic deception.
This massive power that Christ will war against and conquer is called “BABYLON THE GREAT” (vs. 5). “Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is your judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buys their merchandise any more: the merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls…The merchants of these things which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing…For in one hour, so great riches is come to nought” (Rev. 18:10-12, 15, 17).
Neither the Christianity of Europe nor the Islamic religions will dominate the world. Since the beginning, man has snubbed his nose toward God’s ways and His government. Because of this attitude, God has allowed mankind to learn that it cannot govern itself without ending up in confusion, war and destruction. But ultimately, man’s past will not be his future…
Yes, a greater power will engulf the world—a power that will prosper in peace for all eternity! Mankind will finally learn its lesson and submit to the greatest government that civilization will ever see! When Christ returns, He will come as the King of kings with a perfect supergovernment! Having decisively put down mankind’s rebellion, Jesus Christ will establish His kingdom on earth—a millennial kingdom of peace and prosperity for all peoples, nations, and cultures! From the destruction of war, the world will suddenly erupt into global peace, and with the knowledge of the true God! It will be an everlasting kingdom!
(To learn more about this subject, read our booklet Who or What Is the Beast of Revelation? and our book Tomorrow’s Wonderful World – An Inside View!)