Dangerous Demographics in Europe

Argggh!  I have three other things I need to do, two other blog topics I’ve wanted to write about, but I can’t help myself.  This blog post (currently the post of the moment featured by WordPress) caught my eye for obvious reasons: “You and What Army?” — a July 23 post on The Sophistry.

To catch some of you up: Birth rates are incredibly low on the European continent (below replacement levels in some places, I understand) while they are incredibly high amongst Europe’s Muslims.  Many are rightfully concerned that the non-Muslim European is an endangered species, while others believe that the crisis that is brewing will bring out the worst in Europe as it reverts to old habits and patterns.

Those of us motivated by prophecy to keep an eye on Europe really might enjoy checking out the post I’ve linked to above (and here!) on The Sophistry blog.  It may collect some good comments, as well.  He has some good links there — such as to a FrontPage interview with Ralph Peters.  Rather than link to it here, I suggest going to the post linked above and clicking there (it’s at the beginning of the post), so as not to rob Mr. Sophist of some well-earned net traffic.  But it’s interesting (though I noticed that it earns a colorful metaphor warning in at least one place).  Here’s a sample from Mr. Peters (emphasis mine):

“The Europeans have been playing pacifist dress-up while we protected them, but, sufficiently threatened, they’ll revert to their historical pattern–which is to over-react. Europe’s Muslims may prove to be the real endangered species; after all, Europe’s history of dealing with rejected minorities veers between genocide and, for the lucky, ethnic cleansing. For me, the question isn’t whether Muslims will take over Europe, but whether Europe will simply expel them or kill any number of them first. Sound far-fetched? How would the Holocaust have sounded to an educated German (or Brit, or American) in 1932? Europe is a killer continent. When the chips are down, it will kill again.”

Bible prophecy speaks of a revived Roman Empire that will be difficult to unify but will ultimately find strength in a common, forceful faith (cf. Daniel 2:40-43, Revelation 13:11-12).  We see the stage being set for the fulfillment of these very prophecies.

As the “Muslim problem” in Europe begins to approach a real crisis stage, the bickering nations of Europe and their citizens will look more hopefully, passionately, and unitedly for someone who is willing to stand up against the tide — for someone who isn’t afraid to take on Islam directly and to stand up for “traditional” European culture and identity in the face of potentially explosive ethnic and religious tensions.

And if you don’t think there is such a “someone” around, you haven’t been paying attention to the man in the pointy hat.

11 thoughts on “Dangerous Demographics in Europe

  1. gls

    So you’re suggesting that what will ultimately turn Europe into a fascist continent of genocide that will eventually turn its sights on America, conquer us, and go on to subjugate almost the entire world is “concern” over the Muslim population?

    Ultra-liberal, secularized Europe?

    There are very few parallels between what’s happening in Europe now and what’s happened in Europe in the 1940s. Antisemitism had a long history in Europe prior to Hitler’s rise, particularly in Germany. It developed over the course of centuries.

    There is no corresponding hatred of Muslims in Europe, and even if it were to develop, Europe’s strictly secular nature would limit any influence the RCC would have.

  2. Howdy, gls, and thanks for your comment.

    I am feeling verbose (as usual) and will respond with many words. Yea, verily, I shall use bunches. 🙂

    First, your suggested suggestion, I would suggest, is not what I’m suggesting.

    I’m saying that Europe is heading toward a crisis of identity that has the potential to change it in absolutely fundamental ways. AND I’m saying that others — who certainly aren’t concerned about our proclamations about prophecy — are saying the same.

    Though I’m sure it will not surprise you, I find it a great deal easier to place faith in God’s prophecies than in your confidence about the “permanency” of Europe’s secularization. If I have to gamble on the permanency of Europe’s secular nature versus the patient continuance and opportunism of the RCC, I’m betting on the guy in the pointy hat.

    I sense in you a cynicism about religion that surely would not disagree with the proposition that generally people are, more often than not, motivated by their self-interests, including where religion is involved. And if Europe truly *is* heading toward a crisis of identity, then things can change a great deal more rapidly that you seem to believe, especially when the “right” tools are placed in the “right” hands. Crises can often redefine “self-interest” in ways that are not as easy to imagine during calmer days.

    Noted author Karen Armstrong (not related to HWA, but a prominent writer with whom I suspect you are at least somewhat familiar) has written that “[T]here is a big fight going on to define European civilization.” Yet, others have noticed dramatic changes in Europe that are a result of the growing influence of Islam — for example, a growth in the number of “militant unbelievers” (and it is foolish to think that the “believers” are simply going to sit on the sidelines and not join the fray). [I have a blog entry about a WSJ article discussing this here.]

    Karen Armstrong is right, and there is much debate about how that fight is going to turn out. I simply believe that those who agree with the Bible’s picture of the conclusion are right, whether they agree knowingly or unknowingly.

    History is filled with instances of turned tables, and you count out the RCC too early in the game — and at a time when the opportunity to get a foot (read: red Prada loafer) in the door is getting wider by the day. [May I be forgiven for my mixed metaphors…]

    Lastly, it’s certainly true that “[a]ntisemitism had a long history in Europe,” but to say that the decision to toss millions of people into ovens or to gas them into extinction is simply the result of some gradual, simply linear development of that sentiment requires an assumption I would need medication to accept. Agree or not, Mr. Peters makes some good points that I think you dismiss too easily.

    Thanks, again, for your comment, gls!

    Best regards,
    Wallace Smith

  3. Hi Mr. Smith,

    Mr. Sophist and Mr. Peters are saying the same thing I’ve been saying for years, and for the same secular reasons: Europe WILL drive out, enslave or kill its unwanted guests if it has to. It’s getting to where one doesn’t have to be a student of biblical prophecy to understand where many trends are leading, provided that one is sufficiently familiar with European history. It’s precisely in times of mortal crisis that Europe proves the most dangerous. (The outcome, of course, God alone predicts.)

    Let’s not forget historian Will Durant’s comment that democracy is the most unstable form of government. It would be so easy to turn the peaceable EU into the greatest totalitarian system the world has ever seen. (Why else would Poland and France be striving so hard to counterbalance Germany’s influence in it?) Already the EU is regulating everything it touches, and making special economic arrangements with other trading blocs. (I get Yahoo Alerts several times a day, listing news articles on the EU; talk about prophecy being fulfilled before one’s eyes.)

    If we take secular futurist Jeremy Rifkin’s estimates as valid, the EU has about a 20-year window of opportunity to get and keep ahead of the U.S. economically before demographics undermine its prosperity. That same problem will fuel the conflict with the Muslims. (Already the strongest party in Austria is the right-wing Nationalist party, precisely because of Muslim demographics.) Consider then an independent comment (I can’t recall the European author or the source) that many in Europe have not had more children not because they’ve not wanted more, but because they feel they can’t afford more. As Europe thinks through its economic model more, prosperity will offer greater incentive. So will revival of traditional religious values.

    Europe as a religious/secular combine has a nasty habit of rising like a phoenix out of the ashes (or, in Revelation’s terms, like a beast out of the sea) — just when everyone says that it’s been consigned to the dust bin of history. It’s done this nine times already since the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The Bible says it will do so one more time. People like gls are going to be caught unawares, and may find themselves worshipping the system before all is over (Rev. 13:5-8).

  4. gls

    Perhaps I’m discounting the depth of the need so many seem to have for the belief in a God, and thus, I’m giving secularism too much credit. Time will tell.

    Re: WWII, though, I think you misunderstood me. I was not suggesting that the Holocaust was a frog in boiling water type of social change. What I meant was that the basis for the Holocaust — antisemitism — had a long history. But antisemitism alone was not enough to cause Germany to kill millions of Jews. The spark was the intense hardships in Weimar Germany: the complete humiliation of the German nation, the heavy war reparations, and the staggering inflation that arose from the governments attempts at “paying” those reparations by simply printing more money. The Jews provided a useful scapegoat for Germany’s problems, but ONLY because there had been a history of antisemitism in Europe as a whole, Germany in particular. Had Hitler blamed all of Germany’s problems on Communist Gypsies instead of Jews (whom he generally equated with Communism), I doubt very much it would have sparked the Holocaust. While the Gypsies were and are victims of persecution, they were not vilified and persecuted as the Jews.

    Now, apply that same thinking to contemporary Europe. There is no hyperinflation; there is no lost of pride; there are no heavy national debts; there is no extended, centuries’ long tradition of Islamophobia, to borrow a phrase from the left that I am not particularly fond of. Furthermore, there was no sense of identity crisis in Weimar Germany. Far from it.

    I just don’t see the parallels.

  5. Howdy, again, gls —

    Thanks for the clarification. I appreciate your thoughts, and I think that you make some excellent points. And I apologize for assuming a linear projection on your part.

    While there may not be a historic anti-Islamic sentiment that parallels antisemitism, where I really believe that we differ is in the conviction that such a parallel is needed.

    Part of why I believe that the lack of parallel is irrelevant is that while antisemitic fears were generally irrational, concerns about a growing Islamic presence are rooted in real, modern concerns and headlines. There were no *real* Jewish plots to blow up ten airliners midflight after leaving European airports. Antisemitism in Europe did not have the “aid” of a militant branch of Judaism that even comes close to what we see in militant Islam. The news and internet then did not carry real images of zealous Jews beheading Westerners. Europe then did not have pictures of peacetime riots in predominately Jewish neighborhoods in their recent memory, such as the French have as of the fall of 2005 concerning Muslim neighborhoods. Europe did not have the experience of watching real riots after a political cartoon of Moses was published. And Europe did not have the *real* possibility of internal upheaval being heavily financed by oil-rich Jewish nations beyond their borders.

    And as Turkey is now showing us, the ability of zealous and aggressive Islam (the kind that Europeans are nervous about) to infect and supplant more traditionally secular-leaning Islamic attitudes in established populations is a real concern. Fears about an imagined Jewish influence in national affairs were enough to stoke a holocaust frame of mind, given the antisemitic history you have noted. What kind of reaction very real fears of a very real, zealous, and aggressive Islam gaining influence (if not control) in your community and your country in a day and age when the news shows us images of burning cars sticking out of Glasgow Airport (let alone what events may yet come), I can only imagine.

    Though I don’t think imagining is necessary, as the headlines in the years to come may paint the picture for all of us quite clearly. I think the situation developing in Europe is ripening (though not fully ripe, as you have noted) for someone to stand up — to “stand in the gap” — and gain more influence than has previously been possible in recent history.

    So, I while I do agree with you that the situation does not present parallels, I do not feel that such parallels are needed for things to proceed as the Bible describes. As the ancients used to say, there are many roads one can take and still get stuck in Cleveland.

    Thanks, again, for taking the time to further explain your comment, and please forgive me where I may have misunderstood you!

    Best regards,
    Wallace Smith

  6. gls

    Mr. Smith,

    Excellent points about the visible nature of the Islamic issue versus the imagined Jewish plots of the 19th and early 20th (and to a sad extent, 21st) centuries.

    You might be right about someone “standing in the gap.” But I still just don’t see Europeans turning to the pope en masse (no pun initially intended, but not bad, eh?) and Catholicism to solve the problem. I think secular Europeans are fairly skeptical of all religion.

    On the other hand, Catholicism has a rich and long history in Europe and still probably affects some “warm feeligns” for even the most staunch secularists.

    One thing that counts both for and against both our theses is the adventures of Jean-Marie Le Pen in France. Recall what happened in the 2002 French elections. Le Pen was defeated because Socialists, much to their disgust, were forced to vote for Chirac in the second round. This hardly supports a theory of a return to Fascism (which is really what Herbert Armstrong’s prophecies — or prophetic interpretations, if you prefer — were all about). On the other hand, the fact that Le Pen made it so far says something. On still the other hand, a lot of that had to do with a poor Socialist showing and having the vote split among something like fifteen or sixteen parties. In the end, what happened was that France kept its center-right government in place, electing Sarkozy over the Socialist Royale. This was not a move to the right but rather another step in the direction Chirac was moving the country.

    Another argument for the gentle sliding of Europe toward Fascism the election of Merkel. Adherents to HWA’s teachings felt that this, coupled with the election of Ratzinger, heralded the beginning of the end. Yet, far from alienating America, Merkel’s Germany has improved its relations with our country. It was when the more left Schröder was in office that relations between the two countries were so strained.

    I know I’m bringing in a lot more than your post originally included, but that’s the beauty of blogging, right?

  7. Howdy, again, gls!

    You know, I would have enjoyed your comment even if the only thing you said was that “pope en masse” remark! 🙂 But the rest was good too (if not so punny). And I agree with your insights on the “case study” of Le Pen.

    Two things come to mind: One is another fundamental assumption we will fail to share, which is the supernatural element. While I believe more than you do that current events hold within them great potential for setting a perfect stage for the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy — or prophecy as we understand it, if you prefer — yet I also believe that a supernatural element will ultimately enter the picture that will “seal the deal.”

    I believe that a false prophet will rise and do wonders — real wonders, with real power, and showing real signs, a lá 2 Thess. 2:8-10, et al. Not Benny Hinn-flavored “wonders” or stuff that the Amazing Randi could debunk with a wink, but the real thing.

    I know that we would disagree that such a thing is ahead, but for me it is all the more reason not to put my faith in Europe’s over-hyped (in some ways but not others) secularism. And such a thing certainly could stir those “warm feelings” into something brighter and hotter, especially if the economic, political, etc. environment were more chaotic due to the future blossoming of events only now beginning to take root. (It’s easy to be secular in current conditions, when there is bratwurst on the table, children are singing “Das Deutschlandlied” outside your window, and you have deutschmarks… er, I mean euros in the bank. God prophesied a similar problem for Israel in Deut. 31:20.)

    Secondly, as far as “adherents” go, I can honestly say that I did not think that those things were the beginning of the end, if I understand what you mean. In fact, frankly, I believe that as tempting a lure the simultaneous pairing of German EU presidency and a German Pope represented to those who understand prophecy, the LCG has showed admirable restraint. (I will not dare and do not desire to speak on behalf of other “COG” groups, not do I believe they would want me to.) There are simply too many other things that God has not yet put into place to call Merkel and Ratzinger’s ascendancies the beginning of the end.

    (And, personally, I expect relations between Germany and the US, on the whole, to improve further still — at least until they don’t anymore. And I don’t mean that as glibly as it sounds. We still live in a world where friendship with America is more of a benefit than a burden, and Merkel is smart enough to see that. But things change. And the moment benefit turns to burden, I expect the temperature of the Atlantic to chill a bit…)

    Yet, are the actions of these honored children of the Fatherland helping to move things along toward their ultimate fulfillment? Absolutely! The passion that Merkel & Co. have put into unifying the EU and to birthing its don’t-call-it-a-constitution treaty, the contribution they make to the resurgence of Germany as the engine driving Europe, the zeal of the “German Shepherd” for traditional Catholicism, his impressive (and often underestimated) jabs against Islam, and his effort to inject certain “virtues” into the character of EU politics (both overtly and otherwise)… I suppose a verdict on the “beginning of the end” really depends on how broadly one defines “beginning.”

    Thanks, again, for your comments, gls! I appreciate the opportunity to flesh out my thoughts, as well as to review them for holes and improve them. And I really think I ought to mail you a nickel for that “pope en masse” remark. Do you take personal checks?

    Best regards,
    Wallace Smith

  8. gls

    In the end, you’re right—we’re coming at this from two different positions. Your belief in the supernatural element makes all things possible—literally ALL things. That includes (and I don’t mean this to be insulting) shifting your interpretation of current events to give prophecy more or less time as needed, and it includes an unshakable certitude that things are heading where your interpretation of the Bible says they’re heading.

    The events of 1972 (or the lack thereof) illustrate how easily thousands of people can be manipulated into thinking, “Oops, we were off.” After all, things did look pretty hot then. The Arab-Israeli relationship was in full conflict. America was falling apart at the moral seems with the hippie movement. As usual, something was rumbling in Europe. Yet 1972 came, and went. Here we are 35 years later, and the COGs haven’t learned their lesson. It’s still the same game. But in five years, when things have changed but not as much as you and others are predicting, the dates will just be re-adjusted and everything will go on as normal.

  9. Howdy, one more time, gls! And thanks for writing, again.

    I hope you don’t mind, but I edited out one small section of your comment. It was not offensive, but I did not want to give certain ones any free “advertising” (even though I found your “hermetically sealed” comment hilarious and sadly accurate).

    No worries — I am hard to insult. Actually, you’ve touched on a number of things that I meditate on rather frequently, especially over the last few months.

    I can understand your point of view concerning my belief in the supernatural element, and even to a certain degree agree with your comment. I know you would understand when I say that I see your lack of such a belief blinds you to important possibilities. I could also speculate that your inner resistance — a semi-conscious aversion, if you will — to things relating to our understanding and the historical positions of the COG (feel free to interpret “historical” as shallowly or deeply as you like) also blinds you to the possibility that the things we have said for years would happen are more probable than you think. But of course that would only be speculation. 🙂

    Mistaken beliefs about the imminency of the return of Christ have been a part of the true Church’s tendancies since the time of Paul in the first century, so at least we came by it honestly! And I will not pretend that the church has much different in recent decades than it was in its first decades in this regard.

    Yet, while we should learn lessons from the past, we cannot afford to fall into the other trap: thinking, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4) — or, as you say, “everything will go on as normal” — or thinking that the Lord is somehow slack concerning His promise (v.9). All things do not so continue, and He is not slack.

    Mistakes made in overconfidence or vanity about the year in which Christ will return — whether in the 1840s or the 1960s — doesn’t change the fact that He *is* coming, AND He *does* give us clear things to look for preceding that return.

    After all, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the hippie movement may not have been the house-warming parties for the Beast power that some may have thought, yet the role they have both played in the development of the current end time scenario in which we live is only denied by those without eyes to see. And as delusional as you may believe such a sentiment to be, the world events unfolding these days seem more than ever to bolster the belief that “our salvation is nearer than when we first believed,” and not simply because we’ve gotten older since then.

    God may rarely, if ever, read from the script that some try to hand Him, yet I truly believe that it is foolish to assume that the world is not reading from His. The evidence, in my opinion, clearly says otherwise, as the headlines tell us tales of actors lining up to audition for their parts.

    I’ve enjoyed our discussion, and I hope you have found my comments as respectful as I have found yours. Thanks, again!

    Best regards,
    Wallace Smith

  10. gls

    I’ll give you a rest now, Mr. Wallace. 🙂 I appreciate your patience and taking my questions/protests seriously.

    Last comments, just to clarify things. You wrote, “I know you would understand when I say that I see your lack of such a belief blinds you to important possibilities.” Just to clarify: I’m not a militant atheist. I’m not even a strong atheist, who says, “There definitely is no god!” I’m closer to what some would call an agnostic (though I’m well aware that many feel an agnostic is simply an atheist who hasn’t finished thinking yet. I’m open to the possibility of anything. Quite frankly, I think it would be very nice to experience something that led me to the conviction that there is a supernatural element, and I don’t discount that that might happen in the future. However, in my thirty-some odd years, I’ve never experienced anything that might suggest to me there is a God. That includes 20 years in the WCG (“Ah,” he thinks, “There’s the connection I suspected…”), four years at a private Christian (non-COG) college, and several years of attending Mass with my Catholic wife. Still, who knows.

    I’ll leave you be now, though I’ll continue visiting and reading — probably commenting too. 🙂

  11. Howdy, gls, and it’s been my pleasure. Though I *will* enjoy the rest! 🙂

    As for the suspected connection, actually we were already at the “taken as a given” stage!

    I am glad you will continue visiting, and I will try to keep the light on for you. And I will take what hope I can from that “who knows” comment. 🙂

    Warm regards, and take care —
    Wallace Smith

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