In a previous article in True North, it was pointed out how Jihadi leaders fear the attraction of the American notion of Democracy. That article was followed up by one examining why that attraction is not as powerful when the Judeo-Christian foundation of the American notion of ordered liberty is abandoned in favor of a vision of democracy that is purely secular. For a more detailed look at the “Biblical Roots of American Civilization”, check out this site. As much of a threat as the Jihadi leadership sees in modern democracy, the real threat to Jihadism is just beginning to form. Imagine the threat posed by a religiously-based, demographically prolific culture of liberty that is on the cutting edge of modern technological advancement.
In an article for PJ Media entitled “Israel at a Point of No Return – In the Right Direction,” David P. Goldman, who is a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum, points out that this is what is beginning to take place in the nation of Israel. At a time when advanced industrial nations are becoming more secular and experiencing what demographer Phillip Longman refers to as a “Global Baby Bust”, Israel is growing increasingly religious and demographically prolific.
The latter factor is seen as a sign of optimism and hope for the future in a population. Indeed, there is good reason for them to have hope. Israel is becoming an economic powerhouse where new business start-ups are everywhere. It is also leading the way in developing modern technology, second only to the U.S. in new patents. All this would be amazing enough if it were only the Jews that were being lifted up by this progress. What is even less well known is that these developments are also benefiting the Arab population under Israeli rule. As Goldman points out:
This national religious revival is not occurring at the expense of Israeli or West Bank Arabs. On the contrary, the Arab population between the River and the Sea is flourishing as no modern Arab population ever did. A fifth of Israel’s medical students are Arab, as are a third of the students at the University of Haifa. Ariel University across the “Green Line” in Samaria, the “settler’s university,” is educating a whole generation of West Bank Arabs. The campus is full of young Arab women in headscarves, and the local Jewish leadership reaches out to Arab villages to recruit talented students. Israel’s expanding economy has a bottomless demand for young people of ability and ambition.
Goldman also points out that this development has important implications for Christians and other people of faith:
This is good news for Christians as well as Jews. The secularization thesis is refuted: a country with the world’s greatest record of high-tech innovation is also becoming the industrial world’s most religious country. It is devastating news for Lennonists as well as Leninists. The “Imagine” world turns out to be imaginary. Israel, as Franz Rosenzweig said of the Jewish people, is there to be “the paragon and exemplar of a nation.” For all its flaws, the State of Israel stands as a beacon to people of faith around the world. It is honored by its list of self-appointed enemies. Will Israel prevail against the unholy coalition against it? As we say, b’ezrat Hashem.
This region of the world was once the driving force behind what was arguably the most advanced civilization on the planet. Many people are aware that the works of Aristotle and other Classical Greeks were brought to the west by Muslims when they came to Spain. The question is, how did the Arab world come across these gems?
Starting about the time of Christ, Assyrian Christians built a religiously-based, technologically advanced civilization that eventually reached from the Middle East to as far as China and Japan. Their story is briefly summarized in the article entitled “What Arab Civilization?” Can this region once again become the engine of a global, religiously-based civilization of liberty? As Goldman points out, the possibility is good news to Christians and people of faith in general. If Israel can bring Arab Muslims into its economic miracle, might it expand this horizon a bit further?
In his book “The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity,” sociologist Philip Jenkins points out that the center of gravity of Global Christianity is shifting south towards the developing world. These Christians are also demographically prolific and have a great deal of hope for the future. Using their quickly growing numbers from both high birth rates and rapid conversions, they could be the ideal candidates to spread what is happening in Israel to a global scale. If so, the 21st Century could turn out to be quite exciting indeed.