Shuggy draws attention to an extraordinary suggestion by Melanie Phillips. This is that the re-Christianization of Britain and Europe is the only defence against 'unstoppable Islamisation'. The reason?
The crucial insight here is that only a strong indigenous faith has the capacity to resist Islamisation. That is why the collapse of Christianity in Britain and Europe and its steady replacement by secularisation is so catastrophic for the defence of the west... Secularisation produces cultural enfeeblement, because the pursuit of personal happiness trumps absolutely everything else. The here and now is all that matters. Dying for a cause, however noble, becomes an absolute no-no.Shuggy is rightly dismissive of this, pointing out that it puts Melanie Phillips in the awkward position of needing to preach something she herself doesn't believe in. A more serious problem still is that the re-Christianization of Britain and Europe just isn't, as things currently stand, a credible societal project. Christians have been doing their bit to spread the Christian word for a very long time now. What is suddenly going to make the difference and bring new adherents flooding in, or 'activate' hitherto passive or lapsed believers?
There is, however, a serious question wrapped up in all this. Can there be a robust defence of liberal and secular values? Or are these, as Phillips thinks, too infected by the good life for their adherents to be willing to put up a fight for them? Anecdotal evidence from the Nazi death camps suggests that the prisoners most able to preserve some sort of moral direction in the hellish conditions of those places were people of fervent belief - Jehovah's Witnesses, rabbis, communists, etc - and that others educated in the virtues of rationality and sceptical enquiry found this much more difficult. I point that out not because I think it answers the questions just posed, but merely by way of reporting something I've come across that is obliquely relevant.
In any case, I think it's a mistake to underestimate the strength that a liberal and secular culture derives from its manifest appeal as a mode of life, given the available alternatives and when it is in open competition with these. A more measured form of worry than the one expressed by Melanie Phillips is that there seem to be many citizens of liberal societies who can't imagine any serious threat to them, or that these societies may need to be fought for - literally. And that is a mistake. By now, not to be able to imagine it is merely turning your head away. Liberalism and secularism need the strength also of a fighting self-belief.