For centuries, much of the Western world lived and breathed Christianity. This doesn’t mean everyone was a saint, but almost everyone in Europe and (later) North America embraced a Christian culture. C.S. Lewis mentioned how his old tutor, William Kirkpatrick, was a Presbyterian-turned-atheist who still gardened on Sundays in nicer clothes than other days of the week: “An Ulster Scot may come to disbelieve in God, but not to wear his weekday clothes on the Sabbath.”
Today, the West is post-Christian except for a few places — mostly in the United States. If you look at the latest polls for most Western European countries, they show a shocking decline in Christian practice.
And it’s not just that fewer people go to Church: It’s that they don’t even know basic religious knowledge that even non-believers used to know. In 2018, “The Daily Mirror” reported that two in five millennials didn’t know that Jesus was the baby in the manger in Nativity stories.
Things aren’t yet as bad in the United States, but Christianity is still fading here.
And the warning cries are coming from a surprising group: atheists and agnostics.
Many more atheists are nostalgic for the former Christian era.
Our friend Jonathon Van Maren recently interviewed atheist Douglas Murray. He asked Murray if he thought the Christian conception of human rights would survive into the post-Christian era.
Murray said that he didn’t think so.
Sir Roger Scruton never managed to fully embrace Christianity, but he started going back to Church later in his life. When Jonathon asked him why, Scruton replied that he hoped that practice would make perfect. He recognized that Christianity was a force for good.
Charles Murray is an agnostic, yet he told Van Maren that — barring a religious revival — America will go the way of Europe and die.
Then there’s the famous atheist Richard Dawkins. Christians have long known him as the author of “The God Delusion” and an enemy of Christianity. Yet now he has invited the ire of many Leftists by ridiculing transgenderism and claiming that there are only two genders. Many see him as holding onto remnants of our former Christian culture.
If you have atheists claiming that the West will die without Christianity, then we’d be foolish not to pay attention. It’s time to take our call to evangelization seriously. Let’s redouble our efforts to win the West back for Christ!