Some days ago I went via Instapundit to an article about how the surge of Pentecostalism in Africa may help America in the War on Terror, and from there to this Pew Forum article on the global rise of Christianity, especially in Africa. Very much especially in Africa.
It may even be beating Islam.
I would guess I am a lot happier about Africa’s emerging Age of Faith (in its Christian variety at least; I fear Islam) than most of you reading this post. Yet I cannot repress a sense of disquiet when I remember that there are more people in Africa who think the freeing of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga a bad thing than think it a good thing. If there is a similar case next year the margin will probably be larger; and eventually that will change what happens. Western pressure will no longer work. Indeed, the boot may be on the other foot: the Pew article also says that there are already something like 2,000 Christian missionaries from Asia and Africa at work in Great Britain. Hard work at the moment, but that could change. Most people in the West assume that religion must inevitably decline as the world becomes richer and better educated. I tend to assume, gloomily, that its decline proceeds as the world embraces state welfare. But even the tide on Dover beach turns some day.
I do rejoice for my African brothers and sisters and my political fears may not come to pass. A fervent Christianity can be and has been a force for political freedom. Vile, cruel and hypocritical as the history of the United States is, it is slightly less vile, cruel and hypocritical than that of most nations – they never quite forgot that the Pilgrim Fathers on the Mayflower were Puritans fleeing persecution rather than instituting it.
Even the teetering balance between Christianity and Islam might do for Africa what the teetering balance between Protestantism and Catholicism did for Europe: let secularism sneak in as the second best option for all sides.
Or we might do a great deal worse. The other rising tide in the world is that of the global progressive elite, the Tranzis. For the first time in human history there is no technological obstacle to a world government. That I have long feared but now a new fear joins it. Barefoot religion meets the bureaucratic, unitary state, how does that work?
Perhaps, led by Africa, we are moving towards something like the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace.