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Tamara Chabe: As bishops retreat into leftish irrelevance, Islam and black majority churches gain ground


Online blog “Christian Today” has highlighted a report by Professor Voas, who specialises in population studies at Essex University, which claims that the future of religion in Britain lies in Islam and black majority churches.

Voas says “statistics show that Islam and newer forms of Christianity are overhauling the Church of England as white Britons lose their taste for worship.”

He also says that “Muslims already contribute ten per cent of British births; within several decades people of Muslim heritage will form ten per cent of the population, even if immigration came to an abrupt halt tomorrow. If even half are observant, they will form a substantial proportion of the religiously active population. Ethnic minority Christians will have another large share.”

The Church of England has so far failed to recognise the perilous position that it’s in, and the Church hierarchy seems determined to continue to promote a left-wing “social justice” socialistic ideology which doesn’t appear to be popular as attendance levels continue to drop.

Islam is attracting white and black converts and an intriguing article in the Daily Mail asked “why are so many modern British career women converting to Islam”. The article gives accounts of white British women who converted to Islam and their reasons why. The general theme and consensus centred on a frustration with the emptiness of modern third-wave-hard-line-feminism, which they felt had robbed them of their ability to enjoy the true essence of womanhood.

One of the women interviewed in the article said she’d converted to Islam to escape the superficiality of modern life. She says: “In the West, we are stressed for super­ficial reasons, like what clothes to wear. I felt empty inside and realised how liberating it was to be a Muslim. To follow only one God makes life purer. You are not chasing every fad.”

Another lady detailed her life before conversion. She says: “I worked part-time as a DJ, so I was really into the club scene. I used to pray a bit as a Christian, but I used God as a sort of doctor, to fix things in my life. If anyone asked, I would’ve said that, generally, I was happy living life in the fast lane.” Her conversion to Islam took place after meeting her boyfriend, Zahid, at university. She says: “His sister started talking to me about Islam, and it was as if ­everything in my life fitted into place. I think, underneath it all, I must have been searching for something, and I wasn’t feeling fulfilled by my hard-drinking party lifestyle.”

Black churches have packed congregations. However, the rising number of black British men converting to Islam has the potential to place stress on black churches in the future.

Islam has gained a reputation in many inner-city areas for helping provide structure, relevance and meaning to the lives of young black men. Richard Reddie, a black author and researcher who has written for many Christian publications, wrote a book called “Black Muslims in Britain: Why are a growing number of young black people converting to Islam?”

In an article for The Guardian about his book, he says: “Black Muslims in this country, just like in the US, have gained a reputation for ‘cleaning up’ the lives of those involved in crime, drugs and gang violence, and many of those I spoke with were recipients of this remedial work.” Reddie said his research into the subject showed that a number of young black converts had previous links to Christianity. He says, “what I also found of real interest was the fact that the vast majority of those interviewed had some previous connection to Christianity, either as former church attendees or through having relatives with firm ecclesiastical connections. This differs from white converts who tend to have no previous religious experience”.

Regarding the collapse in attendance rates of the white British, Voas argues that this is due to poor leadership by mainstream churches.

Attendance rates for Church of England congregations are falling. However, attendance at Evangelical and Pentecostal churches is actually increasing and Churches such as Hillsong Church and New Life have large, mostly white British congregations, and active youth movements. The founders of Hillsong Church are Australian, and their success shows that Christian faith is still popular with the white British public.

Evangelical and Pentecostal churches are gaining in popularity with all races because they preach a gospel which speaks of Biblical values in a socially-conservative, free-market context with a focus on the promise of heaven and not about socialist-style earthly utopias.

The problem with the socialism and inequality leftist doctrine preached by the modern Church of England is that it encourages a feeling of victimhood, as it rests on the assumption that everyone should have equal wealth in order for the world to be fair. It creates feelings of envy and resentment, as it places an emphasis on materialistic values and not the Biblical gospel.

The Church’s most recent letter entitled: “A Letter from the House of Bishops to the People and Parishes of the Church of England for the General Election 2015” is an example of this trend and the drift to socialism in a left-wing internationalism context.

Free markets offer the best method of stopping power falling into the hands of the few and the creation of oligarchy.

The so-called living-wage promoted by the bishops sounds fantastic in theory. However, the ideal is within the prism of a socialistic “social justice” theory were all have like-for-like salaries. The living-wage in the context of socialism is very much dependant on corporatism and you can’t control the economy without controlling people.

Further, small business would be unable to compete with corporations on wages, so power passes to corporations and society becomes a corporate state, with the state working in tandem with large corporations. This type of economics encourages crony capitalism and the entrenchment of elitism.

The “common good” doctrine the bishops speak of in a socialistic context would result in humans unable to lead a purpose-driven life because life would become subject to a “common good” test, which would be decided by an elite group of politicians (maybe EU bureaucrats) and sovereignty is taken away from humans and placed in the hands of the few. Bureaucrats thus take on a God-like status. A Christian may find that the State definition of the “common good” is different from his own understanding of the common good. The inevitable result would be that Christians who believe that Biblical principles support the free market find their freedoms thwarted by an authoritarian State.

The bishops’ stance against competition is perplexing as competition lowers prices as new and innovative competitors can emerge to challenge established players who fail to keep-up-to-date with trends or become arrogant and complacent.

Endless regulations also enable professions such as the law to stay closed-shops. It’s a shame that centre-right political parties haven’t made more effort to promote the moral basis of free market ideas (not crony capitalism) because left-wing socialism supports the status quo, big government, excessive regulations, crony capitalism, and elitism, whereas free markets break down cartels and encourage competition, which promotes social mobility and greater access to wealth and prosperity.

Writing in The Guardian, Abdu Haqq Baker, a black Briton who was bought up as a Roman Catholic but converted to Islam, gave his account on why he converted in an article entitled “Islam’s ability to empower is a magnet to black British youths”.  He says, “Islam provides a context within which individuals are able to rise above the social, cultural and often economic challenges that tend to thwart their progress in today’s society” and “role models such as Malcolm X only helped to reinforce the perception that Islam enabled the empowerment of one’s masculinity coupled with righteous and virtuous conduct as a strength, not a weakness.”

Malcolm X famously said that: “Once you gain control of the economy of your own community, then you don’t have to picket, boycott and beg.” It sounds like an endorsement of free market capitalism.

The centre-left achieves a high percentage of the black vote and numerous “social justice” campaigners routinely rally against capitalism and free markets.

The danger with an over-reliance on blacks working in the public sector is that blacks become disproportionately affected by austerity and find themselves having to picket and march against austerity measures, exactly what Malcolm X warned against: and as Tory MP Nadine Dorries says, large government deficits are against Biblical principles which warn against getting into excessive debt.

The corporate state, which is the inevitable result of the type of economics advocated by the Church of England, would also be harmful for blacks who want to open small businesses as a means of achieving economic independence but find their entrepreneurial endeavours thwarted by endless regulations and EU diktats.

The Church of England appears to be in a muddle about what it stands for and its mission has become so left wing that it’s now difficult to distinguish it from socialism. The dwindling attendance levels and emptying pews is evidence that this new direction is unpopular with its congregation, and competition from other new more evangelical churches has accelerated the church is decline.

It is telling that the Church’s letter about the state of politics and society failed to make any mention of marriage, family, underachievement of boys, and how to combat the negative effects of hard-line third wave feminism on men and boys.

The irony is that churches that preach a gospel which speaks of Biblical values in a socially-conservative, free-market context, with a focus on the promise of heaven, and not about socialist style earthly utopias are the ones gaining in popularity.

Should society care if Christian faith is losing its relevance amongst the white British public? Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who was imprisoned in the Soviet gulags during communism, warned that:  “To achieve its diabolical ends, Communism needs to control a population devoid of religious and national feeling.”

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Tamara Chabe
Tamara Chabe
Ms Chabe is a Legal/Business Advisor with a special interest in Business, Current Affairs & Leadership matters

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