Masses of people are leaving countries in the Middle East and North Africa and streaming into Europe for the chance of a better life. It’s an enormous tragedy. More than four million refugees have come out of Syria since 2011 because of its civil war.
How did such a disaster happen? No one takes a perilous journey to leave home unless home has become unsafe or impossible to stay in. No parents put their children on a dangerous, rickety old boat unless it is better than the alternative. They are desperate. Our hearts go out to them.
Writing for the Wall Street Journal (9/12-13/15), Walter Russell Mead penned “A Crisis of Two Civilizations.” He described this migration as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters since the 1940s.” He noted that even “the sick and the old are on the road.”
The main reason behind the mass migration appears to be the suppression of freedom and the violence wrought under various Islamic governments, and the relative freedom afforded by formerly-Christian Europe.
Mead writes, “Today we are watching the failure of Islamism. From the Muslim Brotherhood to Islamic State, Islamist movements have had no more success in curing the ills of Arab civilization than any of the secular movements of the past.”
This crisis shows how cultural relativism—the idea that one culture is just as good as another—-and that all cultures are basically equal—is just not true. People are voting with their feet, whether they realize it or not, and going to countries with a Christian base.
I am not saying that European nations, or America for that matter, officially acknowledge the contributions of the Christian faith to their civilization. But it is Christianity that has helped shape the positive aspects of the West.
Daniel Lapin, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, who appreciates the contributions of Jesus, made an interesting point when I interviewed him years ago for our television special, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?, which was based on the book that I co-wrote with Dr. D. James Kennedy.
Said Rabbi Lapin, “The easiest way to answer the question of whether life on planet earth is better because Jesus walked Jerusalem or not is very simple, and that is: Just watch the way people vote with their feet. Watch where the net flow of immigration is in the world today. Is it from Christian countries to non-Christian countries or the other way around? It is so obvious.”
This current crisis in Europe reminds me of the plight of Cubans who have desperately been trying to get to America, as they flee the bankruptcy of atheistic communism.
One time I came across one of these Cuban refugee rafts on the beach, about 350 miles away from Cuba. This homemade craft was composed of three wooden doors, with flotsam at the bottom to keep it afloat.
One of the doors served as the hull and the other two made up the raft’s sides, with window shutters nailed across to serve as crossbeams. It was literally as if someone had torn apart his own home to put this thing together. Items of clothing in the raft indicate that it had held as many as ten people. I don’t know what became of them.
Since it is illegal to leave the island, those fleeing would have had to make this raft secretly. Then they would have to get safely out of Cuban waters. If they were discovered by the Cuban coastal authorities, they could have been shot on sight to prevent them from leaving. Yet they embarked upon the trip nevertheless.
And all cultures are equal?
Having escaped to international waters, the occupants of this doors-turned-into-a-raft had to row it or float a few hundred miles over several days. They would have had to deal with the grueling sun and the potential threat of sharks along the way in order to try and get to America.
Why? So that maybe—just maybe—they could get a chance to enjoy what you and I enjoy every day. Freedom. The chance for a better life.
Meanwhile, millions of Americans born here think little of the freedom we have. The tragedy is that because we are jettisoning our Christian roots, our freedom is now at risk.
Freedom is a great blessing and flows directly from the Judeo-Christian tradition. It may sound like heresy to modern ears, but all cultures are not the same. Some ideas are better than others. Millions of people would not risk everything, even the lives of their own children, if it were not so. There is certainly no mass migration of people into radical Islamic or communist countries. The supposed glories of multi-culturalism are sinking into the Mediterranean.