World

The Omen of Notre Dame

Sparks fill the air as Paris Fire brigade members spray water to extinguish flames as the Notre Dame Cathedral burns in Paris, France, April 15, 2019. (Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)
Europe is burning, just as Notre Dame was.

The symbolism of the burning of Notre-Dame Cathedral, the most renowned building in Western civilization, the iconic symbol of Western Christendom, is hard to miss.

It is as if God Himself wanted to warn us in the most unmistakable way that Western Christianity is burning — and with it, Western civilization.

Every major Western (and one major non-Western) social and intellectual force has conspired to rid Europe of Christianity and the civilization it produced.

Within the Western world, the French Enlightenment — the intellectual basis of the French Revolution and the modern West — sought to replace Christianity, and religion in general, with secularism rooted in reason. No God, Bible, or Ten Commandments are necessary for morality or meaning: Reason (and science) will replace them.

The two final deathblows to Christianity in Europe were the world wars. World War I ended most Westerners’ belief in the nation-state and the West. Christianity, already weakened by the Enlightenment, was further weakened by World War I. German Christians were killing millions of French and English Christians, and French and English Christians were killing millions of German Christians. So the argument and sentiment against Christianity went. Then World War II saw even more death on the Christian continent as well as the failure of Catholic and Protestant churches in Nazi Germany to offer even minimal noncompliance with the Nazis’ Jew-hatred.

With the end of World War II, every internal Western intellectual doctrine was secular. God, the Bible, and religion were regarded at best as innocuous nonsense and at worst as noxious nonsense.

Meanwhile, Europeans brought a non-European ideology into Europe, an ideology that, for more than a thousand years, sought to replace Christianity as the world’s dominant religion. The Europeans, believing in nothing distinctly Christian or Western, and believing in the moral and intellectual nonsense known as “multiculturalism” — a doctrine that asserts that all cultures are morally equivalent — saw nothing problematic in bringing millions of Muslims into Europe. In their ignorance and arrogance, they assumed that because they were secular multiculturalists, everybody else was, too — or would be, once they lived in Europe.

VIEW GALLERY: Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral

They were wrong, of course. And as a result, the two dominant forces in Europe — secular leftism and Islamism — sought the end of Christianity and the West. (The Left believes that protecting Western civilization is equivalent to protecting white supremacy.)

This is not producing a pretty picture. Generally speaking, Islam has not been nearly as kind, tolerant, open, medically or scientifically innovative, or intellectually curious as Western civilization (and yes, Nazism and  Communism were born in the West, but they were anti-Western).

Even without tens of millions of Muslims, post-Christian Europe has not produced a pretty picture. This was predicted in 1834, a hundred years before Hitler’s rise, by the great German poet Heinrich Heine, a secular Jew (who later converted to Protestantism, “the ticket of admission into European culture”):

Christianity — and that is its greatest merit — has somewhat mitigated that brutal German love of war, but it could not destroy it. Should that subduing talisman, the cross, be shattered, the frenzied madness of the ancient warriors, that insane Berserk rage of which Nordic bards have spoken and sung so often, will once more burst into flame. This talisman (the cross) is fragile, and the day will come when it will collapse miserably. Then . . . a play will be performed in Germany that will make the French Revolution look like an innocent idyll.

European Christians persecuted European Jews, often brutally. But it took a post-Christian ideology, secular Nazism, to produce Auschwitz — just as it took post-Christian Communism to produce the Gulag, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and the Ukrainian and Cambodian genocides.

Moreover, Nazism and Communism aside, the Left’s belief that secular reason can replace God and the Bible turns out to be completely wrong. The alleged citadels of secular reason — the universities — are the most irrational and morally confused institutions in the West.

I don’t know if a worker accident or a radical Muslim set fire to Notre Dame Cathedral (as they have to scores of other churches around Europe). In terms of what the fire represented, it doesn’t much matter. What matters is the omen: Europe is burning, just as Notre Dame was.

© 2019 Creators.com

Dennis Prager — Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His second volume of Bible commentary, The Rational Bible — Genesis: God, Creation, Destruction, is published by Regnery.  He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Ten Questions for the ‘Squad’

Democratic infighting reached a fever pitch last week with bickering and personal attacks between members of the “Squad” and other House Democrats. During that period, Squad members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley mostly avoided doing interviews. However, that all ... Read More
U.S.

The Rise of the Chinese-American Right

On June 13, during a nasty storm, a group of Chinese New Yorkers gathered in front of the gates of Gracie Mansion, the New York mayor’s residence on the Upper East Side, to protest. Inside, Mayor Bill de Blasio was meeting with two dozen or so representatives of the Asian-American community to discuss his ... Read More
Elections

How Beto Made Himself into White-Privilege Guy

Robert Francis O’Rourke is white. If it’s any consolation, he’s very sorry about that. “Beto” has been running from his Irish ancestry for some time now. Long before the Left fell headlong into the logical termini of its triune fascination with race, power, and privilege, O’Rourke sensed that there ... Read More
White House

The Trump Steamroller

As we settle into high summer and the period of maximum difficulty in finding anything to fill in hours of television news, especially 24/7 news television, two well-established political trends are emerging in this pre-electoral period: The president’s opponents continue to dig themselves into foxholes that ... Read More
Culture

Why Was Richard Spencer on CNN?

Self-avowed white nationalist Richard Spencer went on CNN yesterday. What he said isn't particularly interesting, because Richard Spencer isn't particularly interesting. What is interesting, at least in the sense that a multi-car pile up on the side of the interstate is interesting, is the bastard logic of the ... Read More