Sunday, December 31, 2006

Post-secular Holland

Fascinating article on the rebirth of Christianity in (are you really surprised?) Holland. The evidence is both anecdotal and statistical, and includes these notable numbers:

[I]n the past decade, Muslim immigration has been overtaken by a larger stream of immigrants, namely Christians from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe. An SCP estimate puts the number of Christian immigrants in Holland at around 700,000-- and rising fast. Recent immigration reports suggest that for every new Muslim moving to Holland, there are at least two new Christian immigrants.
The Africans are making a big difference, especially with their own brands of charismatic Christianity. But notably, the one age group whose church attendence is bucking the long-term Dutch trend is the under-30s. Other important factors: Dutch Muslims don't proselytise, but the Christians do; and the rise of one of the classic strategies of renaissance, that of going back to your roots, in this case in the form of Home Churches, in the manner of the first Christians.

I enjoyed Mark Steyn's America Alone, but found his prognostications of demographic doom for Europe a little over-wrought. I couldn't answer them at the time; I had no figures to hand. All I could muster was Chesterton's old nugget that History loves to cheat the prophets. But the figures for Christian immigration are just the sort of factor that will beggar his forecasts. At least, I hope so.

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