A common mistake is taking a western country to be, by its very definition, a Christian country. Mahsheed relates that the following is a fairly common experience of an immigrant from a predominantly Muslim country who wants to enjoy the freedom of the west:
Let me tell you a typical Muslim immigrant experience. He chafes under the restrictions of his Islamic home country. He does not pray or fast (is Muslim in name only--MINO). He finally makes it to America. Once here he experiences the severe culture shock of encountering a permissive sexual society plus the adjustment of living as an outsider (who can blame him--his own culture is very different). And he is envious. What is that secret things that divides his repressive Islamic society from the democratic West? He looks for clues.
Maybe he tries to assimilate, but finds it impossible as some changes would destroy his identity. Like can he allow his daughters to screw around in high school and still consider himself a man?
At no point does he ever discover that the secret of the West's success is Jesus Christ. That their societies are robust and democratic because these are the natural fruits of a Christian world-view. He never sees the third way as there have been no Christians to present it to him. In fact he has taken for granted that everyone he meets is Christian. Where are the Christians? He is not likely to encounter them as they travel in different circles as they have their own schools and universities and are concentrated in the red states and tend not to advertise their beliefs. And when the Muslim attended university what education did he get? Everything he was taught reinforced what he already knew about the evil Church and the crusades and the inquisition and the Dark Ages. He is relentlessly fed liberal PC multicultural victimology claptrap. From the media he encounters the writings of the judas apostate clergymen (what we call liberal Christianity) and is gleefully convinced by their claims. Now he sees that the West with their filthy culture has been the culprit all along. He figured it out.
Whereas before he had idealized Western values as being the key to reforming his home country, now he sees that those Islamic restrictions are all that keep him from total chaos. In his own country he envisioned all sorts of reforms such as more mingling of the sexes etc, now the slippery slope (every reform will lead to chaos) has been firmly entrenched in his mind--he sees where it all will lead.
Thus in a strange land he finds himself clinging to his Islamic identity; he prays and fasts and listens to the imams at the local mosque. Islam is the answer.
Now I ask those of you who deny his humanity, did he ever really stand a chance?
(Hat tip: Mark Shea)
Perhaps this is one reason Pope Benedict XVI sees Islam and the Catholic faith on the same side of a line drawn in the sands of human existence. We are both strangers in a very strange land.
However, whereas the Muslim immigrant has a land from which he or she came, and back to which he or she can go, the Catholic only has a dwindling memory of Christendom long gone save for the tattered remnants of civility and sanity. And oases wherein we become the people we wish to God we were around the Eucharistic table and altar.