Nothing we do can actually deal with guilt—actual or otherwise. Our best actions can’t undo the wrong done. It is a perpetual stain on our lives. Redemption is not in our hands—either as individuals or as nations. So what should we do?
Douglas Murray’s book The Strange Death of Europe is a fascinating read. Murray is a political commentator, journalist, and as to his religious leanings, he is atheist.
Wikipedia tells me that, “he has been described by French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy as ‘one of the most important public intellectuals today.’”
In his book he explores why Europe has so dramatically changed, and may not survive as we know it. He cites two reasons. The first is the impact of mass migration of new peoples combined with Europe’s negative birth rates. This has had a colossal impact on European identity. And the second is that Europe has lost faith in the beliefs and traditions, chief among them Christianity, which got it to where it was.
There is much that is fascinating. But one of the sections which really struck me was to do with guilt. How in a God-ignoring Europe we are plagued with guilt.
He sees that this guilt tugs at the psyche of Europe’s nations, writing, “It is one of the underlying themes of all of contemporary Europe – a unique, abiding and perhaps finally fatal sense of, and obsession with, guilt.” Guilt for all sorts of valid reasons: a colonial past, the Holocaust, particular countries’ failure to take a stand in wars, closing our doors to the needy in previous centuries.