Assuming Too Much

Noah Millman responds to Douthat's latest column and the criticism it has attracted:

No doubt Christianity is competing with Islam for converts – certainly in Asia and Africa. No doubt Christian communities are engaged in actual violent conflict with Islamic communities in many parts of the world – as well as being subject to more or less oppressive rule in some countries where Islam predominates. No doubt there are pastors of various denominations in Europe who fear for the future when they compare the average age and regularity of attendance of their congregations to those of the mosques down the block. But the argument that the response to this situation should be “unity under the leadership of the Pope” needs to be made, not assumed. It seems at least as plausible to me that a decentralized religious culture is more conducive to rapid growth and more likely to respond effectively to diverse challenges from without and within.