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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Spengler on moderate Islam and moderate Christians

(Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck).
I argued, here, that the seeds of Christian "moderation" are found in the seeds of Christian faith itself -- in Christian Scripture.  I've argued more than once that the seeds of the separation of church and state trace back to Christ's "Render-unto-Caesar" saying and that the freedoms of speech, thought, and religion trace back to what Christian political theorists call  "evangelical freedom."

I wondered whether it is possible for Islam to moderate.

The Asia Times's Spengler argues much better than I, here, along the same lines.

And he takes it one more step, arguing that Europe never saw the emergence of a People of Christ, but merely a syncretism between Christianity and European paganism.  He argues that when the English separatists spiritually led by William Brewster left Leiden, they intentionally left behind the religious oppression of Elizabethan and Jacobite England and the moral degradation of The Netherlands.  They set out for North America to find a land in which they could be "a city set on a hill," to borrow the words Winthrop borrowed from someone else.  And so, Spengler observes, the centre of gravity in the Christian world shifted over time from Europe to North America.

It's not the first time.  As Philip Jenkins argued, the geographical, intellectual, and demographic centre of Christendom shifted from the Mediterranean, especially North Africa and what we call the Middle East, to Europe (scroll down to May 17th, here).  Jenkins argues the centre of gravity is now shifting to the global South.

But it took Islam about 800 years to completely overthrow the centre and headquarters of eastern Christianity and the old Roman Empire of the east in Constantinople.  The old eastern, Christian Roman Empire served as something of a buffer to European Christendom to the north.

Who will protect Christian converts in the global South?

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on March 28, 2006 | Permalink


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Thank you for bringing that item to our attention. It cogently addresses some points that some posters here are unwilling to tackle.

Posted by: Paul Canniffp | 2006-03-28 2:57:26 PM

I totally agree with this article. People always state that events that took place during the crusades for example, were all sanctioned by the church. When in fact the church on many ocassions condemned crusaders when they were carried away, or were acting totally unChristian.

The moderation in Christianity itself allowed for the topics of secularism to be brought forth, not without resistance, but free from facing death and destruction.

Islam unfortunately is not on the same footing.
Mohammed and Jesus have no direct comparison in character or belief.

One was a General who led armies into battle and killed people personally, the other allowed himself to be crusafied for man's sins.

One teaches you must fight at all costs to bring his religion to dominance, while the other stated turn the other cheeck.

Of course this can go on forever, just look at Islam and ask yourself how much has it changed in 1400 years? Compare it to the changes of the Christian Church and of course there is no comparison.


Posted by: niv | 2006-03-28 6:23:11 PM

"The old eastern, Christian Roman Empire served as something of a buffer to European Christendom to the north."

This is not true. It was that dirty pagan/Christian Frank, Charles Martel, whose ancestors had torn off chunks of the Roman Empire and unlike the Muslims, then accepted the Christian faith, who stopped Islam's advance. It is Martel, the descendant of Germanic pagans, who crushed the Muslim threat to Europe in 732 and who saved Christian Europe.

Posted by: DJ | 2006-03-28 7:05:28 PM

Lets get the facts straight. Martel and Franks won a great battle at Tours and saved France. But without the Greeks the West would have been defeated on countless other times. Also, it was the same Franks who sacked Constantinople at least once during the Crusades which helped to speed up its decline. 700 to the late 1400's was a long struggle between the Europe and Muslims and it was by God's grace that Europe survived.

Posted by: Reg | 2006-03-28 7:23:52 PM

Your point is moot Reg. W/o Martel and the Germanic people, Europe becomes Islamic. No pagans, no syncretic Christians, no shining city on the hill.

Posted by: DJ | 2006-03-28 7:40:15 PM

Hey DJ, Martel was extremely important to the stopping Islam's expansion in Europe. However you have missed a leader who was even more signifigant than he.

Emperor Heraclius who fought the Muslims almost 100 years before Martel is credited with keeping Constantinople Christian. Through his military exploits Constantinople remained Christian for another 800 plus years.

Without his heroics it is very possible that Charles Martel would have been born in a Muslim Europe.


Posted by: niv | 2006-03-29 4:27:46 PM

First rule of self defense is "Protect Yourself".
If you can get someone else to watch your back then you are likely to survive.
If you get an army together...you can win.

I like winning...how about you?

Posted by: PGP | 2006-03-29 6:45:03 PM

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