My search for a proper home in Christianity continues. But as that journey continues, I would like to share my thoughts on a Biblical verse highly appropriate for our time:
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
Matthew 21:12 & 21:13
Socialists love to tout this particular quote as evidence that Christ was anti-Capitalism, and pro-Socialism. “See, look, he hated bankers!” This is, of course, a remarkably self-serving spin on it. They believe themselves capable of interpreting the words of the Son of God, two thousand years ago, in a context that is favorable to their own belief system as seen through the lens of a completely unrelated political ideology. It is extreme solipsism.
I’ve found that much of the New Testament is a study on human nature. So while interpreting Christ’s words in modern political terms is often an exercise in futility, his lessons are nonetheless eternal.
I’ve spoken at length before on the subject of Leftism doing the exact, 180 degree opposite of what is moral and right. They will, for instance, demonize heterosexual sex between husband and wife as “oppressive.” Meanwhile, excuses are made for pedophiles and child molesters. This is the opposite of sense, of moral rightness. Indeed, it’s an inversion of Biblical morality.
This is precisely what was going on in the temple. It was supposed to be a house of prayer, where one was closer to God, and closer to righteousness. It was being used for the exact opposite purpose, to cheat people out of their money. God was turned into a business, and furthermore, that business was turned into thievery.
This is how a Danish woman who defended herself against a migrant rapist finds herself at the wrong end of the law, prosecuted and fined for daring to have the temerity to defend herself.
Christ did not whip the money changers for practicing a business, or making a profit. He whipped them for being thieves and cloaking themselves in God’s own righteousness as they conducted their theft. He revealed them as the impostors they were.
All I can say is, if cloaking one’s self in righteousness while practicing the intolerable is worthy of whipping, we will need a lot of whips to clean out the temple this time around.
A year ago or so, I wrote this post, a short history of why the Crusades happened, what the historical context was. In light of escalating Islamic violence, it bears repeating:
Vox.com is nearly as terrible a propaganda machine as Gawker, or the whole city government of Chicago. It is a machine, spewing lies for the benefit of its paymasters, filled with inane Social Justice Advocates. And they want you to know that Christians and Crusaders are as much a threat as militant Islamics.
Now, before I tear this pithy, oft-repeated argument a metaphorical orifice for the excretion of bodily waste, I will explain why this particular lie enrages me so. The Crusades touches upon a subject that has, in many ways, been my life’s work. The histories of the Byzantine Empire, the succeeding Ottoman Empire and the regional conflicts of Islam and Christianity have immense personal interest to me. In the interests of full disclosure, I will tell you that I am part Armenian by ancestry. Don’t let that influence you overmuch.
I can’t begin to impart what I have learned on this subject in one post. Forgive this brief summary, but also allow me to recommend some reading material if you want to dig deeper yourself: John Julius Norwich’s three volume series on Byzantium and Mohammed & Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy by Emmet Scott. I have dozens more I can give you if you want to read more than that. If it exists in English and it is a scholarly treatment on the subject, the odds are good I’ve read it.
Now, shall we see the best of Vox.com’s excuse for journalism?
Obama’s point was actually pretty simple. Let’s not pretend that Islam itself is to blame for ISIS or that Muslims are inherently more violent, he suggested, because the problem of religious violence is not exclusive to any one religion. In other words, don’t oversimplify the problem of ISIS to “Muslims are different from the rest of us.”
For an opening salvo in the ongoing Culture Wars, this is pathetic, worthy more of mocking than serious intellectual treatment. You see, Islam is different in this regard. Pew Research is widely regarded as Gospel by the Left. Let’s use their own data against them.
This study is oft-cited by them, because it shows that a majority of Muslims do not support the actions of terrorist groups and suicide bombers. Yet, look at the graphs. Double-digit percentages DO support these actions. In Palestine, support for suicide bombings is 46% (over 60% in Gaza). Even in moderate Turkey, it is 18%. Does anyone on God’s Green Earth think that 18% of Christians in America would support suicide bombings on Muslims? If so, that person is an unrecoverable addict to ignorance. And this is their data, not mine.
Many critics have described Obama’s assertion that Christians are equivalent to Muslims as insulting to Christians. Whether this is because they believe that Christians are inherently superior or that Muslims are inherently inferior is irrelevant. It is not so different from, say, 1960s white supremacists who called Martin Luther King an anti-white racist for asserting that white and black people are fundamentally the same.
Yes, it is different. Because we have data, right there, combined with common-sense understanding that terrorism is more likely to come from a specific source. A Muslim source. Think about it for a moment and chalk up all the terrorism to come from Christian extremist groups. Let’s be fair and include the Irish, quite possibly the only modern instance of organized Christian terrorism in recent memory. Islamic terrorism dwarfs it by orders of magnitude. Not only is identifying this not racist (as Vox.com implies here), but NOT identifying it is proof of a level of ignorance that should not be possible among anyone seriously claiming the title of journalist.
Amazingly, some have tried to dismiss Obama’s comparison altogether by arguing that, even during the Crusades, in fact Christians were the victims and Islam the aggressor.
And here comes the history lesson. It is true that Christians were not the aggressor. Your Social Studies teacher (why don’t they call that class history, I wonder?) lied to you. Your textbooks lied to you. Pop culture lied to you. President Obama is lying to you, right now. To understand the depths of lie, we must go back in history to a time before Mohammed, before Islam even existed, because this lie is so deep, so systemic, its tentacles reach into our entire understanding of European History. It hinges around a nation referred to repeatedly as the Byzantine Empire. Even now, some sense of the thing can be had in the phrase “byzantine politics”. That Empire is a black hole in history textbooks, and Leftists want to keep it that way, because any support for Islam in the West is likely to evaporate like a fart in a hurricane otherwise.
After the first Germanic invasion of the Roman Empire, in the Third Century, it became increasingly apparent that the Empire was too large to be ruled by Rome alone. The old classical civilization we know as “Roman” began to fall apart. Economic damage was great. Plagues and frontier wars increased. Sassanid Persia was a constant threat in the East. New religions (Christianity among them) sprung up all over the Empire. Much of the apocalyptic tone of early Christian writings serves as a dim cultural memory for what life in this time was like.
Christianity, in the person of Constantine, eventually reached the highest levels of State, and the Empire rapidly Christianized. The message of a better life in the next world reached receptive masses of people who knew their civilization was on the decline. Paganism hardly even put up a fight, and was extinguished in the Empire in a few generations. Rome’s syncretic meta-culture merged with Christianity to become what we now call “Western civilization.” Even as the second wave of German invaders entered the Empire, conquering vast territories, they were in turn converted by it.
There is an old quote that may or may not be apocryphal. But it captures the essence of how even the Germans felt about the situation: “An able Goth wants to be like a Roman; only a poor Roman would want to be like a Goth.” The height of the Germanic second wave captured approximately half the old Roman Empire.
500 AD. The classical configuration of the German successor kingdoms. The largest, most powerful realms were the East Roman Empire, the Ostrogothic Kingdom, the Vandal Kingdom, the Visigothic Kingdom and the Frankish Kingdom.
They were all Christian, by this point. Many had been for over a century. To see how pervasive the Roman influence was, look at a common Spanish surname: Rodriguez. This is a Latin pronunciation of a German name, Roderic (the Latinized variant would be Rodericus). The Germans were speaking Latin, by and large, within the old Empire. They embraced the culture, the language and the religion. Who knows what modern Europe might look like today if this had been allowed to continue? Even then, the Romans were not done.
Scratch two German Kingdoms, and part of a third.
What we call “Western” civilization was actually once Mediterranean civilization. The inner sea had produced a sort of united meta-culture over top the local polities, and the Romans brought them together into one Empire (often through violence, but also often enough through peaceful means). Christianity provided them with one religion. Greek and Latin with two languages. You see, Europe in those days really was a sort of union, not like the pathetic excuse for a modern European “Union”. Even the distant Franks considered themselves to be a part of it.
Islam brought an end to all of this. I cannot overstate the damage Islam did to Western civilization. In the 600s, even the semi-barbaric Lombards, who had established themselves in northern Italy, used gold coinage. The Carolingians, arguably the most powerful successor to the West Roman Empire, could only manage silver coinage, and even then not a whole lot of it. The inner sea became rife with Muslim pirates. Muslim invasions destroyed ancient monuments and wrecked ancient cities. Even after the devastating destruction Rome visited upon Carthage, that city had been rebuilt and repopulated within a few decades. It was even the capital of the Roman province and the Vandal Kingdom.
Carthage was completely destroyed by the Arabs, never to return. Islam flooded the Empire, licking its wounds from a freshly terrible war with Persia. In a century, two-thirds of the Roman Empire was in the hands of Islam. The connection between the Eastern and Western Roman worlds was severed. But, somehow, both survived. Charles Martel defeated the Muslims in France, and the Romans defeated them in two of history’s most brutal sieges at Constantinople.
But the economy was devastated. Literacy rates dropped through the floor, because subsistence farming became the norm. Trade was reduced by an order of magnitude, and it would be almost 600 years before the Italians brought it back. There was no time available for scholarly studies. Only the church could afford such extravagance, and even then only in moderation. Vox.com and the Social Justice crowd would have you believe Christianity is some backward, anti-science cult. The fact remains that the church was the only scholarly light in that age. Modern science would not exist without Christianity. This is how much damage Islam did.
Do you see what he’s working on? Yes. That’s a book. And Monks were pretty much the only ones who had them. Even Emperor Charlemagne was *barely* literate. Things were so bad, even Kings didn’t have time for books.
In modern politics, it is fashionable to think of an Islamic “Golden Age” of learning and prosperity. In reality, this was the final flowering of the conquered cultures. Most great Islamic philosophers and architects were converts to Islam. And Islam was serious about those conversions. Oh, “People of the Book” were periodically tolerated to some degree, but immense economic and social pressure was placed on them to convert. And convert they did. The Persians were also conquered by Islam. They practiced Zoroastrianism. Today, the only Zoroastrians you’ll find are in India, where some of them fled to escape Islam. The religion was equally effective in scouring the Middle East and North Africa of Christians and Jews. By 900 AD, the Islamic “Golden Age” had become a nightmare. The Arabs couldn’t run a whorehouse in port full of drunken sailors, much less a functioning multi-ethnic Empire.
Christianity seems to have done the same, some would say, except that when Christianity took over the Roman World, it did so largely peaceably. Christian nations functioned, and did so even after the population converted. Not so with Islam.
For nearly one thousand years, the rump state of the Roman Empire, which modern history contemptuously dismisses as the Byzantine Empire fought a life-or-death battle with Islam. And, in 1453 it lost. Istanbul, not Constantinople, as the song famously tells us. Anatolia, once one of the greatest bastions of Christianity would henceforth be Islamic. Can you imagine that titanic struggle? It is almost inconceivable to the modern historian, who has no contemporary basis for comparison.
Siege of Constantinople, 1453. You think the Alamo was a good last stand? This was history’s greatest siege, bar none. 7000 Christian militiamen and sailors against 100,000 Turkish soldiers for almost two months. Yet you will never see a movie about it — it would offend Muslims (even though Muslims WON).
Emperor Alexius asked Pope Urban II for help against the invaders. Even he could not have foreseen the response he got (he just wanted to borrow some knights). For a moment all of Europe and even the Byzantines themselves (Eastern Christians and Western Christians were not always very friendly) united against Islam. And Islam lost. Badly. Everywhere, Islam was on the defensive. They lost ground in Spain, the middle East, Anatolia and even Tunisia (where the Normans established an African kingdom in the 1100s). For a short time, it looked like Islam would be kicked out of the old territories of the Roman world, that 500 years of Islamic conquest would be reversed.
Alas, it was not to be. The Christians squabbled among themselves. The Fourth Crusade betrayed the Byzantines and gutted their strength. King Guy proved himself the worst ruler the Kingdom of Jerusalem would ever see, marching out to fight Saladin without even having a secured water supply, in the desert. Only in Spain would the reconquest become permanent, even then that war lasted 800 years. Elsewhere, it was all undone. Not only were the Crusades a defensive measure, a reaction to 500 years of Muslim conquest, they were an ultimately ineffective measure. Christians were their own worst enemies. Shortly after the Crusades were done, the Byzantine Empire would fall, and with it the last great defensive bulwark in the East. The Balkans would henceforth be the plaything of the Ottoman Sultans. The resulting cultural and religious mess (wherever Islam goes, chaos follows) would be directly responsible for World War I, and as a result, indirectly for the World War II. Bosnia still seethes with the aftermath of centuries of Islamic rule.
For some reason, most of this history is censored from public schools and universities. Disdain for the Byzantine Empire is evident going back even to Gibbon’s time. But it metastasized with the advent of Leftism. Analyzed by itself, the Crusades look pretty bad for Christians, but that’s only because modern Social Justice Warriors have expanded on this and censored the entire Muslim Jihad. A millennium of violence was excised from the high school textbooks. Go pick one of those Social Studies books up. See if you can find even a hint of any of this. This is deliberate on the part of Leftist intellectuals. They know this and desire for the West to be destroyed. With the end of the Soviet Union, their best hope for the destruction of the West is Islam. They will suppress the truth at every opportunity in pursuit of their totalitarian, apocalyptic goals.
Islam is a plague, worse than the locusts of Egypt. It destroys entire civilizations, erases history and replaces it all with a religion that hasn’t advanced in 1400 years, a religion whose people have double-digit support for outright terrorism and suicide bombing. Even in Nazi Germany, it’s hard to imagine support levels like that.
To be crystal clear: this is not a fight over the fine-grain imperfections of Obama’s historical analogy or over the implications for US foreign policy. It is a fight over whether it’s okay to hate Muslims, to apply sweeping and negative stereotypes to the one-fifth of humanity that follows a particular religion. A number of Americans, it seems, are clinging desperately to their anti-Muslim bigotry and are furious at Obama for trying to take that away from them.
Vox.com conflates hatred of a belief system (Islam) for hatred of a people. Does that mean all Muslims are evil? No. Not even a majority are evil. No totalitarian regime in the history of Earth, not even the Nazis, not even the worst Muslim regimes, have ever managed to excise all the good from people. It is not possible to do. But Islam tries anyway. And that’s the whole point. Christians have done great wrongs, same as any other people. But Islam encourages the wrongs. Islam desires the wrongs. It will not stop until the world is Muslim, until every other culture and belief system has been systematically eradicated, as it has already achieved in its own territories (see: ISIS). And then it will work on those people it deems as insufficiently Muslim. Many of the worst victims of Islamic violence are other Muslims. Go ahead and preach female equality in the Sudan. I dare you.
It must be stopped. The Crusaders tried and failed. Too much petty bickering. Too many bad men seeking only power got involved. But the idea remains.
So let me say what ought to be obvious to anyone with a functioning brain cell: WE NEED ANOTHER CRUSADE. Not some namby-pamby nation building exercise. I mean rapid, violent, and complete destruction whenever *any* Muslim nation dares attack the West. Take ten of them for every one of us. Blow up one of our schools? We blow up ten mosques. They blow up our office buildings? We blow up whole cities. Escalate until even the most pig-headed (pun) Islamic says enough and cries uncle. Imams should fear us. Muslim fathers should hush their children at the first mention of Allahu Ackbar in a public space. Then, perhaps, the moderate Muslims everyone talks about will overthrow their extremist brethren, for fear that we will kill them if they don’t.
Let’s work on reducing that double-digit approval rating for terrorism, shall we?
That was it for the original post.
But there is more to tell. A year ago, I saw very little mention of the Crusades, except the usual Leftist claptrap about how they prove that Christianity was just as bad (but they really mean worse) as Islam. It provided them with an excuse to dismiss Muslim violence: it’s all just payback for a few wars a thousand years ago.
Their point, of course, is that we deserve it, though they rarely say so openly. They’ll weasel out of the position if accused. But we know their hearts on this matter. If they could snap their fingers and make Christianity disappear, they would do so without hesitation.
But today, I see Christians waking up to the threat. I see dawning realization in people that Islam is not the religion of peace. It is the religion of submission, of conquest. And, lastly, I have seen those two famous words echoing within communities of Christians…
In light of how the American government has been caught tacitly supporting ISIS, the new Crusade I call for must begin here. The Reconquista begins at home, as it did for the Spanish centuries ago. And only then can we utter the words that, someday, must be repeated if we are to survive:
There was once a splendid civilization, full of grandeur, the compiled knowledge of the ancient world, the economic hub of entire continents.
History calls it the Byzantine Empire, and, at least for me, it remains an object of intense curiosity. During the erroneously-named Dark Ages, the Byzantine world was the center of Christianity, the last remnant of the Roman Empire. For centuries, it was the medieval superpower of Europe and Asia, and the only nation to ever treat with the otherwise-invulnerable Caliphate as an equal.
It is gone, now, subsumed into the Islamic world and slowly erased over the course of centuries. Echoes of it remain in Eastern Europe, Russia, Armenia and Georgia, but they are just that: echoes.
People forget that Christianity was originally an Oriental religion, born out of the Roman near-east, and spread across Rome, the Middle East, and the Persian Empire. In some respects, it was the final culmination of Hellenism, as begun by Alexander the Great, the synthesis of the Mediterranean West and the Near-East.
All of that legacy is gone.
I speak of this because this legacy is, in some parts, my own. My grandfather spoke of it wistfully, from time to time. Oh, the Byzantine Empire was long gone even in the day of my great-grandfather, Ezra. But Ezra saw its ruins, and in that was intense beauty. He had a sense of living in the ruins of a world that was, in some ways, greater than the one in which he resided.
I will never see it. The legacy of the old Byzantine world is gone.
Islam destroyed it. Its institutions and learning were destroyed, its architecture destroyed or converted to the service of the mullahs. Its penultimate monument, the Hagia Sophia, remains covered in the calligraphy of the prophet.
Progressives often lament the conquest of North America by the British colonists and their successors. Yet, at the same time, the Ottomans were busying themselves lording over the conquered Byzantine world, destroy its culture, converting its people, and doing everything the colonists were accused of doing and more.
And then, as the Ottoman Empire collapsed, they annihilated as many of my own forebears as they possibly could, perhaps out of spite for the impending destruction of their own Empire.
It’s strange, but there are times I dream of it, a place I will never see, and a world I will never know.
This is a warning to the West. Islam is coming for you. Just as the Byzantines once thought themselves invincible, lording behind the impregnable Theodosian Walls, so does the West not understand the danger they face. And like the betrayers of the 4th Crusade, so does the threat to weaken the West lie within, in the form of the Progressives and Social Justice Warriors.
The Turk comes for you. He marches on Vienna, again. Will you fight, or surrender? Will the West join the Byzantine world in oblivion? Will its cathedrals blare the clarion call of Mohammed?
One of the fascinating side effects of being involved in both #GamerGate and Sad Puppies, is that there are thousands of Social Justice Warriors intent on referring to me as evil. Ben Kuchera was fond of telling GamerGaters to “clean themselves up.” And references to Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies as outright Nazis are not terribly difficult to find.
It’s worth noting that this is the same man who said “pedophilia is not a moral wrong.” I think he’s evil, but not because he disagrees with me on #Gamergate.
What is it that we stand accused of doing? What Evil have we actually done? GamerGaters are not murdering anybody. So far as I know, they do not justify pedophilia or child molestation (as the Antis have been known to do on occasion). At least as many bomb threats have been sent to GamerGate meetings as have been sent to Antis, and it’s not clear that anybody in GamerGate was ever involved in such activities to begin with. One suspects the hand of 4chan in both sets of threats. There have been no rapes (crappy fictional treatments in Law & Order SVU aside), no thefts, no assaults.
Just what evil are we supposed to have done?
I’m a results sort of guy. Show me that a group of people has done something, or is more likely to do something, and you will have my attention. But the rantings and ravings of SJWs are about vague concepts and political disagreements. I don’t want to play the game Steve Davidson did recently by dumping a bunch of strawmen on you, but suffice it to say it is a principle of mine that political disagreements alone do not elevate to some kind of cosmic battle good vs. evil.
Or, put in more simple terms, actions speak louder than words. You can say you are for equality until you are blue in the face, but if you toss around the hashtag #KillAllMen, and are not doing so in some kind of sarcastic or ironic fashion (or trolling), then you are functionally not for equality. You are for killing men. I.e. you are evil.
But the evil isn’t because you disagree with me politically. It’s because you want to kill all men. Stalin, for instance, could protest innocence and goodwill until he was blue in the face, but I would not believe him, because of the massacres, the gulags, and the terror campaigns.
Communism is, in my opinion, an evil ideology, because whatever the intentions of the ideology, the results are catastrophically bad. But even members of an evil ideology are not necessarily all evil themselves. C.S. Lewis explains:
‘Lord, is it then true… that thou and Tash are one?’ The Lion growled so that the earth shook and said, ‘It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites.
For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore, if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, Child?’ I said, ‘Lord, thou knowest how much I understand.’
But I said also, ‘Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days.’ ‘Beloved,’ said the Glorious One, ‘unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.’
This is similar to my own view of Islam, which I also view as a fundamentally evil ideology. Yet I would not be alive today if it were not for the actions of a Muslim who saved the lives of my own ancestors in the Ottoman Empire. The ideology was evil, but in this case, the individual was not.
This separation of individual and ideology is something that SJWs just cannot seem to manage. They may (wrongly) view my own political positions as evil, but they also seek to tar the individual with the same brush, seemingly unaware that this is a colossal mistake. The drive for ideological purity convinces them that they need to expel individuals who disagree with them, and that disagreement is, itself, a form of evil.
A commenter over at Vile770 dismissed and denounced me handily as a GamerGater, as if to say “well, he’s automatically evil because he’s a GamerGater.”
Any ideology which contains within it a drive for purity will result in evil. Nazism desired racial purity. Communism desired a purity of economic class. Islam desires a purity of religious thought. This, incidentally, is why I am a Christian. Christ explains that all of us are sinners. We have all done wrong. We are all impure.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Since mankind is categorically impure, an ideology that desires purity of any kind will inevitably result in violence and evil because human nature will not accord with it. Only force can make it so. And this is my beef with Social Justice. The Virtue Signalling among them is a a sort of ideological purity test. Agree with a particular instance of supposed racism, sexism, etc… or you will be denounced. They seek to control the state, the levers of power within social groups, corporations, etc… so as to force you into alignment with their political philosophy.
Don’t worry. Be this evil, and a few decades later, Capitalists will sell you on a T-Shirt and make millions.
I disagree with fellow Sad Puppies all the time, and even more often with fellow GamerGaters. #Gamergate crosses all sorts of political spectrums. Yet this does not become some kind of fundamental divide. I do not think these individuals evil for their disagreement. I don’t even think all Leftists are evil, or all Muslims, or all of anything. I oppose the ideologies, and will not waver in this one iota, but understanding that individuals are not the ideology is important, so as to avoid the very sin of purity to begin with.
So I guess the point of all this is that not only has my side in gaming and Science Fiction not done anything particularly evil that I am aware of, Social Justice Warriors are unable to separate the individual from the group. They cannot distinguish between specifics and generalities. They falsely label the group as evil, when the group has done nothing of the sort, and then ensure that each individual adherent is also treated as evil.
In earlier posts I was debating with a fellow about the Muslim rape rate, but I would not see an individual Muslim and say “he’s an evil rapist!” An adherent to an evil ideology, perhaps. But like C.S. Lewis tells us, he may serve Aslan truly, and only invoke the name of Tash. I have no way of knowing. That doesn’t mean I want to countenance large-scale Muslim immigration, mind you. But there it is, the separation of individual and ideology.
It is my observation that Left-wing groups are particularly prone to this, though it’s not entirely absent on the right either, mind you. Leftism has a tendency to elevate the group ahead of the individuals, and in so doing is at particular risk of denying the worth of the individual entirely. Once the group is established as the highest priority, it is not long before individuals are sacrificed in the name of the group, in order to make it “better” and “more pure.”
The Socialist Utopia is just a few hundred million bodies away… That went on for a century and went nowhere.
I was going to post this as a reply to Friar Bob, but the reply became as long as the original post. Again, this is a subject which I could write a book on, and it defies quick and simple analysis.
Friar Bob explains the nature of Christ and peace:
Christians ARE enjoined to be “wise as serpents, yet harmless as doves”. Yet calling Him “pacifistic” isn’t really accurate by many contemporary uses of the word. Because today that often implies supine surrender regardless of the cost. It means go along with anything just to avoid a fight. It means Chamberlain-style negotiations with “Mr. Hitler” promising “peace in our time”. And none of that is an accurate description of Him.
He is, of course, entirely correct. Notions of the Just War entered into Christian thinking right around the time Constantine. Constantine was, of course, engaged in that perennial feature of Roman political life: the Civil War. Hardly a succession went by without intrigue, assassination and outright open war, the exception of the Five Good Emperors non-withstanding. Just War tells us that there are certain things for which Christians must fight, certain things that they cannot countenance.
Self Defense is, of course, paramount among these. But there are other things. Going to war to, say, stop the doings of Hitler is justified whether defensive or not. War purely for the sake of power, money, or love of killing is prohibited. But war to save innocents, defend your own territory and protect your loved ones is justifiable. Naturally, slippery Weasels will rationalize their wars thusly, claiming that the war they are fighting for money is really for the oppressed people of… wherever. But, nonetheless, the Just War theory requires a casus belli. World War I was, ostensibly, started by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. This was the official casus belli even if the “unofficial” reasons were somewhat less pure.
The issue here is that in Christianity war must be justified. War for its own sake is not a feature of the religion.
Islam, on the other hand, requires the exact opposite. Against the denizens of the House of War, war is required unless there is some justification NOT to do it. Islamic nations do not require a casus belli. You not being a Muslim, or even being insufficiently Muslim is cause enough.
The reason is that Christ loved peace. It is true, he turned over the tables and cracked whips at the moneylenders. It is true he fought a culture war against the Pharisees. At the same time, Friar Bob’s assertion is on point: there are things Christ would not tolerate. Indeed, there are things that God has repeatedly declined to tolerate.
Nonetheless, the foundation of Christianity is peace and the foundation of Islam is war.
But Islam has been a good teacher for Western civilization. From Islam, the concepts of Jihad (Crusade), the ferreting out of the insufficiently pious, the heretic, the infidel were learned. Islam also brought back slavery into the Christian world.
It is difficult to overstate the damage Islam has done. Slavery continues to exist today in the Islamic world. Roman Christians BANNED the practice and freed their slaves. Rome, the great consummate slave regime of ancient history was forced to abolish the practice without even so much as a fight, because Christianity’s distaste for it was THAT great. Then Muslim slave traders, pirates and traffickers reintroduced the practice in places like Spain, and the borders of Byzantium, the Holy Land, etc… it is no coincidence that the Spanish & Portuguese were the first to reintroduce slavery, or that they formed, for a great while, the bulk of the slave traders. Even when the English picked up the practice, it was only after they had observed the other colonial powers doing it. This was around the time that increased contact with the Ottoman world was changing the perceptions of the West.
Even still, the Europeans knew the Good Book did not justify such activity, and made sure to practice these things only outside of their core territories. It was almost as if they felt guilt for what they were doing.
Islam feels no guilt for it.
Interestingly enough, as Europe finally achieved military supremacy over Islam in the 19th century, suddenly slavery begins to vanish. Imperialism has one last great flare in Africa and India, and then is gone forever. Religious Holy Wars become a thing of the past. Intolerance of heretics vanishes. Secular government, as in the 7th century Classical world, reasserts itself. The Divine Right of Kings is expunged. The Church loses power all over Europe, becoming ancillary to government, and finally cut off from it entirely.
Without the threat of militant Islam, Christianity dispensed with the foul tools they had copied from the Muslim world. They had no need of them any longer.
And yet history absolves the Muslims of guilt for these things, and blames Christianity instead. Christianity, which only used these tools when pressed for survival, and eliminated them soon after. While Islam has always practiced Holy War, and continues to do so today. They continue to ferret out Jews and Christians, exterminating them, exiling them or oppressing them. They continue to practice slavery and oppress women. And yet the WEST is decried as the Imperialist scum, the slavers, the oppressors, the killers. Furthermore, Christianity gets blamed for it, even though the Bible condemns these things.
It is disingenuous in the extreme, and proof of the Anti-Christian sentiment common in the West today. And, as Christians put down the tools of Tyranny, so did the Atheist Socialists pick them up and improve upon them.
Henri Pirenne was one of the first to tackle an interesting problem in the history of the Dark Ages and Late Antiquity, one that bears relevance to the proliferation of Anti-Christian hate today, to the rise of militant Islam and the creation of the Social Justice Movement.
His book Mohammed & Charlemagne posits something that those who aren’t familiar with my writings will find shocking: Islam is responsible for the Dark Ages. Emmet Scott follows up on this theory in a modern archaeological context, and goes one step further: Islam is responsible for the intolerance of Medieval Christianity. And I go a step beyond even that: Islam is responsible for the rise of intolerance in Western Civilization as a whole.
To understand this, we must go way back to the turn of the seventh century, on the eve of the Persian and Arab wars. We find ourselves a healthy, if somewhat reduced Roman Empire and a few relatively powerful Germanic successor states, all partially Romanized themselves to varying degrees. The economy was beginning to recover from the nadir of the 6th century, populations were beginning to expand again, and urbanization was increasing for the first time since the crisis of the third century. Archaeological evidence confirms this.
Then the Arabs come. They devastate Byzantium, conquer two-thirds of it, and wreck the Visigothic kingdom. The Frankish kingdom is cutoff from the sea, now a nest of Arab pirates, and the Byzantines are left to fend for themselves. Literacy drops precipitously as supplies of papyrus dry up. Economies languish as trade stops. Building stops, and the surviving states of Francia and Byzantium are forced onto a permanent war footing.
For three hundred years, the archaeological record is empty.
Very few writings date from this period. Even less exists in terms of building activity. Coinage is predominantly silver, and not much of that remains, either.
It is important to note that, prior to this activity, Christianity knew nothing of Holy War, or Inquisitions, or Heresy as we understand the term. Oh, sectarian violence was common enough that it was seen as something of a sport in Justinian’s Empire, especially in Egypt. But even the worst of heretics were generally suffered to live. Even when they were not, the Church condemned such killings, it certainly didn’t order them. Arian Christians ruled over Catholics in the West, and there was surprisingly little acrimony. Even the Jews, whom Europe would later try to exterminate, were tolerated without pogroms and inquisitorial activity.
Rome had always been a syncretic state, tolerant of many religions and Gods. It persecuted Christianity at first, it is true, but even as it did so, Christianity spread rapidly. Indeed, the primary reason for this was that Christians were seen as a danger to the state, not, as it so happens, because they were seen as a danger to Roman religion, which most Romans were lukewarm about anyway. High Paganism was a remarkably blase affair. In any event, something of this syncretic spirit was passed on to Christianity which was, due to Christ’s pacifistic nature, rather tolerant to begin with.
Conflicts within Christianity, and with paganism in the Roman Empire were, after Constantine’s day, exceptionally minor when compared to the Medieval times to follow.
Then Islam came, and history just stops for three hundred years. When the historical record resurfaces, you see heretics burned at the stake, Holy Crusades launched across the sea, and the Inquisition formed. It is worth noting that the Inquisition was strongest where Muslim influence was strongest (i.e. in Spain), and the prototype for the Crusades was also found in the Spanish Reconquista and in the border wars of Byzantium.
Christians learned of Holy War from the Islamic notions of Jihad. They learned of what would become the Inquisition from the ruthless ferreting out of Jews and Christians in Muslim lands, either for extermination, forced conversion, enslavement or the payment of the Jizya. In essence, the Christian world had to embrace these things to compete with Islam, and to retake the lands that had been lost to them, else the Muslim fifth column would give the enemy too great an advantage. Jews, who had before been tolerated to great degree, were now seen with the same suspicion and hatred that Muslims saw in them.
From the terrors of the Inquisition, we were to see the same activity in the secular world, from the French Revolution on up to the Gestapo and the KGB. Nothing, and I mean nothing like this existed in the Classical world. It wasn’t even a vague concept. Then Islam came and introduced the Christian world to the practice, and from the Christians, the Atheist Communists learned of it, and improved upon it.
Communism, like Islam, is a totalitarian ideology with which there can never be peace. You can never rest. Its eyes are everywhere. It will use every weapon at its disposal, no matter how evil or sinister, because the end justifies the means. And the end is the conquest of all of humanity. It will tolerate no less. Any peace with it is temporary, and only accepted if it is greatly to their advantage, so peace is generally a poor idea in the first place. Capitalism is like Islam’s House of War, with which war is always justified.
It is no wonder that the Progressives and the Muslims make common cause with one another. They come from the same place. Their goal is the same: complete domination of the world. Hitler once lamented that he found Christianity to be weak, and would have preferred if Nazi Germany had practiced a religion like Islam. He was unintentionally referencing a key point in Western history: Islam exterminated Classical civilization and greatly damaged the Christian civilization to follow.
What grew out of the remains of Classical civilization was contaminated with a great evil, one with which Western civilization has contended with ever since. It is as if the West has multiple personalities. Buried underneath is Greek philosophy, Roman notions of civilization and engineering spirit, and Christian religion. But interlaced with all of that is an intolerance, a hatred for man, a worship of death and a ruthless certainty of rightness. These are the gifts of Islam to the West. Leftists often bemoan the Imperialism and ruthless conquest of the Spanish conquistadors, yet where did they learn of this? They had just completed the Reconquista, 700 years of brutal warfare with Islam.
The kingdoms of the New World didn’t stand a chance.
Francis has commented on how the surety of rightness is a great evil. But where did it come from? Christianity expressly tells us that we are flawed, that we are sinners, and that the end does not justify the means. These things are anathema to Christianity. And, indeed, Christianity’s response to Jihad, the Crusades, simply could not be sustained, because it was so hard to justify death in the name of the Prince of Peace. Islam contains no such quibbles.
Three centuries of a thin historical record were spent fighting a life-or-death battle to the end with Islam. The West grew hard, abandoned much of its history, culture, tolerance and advanced civilization in order to survive. It had no choice.
What would things look like today if the burgeoning renaissance of the early seventh century were allowed to continue? Even the Germans were settling down, integrating into the old Latin world. Ireland was converted, thence to become a beacon of the Latin world. The Anglo-Saxons were coming around, places that Roman legions had never conquered were coming into the civilized fold. And Byzantium was the light of the Eastern world, the center of Christianity. It knew not of Holy Wars, or Inquisitions, or the burnings of witches.
But Islam did. And now so does the Progressive Left. Underneath it all, Christianity still tries to find the light of Christ’s words, his tolerance, his love. And even our enemies must couch their intolerant language in the same terms, lest they expose their totalitarian evil. But a virus still lurks in Western culture, one that has reared its ugly head time and time again.
And it must be expunged. Or else the terrors of the seventh century, as Islam wiped out the Classical world, will happen again. Whether it is the Muslims who do it, or the Socialists, it doesn’t matter. Because, in the end, both are the same.