Francis wrote a great post this morning: Scientism, the One True Faith. Consider it required reading. For a long time, I have maintained that science, as popular culture understands the term, is no longer tied the scientific method. It has become a euphemism for all knowledge, and so has lost the specificity that made the term useful. Francis explains for us:
Thus also with science:
It isn’t a bunch of people with doctorates who spend several hours a day wearing white lab coats.
It isn’t a laboratory filled with glassware, chemicals, electronics, and experimental subjects;
And it most certainly isn’t “settled,” no matter what subject or persons declaim on it.
Science is a methodology for the investigation of reproducible phenomena. Science is the scientific method,more or less as Francis Bacon originally prescribed it.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to deceive you for purposes of his own. He is dangerous to you and others. He means to take something from you, most likely your money and freedom. When confronted by such a person, put one hand on your wallet, the other over your genitals, and back slowly away.
Social Justice Progressivism has this way of co-opting the skin of a thing, the appearance of a thing, without capturing the thing’s essence. I remember some time ago reading a syllabus for a mathematical course, wherein the teacher described the course as eliminating inequalities, promoting diversity, and interpreting the language of math for all races, cultures, and religions.
Just as now you will find gaming journalists who suggest that the first priority of gaming is to be properly diverse, to fight white privilege, and promote social justice.
When it comes to the notion of man-made climate change, there is now a new term which has recently become vogue: Climate Justice. Yes, it isn’t even Climate Science anymore. It’s Climate Justice. As if that has anything to do with whether or not mankind is having observably detrimental impacts on the climate.
Their science looks like science, acts like science, and quacks like science… yet it is not science.
As Francis explains, they will show you pictures of people with white lab coats, beakers filled with strange substances, and a myriad of various degrees and diplomas hung on the wall. And then they will claim that a consensus of experts have agreed on a conclusion, and you would be foolish to question them.
All of this ignores that climate “science” is not science at all. Where is the reproducible experimentation and observation? Do you possess a control Earth without humans that you may benchmark against? Do you know what the Earth would be like without humans, with a lesser number of less advanced humans, and with the number of humans we have now?
Then how can you be doing this scientifically?
Allow me to provide an interesting example. Warmists have frequently warned us that global warming will lead to more powerful hurricanes. It’s part of the usual doom-and-gloom fear mongering. They point to some of the unusually active hurricane seasons, such as in the mid-2000s.
But hurricanes are caused by a confluence of things. For one, the interaction of the Sahara desert, the jungles of Africa, and the Atlantic ocean produce tropical waves. Many hurricanes form out of these tropical waves. The reason for the desertification of the Sahara is an open question. Theories range from overgrazing to a slight perturbation in the Earth’s orbit.
The warmists would have you believe that warmer temperatures equal more hurricanes, but they’ve no way to prove this scientifically, because they cannot isolate this one effect from all the other effects. What if, for example, warming reduced the number of tropical waves that often generate hurricanes? What if it had other effects in the atmosphere that reduced the efficiency of a hurricane’s heat engine?
What they have is a hypothesis (and possibly a reasonable one) that they cannot test. It’s not science. Then they sell this hypothesis as proven fact, and call anyone who remains skeptical a denier, the modern euphemism for a heretic.
None of this is to say that they are right, or that they are wrong. I don’t know, and I don’t have access to the sort of time and data to comment on it in great detail. Rather, what I’m saying is that they are observably lying as to the kind of research they are doing. And I don’t trust a liar.
Many people say “trust the experts” without questioning either the competency or the trustworthiness of the expert. I trust an airline pilot to fly the plane, because I can see for myself that the airline record is pretty good, and that these people are good at their jobs. But what if a healthy 50% of airline pilots flew you to the wrong place? What if, furthermore, some pilots flew you to the wrong places deliberately? You bought a ticket to Vegas, but you ended up in Alaska. And the whole time, the pilot kept telling you how great the weather was in Vegas over the loud speaker. How much would you trust the pilot the next time you got in a plane, and he said “we’re heading for San Diego?”
Maybe we are, maybe we aren’t? How the Hell should I know?
The sleight of hand is not always obvious to the casual observer, however. Certainly not as obvious as mistaking Vegas for Alaska. Francis explains again:
Believer: Climate scientists are correct because the scientific method is reliable over time, thanks to peer review. The experts are overwhelmingly on the same side.
Skeptic: The prediction models are not credible because prediction models with that much complexity are rarely correct.
Believer: You troglodyte! You know nothing of science! The scientific method is credible!
See what happened? The believer was discussing science and the skeptic was NOT discussing science. These are different conversations. The prediction models are designed by scientists, but they are not “science” per se, any more than a microscope is “science.” Both are just tools that scientists use.
Prediction models may or may not work. Living in Florida, I’ve developed a healthy amount of respect for the NHC folks. Yeah, the accuracy of their predictions leaves much to be desired, but they nonetheless do an impressive job, and if they are often wrong in the specifics, in the generalities they are usually correct. Their prediction models are observably “pretty good” given the circumstances.
But even in such closed systems, they require several prediction models, which they often average together or weight differently depending on the forecaster’s experience. This is a skill more than anything. And then the forecaster adds his own spin on the data, looking at historical storm tracks, and making some subjective decisions about what all of it may mean. This isn’t science. But it is an impressive skill, nonetheless.
Yet all this is barely sufficient to predict where a storm might generally be in a few days, perhaps a week at the most, and have some reasonable expectation of how strong it will be.
Fortunately, we can check their work with hindsight. We can see how good their track record has been, and judge whether or not to trust them based on that record. With the warmists, we’ve no ability to track their assertions, because anything that goes counter to their hypothesis will be judged “noise” in the data, and anything that follows their hypothesis will be judged positive evidence.
Add to that the nature of government funding and peer pressure (skeptics are often greatly derided by their peers), and you have a recipe for manufactured consensus, with no way for the casual observer to check the results. Then, on top of that, we catch some of them in blatant lies, after which they demand that we trust them! Then they have the temerity to lecture those of faith on their “stupid sky wizard” god.
These people have a religion of their own. I see it often enough on Fecalbook, where the “I fucking love science” crowd posts all sorts of things that are not science, and acts like they are extra nerdy and super smart because of it.
I don’t know when popular culture switched on us, when everything that was once nerdy was made popular, but I suspect we are all the poorer for it. For it made loads of really dumb people think that they were smart because they shared a post about “science” and believed in global warming.
As far as cargo cult religions go, it may be one of the dumbest masquerading as one of the smartest.
There was a scene in Tom Kratman’s Caliphate book where a priest was crucified, and speaks to a young boy, telling him to take up the crucifix on the ground. He speaks the words “Deus Vult,” which I am sure most of my readers understand well enough.
The implication was, of course, that the boy, who had converted to Islam under duress, suffered less than the priest nailed to the cross. And, naturally, he should not renounce his faith for such if the priest could keep his under such circumstances.
Contrary to the beliefs of Leftists, being Christian has, historically, meant accepting a great deal of persecution. The followers of Christ, not unlike the Jews, have suffered under great persecution from other faiths. The Romans killed them (until converting). Then the Muslims came, and did likewise.
But the day came when Christianity was ascendant and unchallenged in the West. And so it is easy to forget that, as a Christian, persecution is not so far away as we often think it is. We’ve suffered comparatively little in recent years. The worst we’ve had to deal with lately is militant atheists with their smug, Jon Stewart liberal grins and airs of superiority. Easy enough to suffer that.
The killing of the priest, during Mass, tells us that a new round of persecution may be beginning. I honestly didn’t think I’d see that in my lifetime. But, here it is. In a sense, it is worse than the other terror killings. Not in number of bodies, of course, but in the brazenness of the act, and in the specificity of the target. Where you could theoretically lump other Islamic terror attacks in the West into some kind of general malaise, and excuse it by some sort of twisted Left-wing, secular reasoning, this attack smacks more obviously of religious war.
I feel a sadness for it, and wonder if the priest thought similarly as he died. And I wonder, also, if the militant fire which had been extinguished long ago in Christianity will now begin to resurface. I mourn this greatly, for the end of goodwill between faiths fast approaches.
If it must be religious war, then let it be as they say, even if this is a terrifying thing. If the cross falls to you, take it up. If it falls to me, then I will take it, also. I implore the Islamists to remember this, however: we truly wanted peace, with all of our hearts, and you could not leave well enough alone.
General Mattis put it succinctly, once: “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.”
Many years ago, I wrote a short story about the fading of the rational world, and its replacement with the mystical. It wasn’t very well written, and to some extent I still think I am lousy at writing fiction. But the premise was a fascinating one. I would like to revisit it someday.
Anyway, the concept was that, long after a nuclear war, knowledge of the rational world was failing, becoming piecemeal and quasi-mystical. And that the universe itself bent to this notion, that humanity’s collective experience was sufficient to change the natural laws of the universe. In simple terms, the Earth was becoming a magical place. The protagonists were on a mission to find the nearly-completed spacecraft from a pre-war colonization project.
They leave just in time, escaping a fantastical Earth into the “rational” universe. When their descendants return to Earth, generations later, they find no evidence humans had ever been there at all. The two worlds — the fantastical and the rational — had split off and become inaccessible to one another. It was a play on the nature of subjectivity versus objectivity, of Free Will and Fatalism.
In any event, the recent terror attacks reminded me of this old story, and a fundamental problem at the core of how we view Islam, terror, and the war we are fighting against both. This is a war in which you have already been drafted. The enemy always gets a vote…
People say “not all Muslims” and “Islam is a religion of peace.” They prattle on about the peaceful, moderate Muslims. They will tell you of Muslim friends, or Muslim coworkers, and how great they are. The fact is, they aren’t wrong. Such Muslims exist, presumably in large numbers, even. On the other side, we discuss how terror attacks are, almost invariably, perpetrated by Muslims. The question is not if another Muslim terror attack will happen, it is merely when, and how many bodies will be produced. We talk about history, how violent Jihad destroyed the old Roman world, how Islam has perpetually had bloody borders and genocidal madmen at the fore. The fact is, this is true too.
You see, the problem isn’t the deity. The problem is the priests.
Theoretically, Allah is one and the same with the God of Moses and the father of Jesus Christ. Oh, certainly there are differences (the divinity of Christ being a big one). But still, we are supposedly worshiping the same entity, right? Why, then, all the hate between the intellectual descendants of Abraham? For one, Mohammed as illustrated in the Quran and, more appropriately, the Hadiths, was a violent, megalomaniac of a warlord.
Robert Spencer, of course, wonders if a warlord named Mohammed even existed in the first place. The Hadiths are not attested before the beginning of the eighth century. The Quran only partially so, and with clear transcription errors. We cannot know with certainty who Mohammed was, what he did, or if anything written about him is true at all. In simple terms, the leaders of the Islamic world could have fabricated him out of whole cloth, or twisted him to fit an agenda of their own making. We wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Regardless of the existence or non-existence of Mohammed himself, the word of his priests, the religious leaders of Islam, is clear: conquest and subjugation in the name of Islam. This is not a religion of peace, as is assumed, but a religion of submission — the denial of the Thomist notion of Free Will.
Perhaps, if they chose to, the priesthood of Islam, such that it is, could interpret it differently. But it steadfastly refuses to do so. And when one or another rogue reformer in the Islamic world suggests they ought to (see the Bahais and the Ahmadis) the rest of Islam tries to murder them.
The problem isn’t the people. The problem is the priests.
Imagine if nearly every Christian churchman was an intellectual disciple of the Westboro Baptists. That’s the reality of the Islamic world. Whether or not the man herding goats in the Sudan is our enemy is irrelevant. He has no power. His opinion of us is meaningless. Moderate Islam, such that exists, has no voice, no power.
And in the Muslim world, like the fantastical setting of my short story, subjective experience is reality. When a warrior loses a battle, he thinks his loss is punishment. He was insufficiently devout. He must dedicate himself more to Allah, such that next time God will grant that his bullets fly true and smite the unbelievers. So the imam comes, and tells him to follow the example of Islam set forth in the Hadiths. Then the Great Satan will be beaten.
The Thomist notion of God, that of a being who set the universe into motion, willed it into being, and then left it to unfold, is completely foreign to Islam. There is no Free Will in Islam, save for the choice to submit or die.
Such peaceful, moderate Muslims that exist are Muslims who, like many Christians, are not particularly devout. They do not think about the Quran constantly, or follow the example of Mohammed in the Hadiths. But there is guilt for this, just as there is guilt for the Catholic who rarely attends mass, or the Jew who becomes a secularist. So, on occasion, a previously “moderate” Muslim will find his calling in the exhortations of a radical imam, telling him that he must be more Muslim.
The problem isn’t the prophet. The problem is the priests.
The war between Islam and everybody else predates the founding of the religion. It predates Christianity, Rome, and probably all of written history. The conflict is an ancient one, rooted in the battle between the Fatalists and those who believe in Free Will. It is Freedom against Slavery. Sovereignty versus Submission. Islam clothed itself in the uniform of the Fatalists. It was not the first to do so, and certainly not the last (Marxists wear the uniform, likewise).
From this, you can understand the underpinnings which bind the Social Justice Warriors and Militant Marxists with the Radical Islamists: all believe history has already been written. Everything is predetermined, and everything is predicated on devotion to the cause. The priests, of course, determine precisely what devotion means. They virtue signal, they “educate” their followers on what Allah — or the historical dialectic — desires of them, that they might find Paradise.
In the West, we have a priesthood, also. But this isn’t a priesthood who answers the call of Christ. The priesthood of Marx can be found in the media talking heads, in the ivory towers of academia. Remember, insufficient devotion to Marxism is cause for expulsion. You are a heretic. Or, if you are a right-wing Christian, you are an infidel. Like in Islam, it is permissible to do whatever they want to you.
The problem isn’t bigotry. The problem is the media.
Behind all of this, the Marxists and the Islamists both believe in a sort of subjective utopia, that their devotion is alone sufficient to change the world, to bend reality itself, to change the very laws of the universe. The Muslim fighter believes that Allah will bend the bullet’s path, and smite the infidel. The Social Justice Warrior believes that humanity contains an infinite number of genders, but that race doesn’t exist (it’s a social construct). The Dialectic shall change the very biological nature of mankind himself.
Neitzsche’s ubermensch was really just a fat genderqueer lesbian wolfkin with a cornucopia of mental illnesses. The worst mass murderers in ISIS-controlled Syria are paragons of devotion to Allah, model citizens of the new Caliphate. Both are freedom fighters against the terrifyingly bigoted Christian oppressors of the world.
The problem isn’t Free Will. The problem is Fatalism.
If Free Will doesn’t exist, then there is no point to anything. That is the path to Nihilism, the path to genocide, the path to every ill which humanity has ever conceived of. For, in the end, Fatalism tells you that nothing is really your fault. You have no will. You are a victim of history, a soldier of Allah, a vessel for another power that is not-you. And not-you did the thing.
It is the shifting of blame away from self, it is the destruction of self, the annihilation of purpose. And then, once this terrifying self-destruction has taken place, the priesthood of your Fatalistic belief system of choice will remake you in their chosen image. (How can you have chosen Allah or Marx if you have no Free Will? Answer that one SJWs).
The priests make of you what they will. You are now a vessel for someone else’s beliefs, a tool wiped clean for another’s purpose, a purpose that is not your own. The priest sleeps well at night saying to himself “I didn’t kill anybody, my slave did.” And the slave sleeps well at night thinking “I didn’t kill anybody, I followed my master’s orders.” Yet the killing happened.
That is how the person saying “not all Muslims” and the person saying “Islam is the problem” can be simultaneously correct. Everybody involved thinks there is no choice. The SJW thinks terrorism is just something that happens, like a natural disaster, an act of a God they don’t believe exists. Then they will light a candle and pray to a deity they don’t believe exists either. Hearts will be chalked onto sidewalks, messages of love and peace displayed in empty ritual, as if, like in my story, the very thought will somehow change the fabric of the universe. At least the Christian believes there is probably a God at the other end of the line. The SJW believes nothing exists, yet conducts the ritual anyway, filling some deep-seated human need.
This, in a world without choice, where oppressor and victim are preordained, where original sin is heaped upon a white baby, because somebody who looked vaguely similar once did something evil. But the chosen of God, or Marx, or whatever… they are free of sin. Paradise is for them.
Just as, half a world away, Muslims will cheer the deaths of infidels and those they see as sexual deviants. It will be seen, as with all such things, as the divine wrath of Allah. The terrorist was merely the vessel through which Allah’s will was carried to the Great Satan. The chickens come home to roost. Paradise is coming. The Caliphate will be real, merely because they think it so.
In the world of Fatalism, the problem is always the priests.
Of course, whether or not the priests believe their own material is another topic altogether.
There was a debate some time ago in which I expressed a commonly-understood truth, that terrorism today is more likely to come from an Islamic source than, say, a Christian source, or a Jewish source. My Progressive opponent proceeded to use the “not all Muslims” defense, and accuse me of bigotry for assuming that all Muslims are terrorists even though, of course, I never claimed any such thing.
It’s a rhetorical technique that grows tiresome from overuse. When you use a generalization about Islam, you will be attacked for applying the generalization to individuals even when you haven’t done so. But it’s not a principle, either. Many of these very same Progressives will loudly proclaim “Yes All Men” when discussing “Rape Culture” or other Radical Feminist fairy tales. So it is a rhetorical trick that they will use only when it benefits them.
Mark Steyn tells us of a Muslim man who expressed a positive message to his Christian patrons. The man was killed not long after by his own coreligionists.
In the spirit of the season, Asad Shah, a Glasgow newsagent and a “devout Muslim”*[see update at the foot of the page], decided to send out an Easter greeting on his Facebook page:
GOOD FRIDAY AND VERY HAPPY EASTER, ESPECIALLY TO MY BELOVED CHRISTIAN NATION X! BISMILLAH…
Let’s Follow The Real Footstep Of Beloved Holy Jesus Christ (PBUH) And Get The Real Success In Both Worlds xxxx
Less than four hours after this ecumenical greeting, Mr Shah was savagely murdered outside his shopby his co-religionists:
This is a very sad event. I expect that Mr. Shah was rewarded by a just and caring God, and that his murderers will find their “reward” in a very different place than they expect.
Most of us conservative-minded folks understand C.S. Lewis’s message about those who do good deeds while extolling a name which is evil:
Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.
Islam is a religion full of hateful, violent things. It contains a streak of political supremacy in it, a command to spread by the sword. But some, as the character of Emeth in The Last Battle, will do good and be righteous nonetheless. Christ will be in their hearts even if they do not realize it as such. Yes, I know I am treading on theological matters, and I usually avoid going too far into that. But I’ve always believed that God knows his own.
So Progressives, enough already. We’re not stupid, okay? We know full well, and probably much better than you do, that there are good people in any faith, and in every part of the world. My own family was saved from genocide by a Muslim Turk who paid for the family to escape to America. I hope (and expect) to meet him in the life to come, too.
When we talk about immigration, the refugees, and Islamic terrorism, don’t be so naive, Progressives. Do you think we don’t know the price of our positions? We know that some of the refugees are genuine. Of course, we also know that others are merely seeking welfare monies, and still others are active agents of destruction. We do not, and will not, trust you to screen them. You are too soft to make the tough decisions. You melt at the first sign of tears. You apply blanket victimization to everyone, and sweep their crimes under the rug because it makes you feel all tingly inside.
Progressives, you don’t really understand conservatives. You believe us to be racist bigots because you are racist bigots. You spend your lives overcompensating for this. Secretly, you do not want Muslim neighbors, or black neighbors, or Latin neighbors. And when you feel guilty about it, you project this guilt on us. We want to be left alone, above all else, but you cannot abide this. You must foist your social justice delusions upon us.
We are a practical people, us conservative folk. If you show us that a Muslim is good, righteous, peaceful, and able to assimilate our culture and values, we will welcome him. It’s never been about that. The problem is that you have demonstrated the opposite. You brought millions into Europe, and now you reap the whirlwind of terrorism, rapes, crimes, and politically correct bologna like suggesting German schools should stop serving pork.
You didn’t make your case, Progressives. You proved yourself wrong. And then you say to us “you are racist if you don’t want more of this!” No, Progressives, you are blind and stupid if you cannot see why we don’t want it. If every Muslim was like Mr. Shah, or the man who saved my family, we would value them more than we value you.
But, sadly, in the world we live in they are the exceptional individuals, and the generalizations still hold true at a meta-level. Muslims are not assimilating in large numbers. There are too many terrorists and criminals coming in with them. And, as it has been for nearly 1,500 years, Islam continues to have bloody borders and religious violence at a level far greater than Europe had even in the middle of the Crusades.
We conservative folks wish it were otherwise. But we live in the real world, Progressives, not the fantastical utopia you have constructed in your minds. We live in a fallen world, where hard choices must be made, where people must sometimes be turned away because you cannot help them, or because the risk to your own is too great to bear.
What good will be done when the West is gone, and the Islamic world is still eating itself? What will humanity’s future be like when you are gone, victims of an Islamic world that hates you as much as it hates us? You seem to think that you will be rewarded for your double-dealing, for your treachery, and for your blindness. But if we fall, you will go with us.
And then the whole of the world will be given over to the service of Tash. Is that what you really want?
The ongoing discussion of the origins of Holy War have prompted to insightful replies from Col. Bunny. So I have decided to continue the series on this issue. Col. Bunny tells us this:
I still have some skepticism about how Christian countries might have been transformed in ways by their experience with the Muslims. I recall Bruce Catton making in the point that the Civil War started out with informal, relaxed, democratic discipline but as the horror of the war sunk in it came to tying offenders to wagon wheels and administering the lash. Harsh methods can be seized on according to logic entirely on one side. This practice wasn’t necessarily copied from the Confederates.
The key point is the innovation of Holy War. Please be patient with me, as we must go through High Paganism, the origins of Islam and the spread of Christianity through the old Roman world in order to delve into this properly.
Prior to Christianity, the West subscribed to High Paganism. Contrary to the belief of some Christians, High Paganism was actually a pretty decent affair. There’s a reason, after all, that the Divine Comedy doesn’t actually torment the historical High Pagans, as it does the other sinners. They are in the first level of Hell, to be sure, but it is an earthly paradise. It was Elysium, a reflection of Heaven.
In any event, High Pagans were syncretic and preferred either co-opting the gods of other peoples, something Rome did frequently, or equivocating one god with another. I.e. your god of rivers was probably the same as this other god of rivers, here. Even when religions were “stamped out” this was usually a voluntary affair. A conquered people might think that their god had been defeated, and there was no point in worshiping him anymore. Better to worship the “superior” gods of the conquerors.
Historical Low Pagans, of course, were not so peaceful (see: Aztecs). But the less said of them, the better.
Anyway, the point is that Rome, prior to Christianity, had no notion of Holy War, because High Paganism did not require it. If war had any religious overtone at all, it was simply that you asked the god’s favor before you marched off. Barbarian Low Pagans, when encountered, were wiped out or civilized. Fellow High Pagans tended to merge into the Roman religious framework without issue. Indeed, the Romans had a fetish for Eastern superstitions and frequently pilfered religious ideas from the conquered East.
Now, Christianity came along, and coopted the Roman Empire, but did so peacefully. The Roman State was initially hostile to Christianity (and, it should be noted, Judaism as well) because it was seen as a danger to the state. Christians refused to deify the Caesars and followed their own laws, even when they conflicted with those of the state.
But then Christians took over the state, and that stopped. The reverse didn’t happen. You didn’t see Christians rounding up High Pagans and throwing them to the lions. Indeed, by the time of Honorius, they had outlawed that sort of thing entirely.
Point is, High Pagans didn’t have Holy Wars. Christians didn’t introduce the practice. Even the Jewish precedent of Canaan was restricted to one small geographic region only. They were not instructed to conquer the world and convert it.
Now, the exigencies of war often force a harshness onto a people. Things that would not be considered in peacetime are resorted to in war, as Col. Bunny tells us. Yet, we do have just such a desperate war to compare to: the Byzantine-Persian war of the early 7th century. This war brought both the Roman/Byzantine Empire and the Sassanid Persian Empire to their knees, respectively.
In it, we see the Roman Empire initially losing ground. Egypt, Syria, Palestine and much of Anatolia is lost to the Persians. Jerusalem is sacked, the True Cross is taken as part of the war booty (whether or not it was actually the True Cross is a matter for historical debate, I suspect it was a 4th century forgery). Emperor Heraclius, however, manages to reverse the misfortunes of Rome in a campaign reaching into the heart of Mesopotamia, defeating each army sent against him, in as epic a story as Xenophon’s Anabasis. There, he compels the Persians to withdraw from their conquests and return the relics, or face destruction. This war lasted nearly 20 years, and was more devastating than anything the Germans ever achieved.
Yet even here, the war did not take on the characteristics of a Holy War. This was not Christian against Zoroastrian, it was Roman against Persian. This, even though the holiest of Christian artifacts had been taken by Persia. There was no sense of trying to convert the Persians by the sword, or of spreading Christian faith. Neither, it must be said, were the Persians interested in doing these things. In Persia, there were even Christians who fought against Rome. The Nestorian Christians tended to prefer Persian rule to that of Rome.
Of course, not long after, the Arabs show up. Sassanid Persia disappears, and Byzantium survives as a vestigial state. 300 years of archaeological and literary darkness happens. And when the historical record reappears, we see that Christianity is now practicing theocracy, Holy War, the church-sponsored persecution of heretics and infidels, etc…
Col. Bunny tells us the following:
If secular authority was broken in the frightful 300-year period it reinforces the debt that the West owes to the Church. If it was guilty of secular excess it should surprise no one who studies how political power is exercised and by whom. The Church was a pretty corrupt and un-spiritual entity at times with its own armies, even, at least, one female pope, and the split papacy of the Avignon popes.
He is, of course, entirely correct here. For whatever evils the Church may have absorbed (and whatever their origin), it is clear that without the church taking the helm, Christianity may have been entirely subsumed by Islam, and the remains of Classical civilization would have gone with it. The West owes a debt to the Church for saving it from destruction.
Nonetheless, the Church definitely absorbed these notions from somewhere. I postulate that they were passed on to it from Islam. But that begs the question, where did Islam get it? For this, let us travel to the origins of Islam.
There is a theory that much of the Quran parallels an ancient Syriac Christian lectionary. Furthermore, it is clear that Islam shares something with Judaism and Christianity (it is commonly thought of as an Abrahamic religion). Islam even considers Isa (Jesus Christ) as a great prophet, yet still a man, a sentiment shared with early Arian Christians. Yet Islam also shares a number of peculiar affinities with Judaism, specifically regarding dietary laws and the like, which Christians more or less abandoned.
Pre-Islamic Arabia was a religious stew. There were many Jews, many Christians, pagans and even some who were hybrids of these. The Ebionites, for instance, were Jews who recognized Christ, but did not fall into the usual Christian framework. One of Mohammed’s companions was said to be of Ebionite extraction.
So Mohammed, raised as a pagan, would have had knowledge of Jews and Christians, for they were often neighboring tribes. Now, Mohammed was first and foremost a politician. It is not surprising, then, that he would try to form some kind of syncretic religion (remember, the Ancient world did this a lot!) out of the pieces of Judaism, Christianity and Arabic paganism.
The only problem was, the Jewish Arabs thought Mohammed was a fraud. At first, Mohammed seems to have tried to pass as more or less Jewish himself, but he was not raised in the tradition. There were holes in his knowledge, holes that a proper prophet, as he claimed to be, should NOT have. Arab Christians, mostly of Arian extraction, seem to have cared somewhat less. Anyway, the Jews rejected him completely.
Either way, however, Mohammed was furious. He slaughtered Jewish tribes with reckless abandon. Up until this point, he seemed pretty tolerant. He wished to unite the Arabs under a common banner (his own). From this point on, it seems to be a case of “become a Muslim or die.” With Pagan Arabs and Christian Arabs more or less becoming Muslim under his banner, he had the manpower to eliminate his Jewish rivals.
For Arabs, prophethood was one of the few ways in which a warlord like Mohammed might gain lordship over ALL tribes, instead of just one or a few, as was the norm. Arab society today is still very tribal, and it is rare to see individuals who can lord over them all effectively. Such men are inevitably either warlord dictators or religious theocrats.
Mohammed was both. But he could not have the Jewish Arabs undermining his authority. So, the concept of Holy War comes to the forefront. Convert or die (or prostrate yourself and pay tribute — the origin of the Jizya). He reserves several passages for his hatred of Jews.
Oddly enough, however, Mohammed seemed somewhat more tolerant of the Christians. In the Suras, he mentioned the Romans favorably, and essentially supported them in their war against Persia, whom he regarded as polytheist. His successors, however, were not. Mohammed’s body wasn’t even cold before the first waves of Arab raiders entered the Roman Empire.
Holy War was now preached against every non-Muslim. The Quran was not fully written down and codified until this invasion was in full-swing. Even today, the Quran and the Hadith are like split personalities, preaching both peace and war, tolerance and hate, and this has become a convenient cover for Islam when it is gathering strength and wishes to appear peaceful, but also a justification for war when it is strong enough to wage it. This is the split nature of Mohammed’s quest: to unite the Arabs under his banner, through whatever means possible, peace or war. Say what you will of him, but he was a driven man.
So Islam was as much a political ideology as it was a religious one. Christianity was not, it concerned itself with matters of faith, and let one render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Secularism got its start in the High Pagan world, and was inherited by the Christian world.
Then, 300 years of contact and conflict with Islam pass, and when we see history pick back up, Christians are practicing things that look an awful lot like a dim reflection of Islamic practices. Theocracy, warlordism, Holy War, etc…
Col. Bunny may still be correct. We don’t have a time machine, and what I propose is a mere hypothesis. But either Islam inspired similar behavior on the part of Christianity, or the survival of Christianity rested on it inventing the practices independently. It may even be possible that both theories are not mutually exclusive, and that some practices came from Islam and some were invented independently. We are not likely to ever know for certain.
What is known, however, is that these things only entered the Christian world AFTER Islam, and so whether by inspiration or by forcing the hands of Christians, we do have strong evidence that Islam is responsible for the cultural and economic damage suffered by Western Europe, and by extension, the cultural damage that continues today, now in the hands of Atheist Socialists.
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.