The noted blogger Fjordman is filing this report via Gates of Vienna.
For a complete Fjordman blogography, see The Fjordman Files. There is also a multi-index listing here.
[The Jihad] has turned the civility of the United States and Europe, into a weapon and turned it against us. It has weaponized niceness, it has weaponized compassion, it has weaponized the fundamental decency of Western Civilization. It has weaponized our desire for peace. It has recognized that our goodness is no match for its savagery, and will continue to exploit that fact until we lose and they win. (…) We have become too civilized to defeat our enemies, perhaps too civilized to survive. The dagger of our decency stabs us in the back.”
— American writer Raymond Kraft
Quite a few individuals among the anti-Western crowd hate Christianity passionately. You have to be an imbecile to believe that Christianity and Islam are “almost identical,” meaning “just as bad.” There’s a world of difference between the religious founders and their followers. Yes, it’s true that the Church has at times suppressed dissenters, including scientists. This is common knowledge. But to present Christianity as exclusively anti-science is factually wrong. Christianity’s concept of a rational Creator whose logic could be uncovered and predicted provided a crucial basis for the Scientific Revolution in Europe, although some would claim to also see the hand of Roman engineering skills combined with Greek logic in the Industrial Revolution. Still, even though most of the criticism dished out against Christianity is wrong, that doesn’t mean that no just criticism can be given. Christianity has many great qualities, some of them under-appreciated today, but it does contain some ideas that can be potentially problematic when confronted with Islam.
As one poster on American anti-Jihad blog Little Green Footballs said:
Jesus was persecuted
Jesus was poor
Jesus was a prisoner
Jesus was executed by the state
Those who are persecuted are more Christ-like than those who are not
Those who are poor are more Christ-like than the rich
Those who are incarcerated are Christ-like
Those who are executed are Christ-like
One can easily pick verses out of the Gospels and some of Paul’s letters (namely Galatians) to provide scriptural justification for the second set of assertions.
Here is where the nefarious logic really gets going in these writings: To be persecuted is proof of one’s inherent goodness and sanctity regardless of why or by whom you are being persecuted. Every prisoner is the face of the persecuted Christ; every homeless person is the persecuted Christ.
This love for suffering can potentially make — and has in the past made — Christians into perfect dhimmi material. Muslims inflict suffering upon others, thus following the example of their religious founder, and Christians suffer, thus following the example of their religious founder. Cynically speaking, Islam and Christianity can thus make a perfect yin-yang couple.
Paul Fregosi says in his book Jihad in the West: “Western colonization of nearby Muslim lands lasted 130 years, from the 1830s to the 1960s. Muslim colonization of nearby European lands lasted 1300 years, from the 600s to the mid-1960s. Yet, strangely, it is the Muslims, the Arabs and the Moors to be precise, who are the most bitter about colonialism and the humiliations to which they have been subjected; and it is the Europeans who harbor the shame and the guilt. It should be the other way around.”
But why do we harbor such guilt, whether it is warranted or not? I believe this is somehow related to the Judeo-Christian strand of the West, not the Greco-Roman or Germanic ones. Bad things could be said about Julius Caesar, but suicidal guilt definitely wasn’t his major problem. Slavery has been a fact of life on all continents throughout human history. It was widespread in the Greco-Roman world and was continued for some time by the modern West but was eventually abolished, partly on specifically Christian grounds. Slavery is a dark chapter in our history and shouldn’t be denied, but we’re not the only culture which has done this. In fact, we’re the only civilization which has banned the practice worldwide. So how come we are the only ones who are supposed to feel guilty about it?
As Euripides said: “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.” Well, the West is currently stark, raving mad, and sometimes actively hates itself. We feel guilty about past colonial history or slavery, but Muslims have done the same and worse, and never produced any of the great advances for mankind that we have, yet they don’t feel even the slightest guilt over this. One component of Western self-loathing is the idea that we should we be punished for crimes, perceived or real, committed by our ancestors before we were even born. It could be argued that this idea has its roots in the Christian concept of original sin. Christian ethics have proved more durable than Christian beliefs. Even when we have supposedly left the religion behind, we still believe we have to make atonement for the sins of our forefathers, but since we no longer believe that Christ has made that sacrifice for us and washed away our sins, we end up sacrificing ourselves instead. However, I’ve noticed that Jews have elements of this, too, so maybe it’s a Judeo-Christian thing.
Whatever its cause, our guilt complex is skillfully cultivated and exploited by both external and internal enemies. Modern Westerners are told to feel vaguely guilty all the time, frequently without knowing specifically why. Needless to say, this weakens us considerably. According to the blogger Conservative Swede, Christian ethics is more unfettered in modern liberalism than it is in Christianity itself. The West, and Europe in particular, is sometimes labeled as “post-Christian,” but this is only partly true. We have scrapped the Christian religion, but we have still retained some of the moral restraints associated with it, which have been so mired in our cultural DNA that we probably don’t even think about them as Christian anymore. Yet our humanitarian ideas are secular versions of Christian compassion, and it is Christian or post-Christian compassion that compels us to keep feeding and funding the unsustainable birth rates in other cultures, even actively hostile ones.
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The Italian Renaissance philosopher Machiavelli was more attached to Roman than to Christian culture, and held the view that Christianity was totally unsuited as the basis for any empire. His ideas were echoed by the 18th century English historian Edward Gibbon, who stated in his work The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire that the preceding advances of Christianity were responsible for the downfall because it made the Romans too soft. But the eastern half of the Empire, centered around Constantinople, was just as much Christian, and yet survived for another thousand years after the fall of Rome in the West. The collapse of civil society in Western Europe in the 21st century has been preceded by the retreat of Christianity. There is a strange kind of irony in this that might have surprised Mr. Gibbon.
The 20th century Irish author C.S. Lewis, who converted to Christianity following long conversations with good friends such as writer J. R. R. Tolkien, insisted that the “turn the other cheek” idea in no way means that Christians have to be pacifists, and he was probably right. After all, if Christianity had to be a pacifist religion, Islam would have overrun the West a long time ago. There are those who believe that Marxism could only have been produced within the matrix or wider cosmology of Judeo-Christian culture.
The Canadian writer Stephen R. C. Hicks believes that the German philosopher “Hegel’s philosophy is a partly secularized version of Christian cosmology. The Christian history of the world begins with a creation or projection from God, and the world goes through a grand drama of struggle and conflict before ultimately being reunited with God. (…) For God he substitutes the Absolute, which is an impersonal mind or spirit, and it is the Absolute’s development that is the history of the world.”
According to the scholar Keith Windschuttle, “Forty years later, Karl Marx modified Hegel to argue that the underlying force of history was the class struggle which was driving human society to ever higher stages of development, of which the final plane would be Communist society. (…) The Christian theologians like St Augustine who developed the original version knew that it depended on a powerful force to act as the engine of history, in their case God. Hegel and Marx recognised something similar. Though their concepts of reason and class struggle were secular, and generated from within mankind itself, they still functioned as theoretical engines, driving everything along and bringing new stages of history into being.”
I’m not sure this view is correct, but I don’t laugh at the proposition. Marxism does require a linear view of time, where the world moves towards a specific end goal. This is implicit to Judeo-Christian thinking, but alien to, say, Hindu civilization. It is thus plausible to say that Marxism could have been produced in the West, but not in India. I have debated the thesis put forward by Max Weber that Christianity, or at least Protestant Christianity, formed the basis of capitalism, which could explain the hostility many Marxist display towards the religion. However, Socialists are hostile to the traditional culture in non-Western countries as well, because they need to break down the past in order to successfully mold the future. And Christian Socialists do exist. They tend to focus on the radical egalitarianism and the suspicion of wealth that can be found within the Gospels, and view Jesus as a revolutionary hero standing up for the oppressed.
Some Marxists have seen an early Communist society described in the work Utopia from 1516, by the English writer Thomas More. More’s work is open to several interpretations and some has viewed it as satirical, but he does describe a radically egalitarian society where private property doesn’t exist. More was a devout Catholic, and may have been inspired by the communal life of the monastic movement. Of course, if you really want to, you can trace a blueprint for an early Communist Utopia all the way back to Plato and ancient Greece.
It would be more than a little ironic if ideas that may ultimate have been partly derived from a Judeo-Christian or wider, Western cosmology have later been used to harass Christians, but it would hardly be the first time such a thing has happened. Human rights, initially an outgrowth of the Judeo-Christian West, are now used to prevent Western nations from upholding their borders and from retaining their Judeo-Christian heritage. It is possible to argue that our one-world Utopians are secularized versions of Christian universalism.
This thesis gets strengthened by the statements of Michael Gerson, a speech writer and advisor for U.S. President George W. Bush, in the Washington Post :
The Christian faith teaches that our common humanity is more important than our nationality. That all of us, ultimately, are strangers in this world and brothers to the bone; and all in need of amnesty. This belief does not dictate certain policies in a piece of legislation, but it does forbid rage and national chauvinism. And this is worth a reminder as well.
From two blog posts by Conservative Swede on the subject:
Today the European Union no longer represents Europe, it represents the European Union and its commission and its many politicians who profit from it. It’s a hungry beast that need to be fed, that needs to grow, so that’s why it consider Turkey being such a juicy steak. Likewise with the Catholic Church. It is already predominantly a Third World organization, and therefore in all aspects already represent those interests. As an open border lobby group for more mass immigration from the Third World. Urging its adherents to do good Christian deeds with regards to the ‘poor’ and ‘vulnerable’ illegal immigrants. All in all, as bad as any other universalist NGOs we know about.
The ‘save the world’ mentality leads to false paths such as global warming activism, open border policies, and providing Third World people with Western money and medicine to facilitate their exponential population explosion. All against the common good for this planet. The ‘saving the world’ mentality leads in the opposite direction from the issues about saving ourselves, such as national sovereignty, law enforcement and civilizational defense. There is no ourselves for the Catholic Church, so it is an impossibility for this organization to do the shift from ‘saving the world’ to ‘saving ourselves.’ Protestantism and Orthodox Christianity are differently politically organized, so they stand a chance.
I use the concept of European civilization as an umbrella concept for what is generally referred to as the Roman/Greek civilization and the Western civilization. And in spite of how things are today, under the surface we have the many layers of history with us. When I look around I see Roman cultural DNA in so many places. Another reason for using the concept of European civilization is to explicitly include the Orthodox countries.
Conservative Swede’s solution to this is for Europeans to reconnect to our Roman heritage. CS is close to Niccolo Machiavelli with his emphasis on the Roman rather than the Christian aspects of Western culture. I still believe there are good aspects of Christianity that are worth keeping, and I believe people need religion. The Catholic historian Christopher Dawson wrote in his book Progress and Religion in 1929:
It is the religious impulse which supplies the cohesive force which unifies a society and a culture. The great civilizations of the world do not produce the great religions as a kind of cultural by-product; in a very real sense the great religions are the foundations on which the great civilizations rest. A society which has lost its religion becomes sooner or later a society which has lost its culture.
The loss of our traditional religion in Europe has left us prey for all kinds of stupid quasi-religions, threatening heretics with Hell and promising Paradise if we follow them. It can sometimes be useful to think in terms of traditional religions and political religions. Political religions are belief systems based mainly upon faith, a total framework for understanding the world, and have their own set of angels and demons, yet they refuse to recognize themselves as religions and thus claim to be above the scrutiny befitting religions. At least the traditional religions had the benefit of being put to the test over centuries.
Even though Christianity has been highly important in shaping our culture, and should be respected for this, it is not synonymous with Western civilization. Judaism has contributed significantly, too. Moreover, there are many countries that are Christian, but not Western, and the first recognizably Western men, such as Socrates and Aristotle, came from ancient, pre-Christian Greece. We should not discount the impact of the Greco-Roman heritage on European identity nor should we forget the pagan Germanic influences, which frequently tend to be left out. These impulses were important in shaping who we are, and we may well need a touch of Roman ruthlessness and Germanic fighting skills in addition to Christian compassion if we are to survive the challenges that now confront us.