French    German    Spain    Italian    Arabic    Chinese Simplified    Russian

Western Civilisation

Join Gab (@StFerdinandIII) Western Civilisation was and is superior to anything Islam has developed.  Islam has not aided in the development of the modern world; in fact civilisation has only been created in spite of Islam.  Raising the alarm about the fascism called Submission since 2000.  

Back

vs. Christianity - Recent Articles

Christian Persecution in the Philippines.

The Muslim Jihad is a world wide phenomenon.

Bookmark and Share

 

Persecution kills 150,000 Christians every year - UCA News 

 

Christian persecution comprises 340 million or more Christians under attack around the world for their faith.  It is the largest persecuted group on the planet.  Thousands are killed every year for their faith and many thousands of Church buildings are attacked, burnt, defaced or assaulted in some manner.  In Nigeria alone, every year, Muslims murder some 5.000 Christians, rape countless women and attack, in many cases burning down, over 80 churches.  That is just one country.  The fake media deem this to be a ‘tribal conflict’ with the Muslim Fulani tribesmen described as ‘militants’ who by accident target Christians and their churches.  This is just one country.  The Philippines has seen Muslim violence against Christians since the 16th century and it shows no sign of abating.  Quite the opposite.  But not many know this either.

 

Muslims in the Philippines

The Philippines is comprised of over 7,000 islands, making governance a challenge. The Filipino people hail from hundreds of different tribes, each with unique languages, customs, and religions. The peoples are divided and collectively known as Christians, Muslims, or Lumads (indigenous tribes with their own religions).

 

Historical records show that Islam entered the lower islands during the 13th century. These areas were self-governed as sultanates, with Islamic ideals and indigenous statecraft being well established.(1) Spain, seeking riches in the wealthy epicentre of the southeast spice trade, took control of the islands as a colony in the 16th century. They took not only governmental control but also religious control. They converted the population to Roman Catholicism, as they had in Latin America. However, the sultanates were well established with wealth and weaponry and fiercely opposed the Spanish military forces for the entirety of the Spanish colonization period of 300 years.

 

When the United States acquired the country from Spain in 1898 under the Treaty of Paris. The sultanates opposed were included in the treaty as they viewed themselves as autonomous governments. Fighting ensued. In 1913, the U.S. succeeded in bringing Mindanao and Sulu in as part of the American-Philippine colony. The American government created a homestead policy that encouraged northern Christian land tenants and sharecroppers to move south to Mindanao. This, they hoped, would solve two problems: 1) make the southern country more diverse and 2) curb the communist insurgency that the poverty of the north was fuelling. The policy failed because the Muslim southerners reacted with violence against both the government and their Christian neighbours. It also failed to halt the communist insurgency.

 

Disgruntled Muslim residents formed the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). In the 1960s, they rebelled against the American government. The fighting continued after the end of American colonization. Thousands of Christians were displaced and murdered in the rebellion. Like many rebellions, the MNLF sought equality. They cited grievances of inequality between Muslims and Christians, with Christians being favoured. They wanted more access and control over economic development and resources on the island and the return of lands from those moving from the north.

 

When innocent lives are taken, it is the government’s job to protect the people. President Marcos met the rebels with a heavy-handed military response. This inadvertently strengthened the MNLF’s membership numbers and resolve. The pervasive belief of both politicians and scholars was that the Muslim rebels only wished to reclaim their autonomy and ancestral lands. With these, they thought, the violence would end.

 

In 1976, Libya intervened, and the Tripoli Agreement between the Philippine Government and the MNLF was established. It gave political autonomy to four provinces of the southern region. However, these new governments were weak. Many Muslim rebels did not agree with the terms of the new agreement. They rejected the original MNLF and created factions. The newly established Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the MNLF Reformists began to target their former members. For the first time, the violence was not only against non-Muslim residents and the government but now included Muslim-on-Muslim violence. Again, the Tripoli Agreement failed to meet its objectives, and the violence continued.

 

In 1986, seeing that the Tripoli Agreement was not enough to end the violence, the country adopted a new Constitution recognizing the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. The four included provinces established weak and ill-founded governments which were no match for the violence. In 1992 and 1996, new agreements under President Ramos were reached to establish zones of peace and development. It allowed MNLF fighters to join the Philippine Army and police or receive provisions for socio-economic, cultural, and educational assistance. The national government helped to establish a functioning government with a legislative assembly and administration to oversee the provinces. It allowed for Sharia law and representation in the national government. Muslim schools were established in accordance with Islamic tradition. Politicians and scholars hailed this agreement as being a champion of culture and inclusion. Everyone agreed that, finally, the violence would end. Then the long-standing leader of the MNLF attacked the national army after he failed to be re-elected. The fighting resumed once again.

 

With each subsequent President, new treaties, agreements, and concessions were given to the southern provinces, and still, the violence ensued. In 2014, a “final” peace agreement was reached, which was supposed to end the violence once and for all. As recent events show, violence still rages on the island today, and Christians are often the targets.

 

The Islamic State entered the Philippines in 2014, and now these Muslim Filipino terrorists are connected to ISIS, ISIL, and the Abu Shayyaf Group. These international terror networks provide funding and training. The Philippines has been called a terrorist breeding ground by the National Security Agency because of the enormous numbers of “home-grown” terrorists it has produced.  They attack not only the Philippines but surrounding Southeast Asian countries as well. The government has an ongoing struggle to maintain order against terrorist groups. “The Philippines is not a safe haven of terrorists. We do not breed terrorists. Rather we protect our citizens from them in order for our citizens to live in a peaceful and orderly society,” said armed forces spokesman Colonel Medel Aguilar in a recent interview.”(2)

 

Filipinos are not the only ones at risk. Anyone visiting the Philippines, including Americans, is at risk for kidnapping, rape, forced conversion, and even death, as seen in the 2000 kidnappings at Dos Palmas. Terrorists seized Marawi city in 2017. The siege took five months for the Philippine army to put down. This one event displaced 400,000 people.(3)

 

The centuries-long struggle against colonial rule has morphed into terrorism. The initial reasons for resistance are barely recognizable in today’s Mindanao. The struggle is no longer about ancestral lands and cultural identity but as a means for extremists to terrorize peaceful people.


Lisa Navarrette has studied at both Roosevelt and Harvard Universities and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Law & Policy at Liberty University. She writes for several human rights organizations and hopes her writing will have an impact on securing justice and human rights for all people.

[1] https://www.niu.edu/clas/cseas/_pdf/lesson-plans/topical-overviews/mindanao-peace.pdf

[2] https://www.ucanews.com/news/hundreds-flee-as-philippine-army-fights-communists/99023

[3] https://www.acaps.org/country/philippines/crisis/mindanao-conflict

Islam is not a philosophy of peace but of violence

The opposite of Christianity.

Bookmark and Share


In the politically correct universe of the blind and uninformed many mantras are endlessly recycled that are so false, they elicit disbelief and anguish. Such a myth is the curious and unsubstantiated statements by politicians, media analysts and non-Muslims that Islam is a religion of peace and harmony. Even a cursory glance through Islamic history makes this statement a mockery. It is insulting that politician’s trip over themselves, in order to ingratiate the media and buy politically correct votes, to run to the local mosque and then state that Islam is a wonderful philosophy of gentleness and brotherhood.  

Islam, the ideology, the philosophy, the autarchic life controlling force, is the problem and it is undeniably a strain of ideological fascism. There is no ‘terrorism’.  There is however the Muslim Jihad, based on the Koran and Muhammad’s own example. In reading Islamic history and in discussing its violent, warlike and immature character we can make three concrete points supported by a range of experts -- theologians’ authors, historians and political scientists, both Islamic and non-Islamic – that clearly indicate Islam’s problematic and fascist nature.

First, Islam [meaning submission] is the very antithesis of the gospel of Christianity and the Christian appeal to charity, private property, equality, individual responsibility, private property rights, respect for women and the poor, compassion and social harmony. It is a religion of coercion, forced submission, repression, and control. It is in fact almost diametrically opposed in its philosophy to Christianity.

Second, Islam does not separate Church and State leading to state-controlled societies that destroy individualism and freedom.

Third Islam has never produced social, economic, technological or scientific advances [contrary to mainstream media propaganda] that have improved the life of its subjects. Thus, its domestic polity is a disaster.

To quell internal discontent Islam relies on external aggression. Jihad in Islam [Dar al Islam] has nothing to do with spiritual attainment but the forced conversion of non-believers [Dar al Harb]. All non-Muslims are in the house of Al Harb and they must submit to Islam. External aggression and destruction of non-believers is a necessity in failed societies. Otherwise, internal factors will cause the society to implode.

The above general points can be juxtaposed against Christianity and the West, which have given the world the entire modern political – economic structure that has led to vast improvements in the lives of everyone. Philosophy, science, business, education, charity, medicine, evolution, constitutional democracy and rational inquiry, were invented, improved upon and implemented in the West.  The fact that Western civilisation is imploding today only reinforces the vital fact that history presents.  Without a strong Christian belief, societies quickly slide back into oppression (Corona is just one example), paganism (Gaia-nature worship) and uncivilised, irrational theologies (gender fascism and the philosophies and stories of ‘scientism’). 

Mohammad and Islam

One first needs to look at the tenets of the Koran and of Islam itself, and especially its founder – Mohammed. There is a problem with the entire religion of Islam and its construct and its stems from its founder - a man who was not a prophet, had no compassion or love, but was lustful, sinful and violent. Mohammad was in fact the exact polar opposite of Christ. He was not a man of God but a political leader who used theology to conquer Arabia and bring various tribes under his control. His rule was spread not by love or compassion but purely by killing and war.

Mohammad through peaceful means had converted about 70 people in Mecca by 622 AD to his concept of Islam [submission to Allah]. He was however driven out of Mecca by those who saw his new theology as a threat to the city’s paganism. After fleeing to Medina Mohammad rejected peaceful methods and turned to violence [Sale, Life of Mohammad, p. 20]. Al Dashti an Iranian Muslim and scholar of Islam states, “After the move to Medina….he became a relentless warrior, intent on spreading his religion by the sword, and a scheming founder of a state.”[A.J. Schmidt, Great Divide, p. 14]. Christ in comparison was unlike Mohammad. Christ was a missionary, aiding the poor, the sick, the female, and the enslaved. He never engaged in conflict, war, or violence, nor did he create polygamous marriages, raid caravans or torture ‘non-believers’, take slaves, or butcher those who opposed his authority. All of these things and more, Mohammad did.

For Mohammad war was the means to build his state. Islam is not a religion but a state. Its creation was founded on war. For example Al-Islam.org recounts the crucial battle of Badr, in which Mohammad gained control of the local Arab tribes. During the battle Mohammed "took a handful of gravel when the battle was extremely heated [and] threw it at the faces of the pagans saying 'May Your faces be disfigured.' " According to the same page, "This battle laid the foundation of the Islamic State and made out of the Muslims a force to be reckoned with by the dwellers of the Arabic Peninsula." Islam was built in the fires and blood of war. Its ethos is imbued with this martial spirit.

University of Chicago professor Fred Donner, in his book The Early Islamic Conquests, theorizes that there may be something intrinsic to Islam that spurs a conquering attitude: "[T]here is the possibility that the ideological message of Islam itself filled some or all of the ruling elite with the notion that they had an essentially religious duty to expand the political domain of the Islamic state as far as practically possible; that is, the elite may have organized the Islamic conquest movement because they saw it as their divinely ordained mission to do so." Islam’s aggression is manifest today in terror and repression, but it has been attacking the West and Christianity for 1400 years.

Islam’s Aggression and Violence

Islam has been at war with the West since 632 AD. Islam expanded quickly by overrunning tired, isolated or small scattered kingdoms in a form of blitzkrieg, subjugating within 100 years [632-732], Arabia, the Levant, Syria, parts of Byzantium, Persia, Egypt, North Africa, Spain, Sicily and parts of the Balkans. Islam was not spread through Hallmark cards, flowers, chocolates and group hugs. It was carried by fast moving, fanatical Arab horsemen, employing great speed, overwhelming strength and an incredible aversion to pain or fear, in their quest for booty, trade, plunder, gold, women, slaves and the benefices of going to heaven as a martyr for Allah. It was a fearsome mix of fanaticism, and speed. Most so-called ‘converts’ to Islam were forced to accept Allah on the pain of death, higher taxes, or the lure of women and the spoils of plunder. There is no evidence that the conquered people were spiritually willing to accept the house of Islam. Other factors were at issue to coerce ‘conversions’. Islam was spread by guile, by war and by force.

Indeed, Islam has never stopped attacking Europe. Defeated at Tours France by Charles Martel and the Franks in 732 AD, Islam recoiled but recovered, and quickly overran in succeeding centuries, Christian states in the Balkans, Central Europe, Italy and of course Byzantium itself [1453]. The Turks and Islam tried on various occasions to destroy Vienna and Christian Austria, Poland and Germany ultimately failing in 3 decisive battles: Malta in 1565, Lepanto in 1571 and Vienna in 1683.  

A few Knights under the remarkable leadership of de la Valette, along with the thousands of brave Maltese militia annihilated Suleiman’s II invading navy and army saved Rome.  Lepanto was a major naval victory that confined Islam to the eastern Mediterranean and Vienna was the beginning of the end of the Ottoman empire in Europe and started the unravelling of the Islamic empire. Coupled with the ejection of the Moors from Spain in 1492, Islam suffering from inferior troops, materiel, methods and leadership succumbed to a rather limited and unwieldy Christian counterattack. For the past 300 years it has been in constant retreat against the West in economics, science, politics, military power, artistic endeavours and wealth creation. Yet even today Islam weak, neglected and rotted, still persists in attacking Christians, Western nations and targets from the Sudan, across the Near East and in Europe and America.

But what about the Crusades?

Islamic apologists regard the Crusades as infinitely more evil than the 1400 year war Islam has waged against Europe, Christianity and the West. Such a viewpoint is entirely nescient. The Crusades running from about 1095 to about 1295 were Christian Europe’s second [Charles Martel at Tours being the first] and rather timid response to centuries of Islamic aggression. For 400 years, Islam had conquered Christian countries, enslaved and murdered thousands of Christians, expelled in 1197 the Jews from Spain, disrupted trade through piracy, and pillaged monasteries, churches and private property in a lust for gold and wealth, including the rape of Rome. They had invaded countries and subjugated and slaughtered subjects that had no appetite or interest in Islamic theology simply because they offered value in slave material or plunder.

Yet the crude and inaccurate picture of the Crusades persists. It was Europe’s first concerted response to Islamic attacks and involved the outfitting and transport of thousands of men across the Mediterranean – no mean feat of logistics and organization. It was intended to protect Christians who were being persecuted, travelers and traders from the West who were at times being enslaved or killed, and to protect the pilgrimage of Christian faithful to Jerusalem. The Palestine as well was originally a Jewish – Christian area and was never peacefully subjected by the Arabs. Its populations were either non-Islamic or in the case of the most ambitious, immoral or opportunistic, Islamic to avoid the non-believer tax, or engage in the political and economic affairs of the Islamic state.

Though many Crusaders committed un-Christian acts, it is hard to argue that they were unprovoked attempts to rightfully reclaim Christian lands. Islam for 4 centuries, had attacked, enslaved, killed and raped various parts of the Levant and Europe. Without this provocation it is most probable that Christian forces would never have invaded the Islamic lands. Islam declared an imperialist war on Christian states, long before the Christians took the offensive in an effort to stave off the Islamification of Europe. Such historical details usually escape the notice of Western apologists.

Islam the Koran and its Teachings

The personal philosophy of Mohammad embedded in his Islamic theology demands violence. This violence is directed not only against non-believers but also women. The widely used veil and burqa [in use since pagan times in most cultures] denotes the woman as private property. Not wearing a veil suggests a woman is a prostitute. Polygamy is the manifestation of the Islamic view of the woman as a pleasure toy for men, and an agent of domestic support. Polygamy and veiling women are expressions of centralized control and forceful violence. As one historian states: "This is why historically Christianity is associated with political freedom. Those who govern themselves morally do not need a strong central government power to maintain social order. Conversely Islam for all its high moral teachings, enforces them with external control."[Gene Veith, ‘Heart Problems’, World, May 3 2003, p. 13]

In Islam women are deemed to be a threat to society and are thus controlled. As Mohammad himself stated, “A woman comes in the image of the devil, and leaves in the image of the devil.” [Fadl, God’s Name, p. 275] This lack of equality, justice and compassion imbues and activates Islamic thought. Such precepts contradict Christianity.

Islamic violence extends of course to non-believers as well. The Koran has innumerable passages inciting holy war and violent Jihad. It promotes the killing of non-believers and the use of force to destroy those who will not convert. Contrary to Western apologists Jihad has nothing to do with improving one’s spirituality. It is directed at the conversion or extirpation of non-believers. In the Bible the Old Testament adjures its people to fight against specific enemies of the Israeli tribe. It does not command the Jews or Christians to exterminate non-believers. Importantly as well there is not one line inciting violence in the New Testament. The same cannot be said for the Koran, the supposed book of peace. Koranic text inciting violence would include:

“kill the disbelievers wherever we find them" (2:191)”;

"fight and slay the Pagans, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem" (9:5);

"slay or crucify or cut the hands and feet of the unbelievers, that they be expelled from the land with disgrace and that they shall have a great punishment in world hereafter" (5:34).

“And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out ….persecution is severer than slaughter, …then slay them, such is the consequence of the unbelievers” [Sura 2:191]

‘Therefore let those fight in the way of Allah, who sell this world’s life for hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah, then he be slain or he be victorious. We shall grant him a mighty reward.” [Sura 4:74]

‘…then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper’ [Sura 4:89]

“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them’ [Sura 8:12]

“Fight those who do not believe in Allah…nor follow the religion of truth….until they pay the tax in acknowledgement of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.” [Sura 9:29]

[Islam the Great Divide, Appendix A, others@http://www.bible.ca/islam/islam-kills-jihad.htm

The above passages hardly sound like a theology of peace. I challenge anyone to find similar passages in the New Testament. Islam has little to do with compassion, charity, equality, love, respect for the poor, respect for women or individual responsibility. It is a religion of power, force, and coercion.

Some wits will of course point to verses in the Koran that discuss peace. First peace in the Islamic sense of the word means submission, not peace as Westerners understand it. Second according to the Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society and others, compassionate Koranic verses come from the time before Mohammed seized absolute power. After Mohammad achieved absolute dictatorship his methods [violence in lieu of preaching] and his words changed drastically. As already discussed Mohammad was a vindictive, violent man who used killing to subjugate and spread his political doctrine.

Peace has never been at the root of Islamic expression. Fear, anger, hatred, and envy permeate Islamic belief. Bernard Lewis a foremost expert on Islam claims that for Muslims:

“What is truly evil and unacceptable is the domination of infidels over true believers. For true believers to rule misbelievers is proper and natural, since this provides for the maintenance of the holy law, and gives the misbelievers both the opportunity and the incentive to embrace the true faith. But for misbelievers to rule over true believers is blasphemous and unnatural, since it leads to the corruption of religion and morality in society, and to the flouting or even the abrogation of God's law."

In fact the intolerance for non-believers is so stringent, that Islam is incapable of understanding, using or accepting outside influences and viewpoints. As historian Paul Johnson argued in the National Review, "in all countries where Islamic law is applied, converts, whether compulsory or not, who revert to their earlier faith, are punished by death." It is hard to imagine such great intolerance and fear of other thoughts, passions and ideals. It signifies a state owned fascist representation of the world in which no dissent can be accepted. When viewed historically and when analyzed objectively it is clear that Islam is not a religion of diversity, debate, reform, introspection or tolerance. It is myopic, monolithic, and intolerant of dissent or doubt.

Church and State

Nowhere is Islamic intolerance more obvious than in the melding of the Church and State. Islam is more a political doctrine of control than a religion. There is very little real spirituality that emanates from Islam in which equality, respect, charity, compassion, responsibility and love are honoured. Islam demands and orders submission. This political ideal necessitates the control by the State over theology. Christianity is totally different. It renders to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God and to the self what God and self-demand.

Islam does not render anything to anyone. The person is submerged in Islamic submission. Such submission takes not only the form of obedience to Koranic doctrine, but to the interpreters of the Koran – be they mullahs, dictators or fascists. Islam is the perfect ideological cover for fascism. Much like Nazi paganism Islam elevates the group over the individual, conformity over individualism, tradition over science, ritual over dynamism and communitarianism over free will. Mohammad himself declared that he was not only a prophet [untrue] but also the ruler of Islam. The prophet acted out political and military decisions much as any secular ruler did. Mohammad decreed and most Muslims accept, that Allah wants the state and the church to be one. This is indicated by the Sharia law – the law of the Islamic state that is binding on all citizens.

Without a separation of Church and State society is fascist in its organization and religion becomes a state program, not of spirituality, but of control. Islam is the perfect embodiment of this pagan ideal – the destruction of the individual and the elevation of the group and state.

Islam’s Economic and Intellectual Failure

In his book ‘Why I am not a Muslim’ former Muslim Ibn Warraq states that, ‘There is a persistent myth that Islam encouraged science.’ [273] He further states that Muslims have always been suspicious of knowledge for its own sake, and intellectual debate and inquiry is deemed to be a danger to the faith [273]. The general myth is that Islam was a great centre of scientific and cultured advancement. This is untrue. Compared to the Christian era of scientific, technological and intellectual advancement [800 – present day], Islam has contributed very little to the corpus of important advancements in any area. There is no comparing the West’s contribution from Francis Bacon I through the Enlightenment and various western economic and scientific revolutions with Islam. Simply put Islam has not produced anything of great value.

Most Islamic apologists point to the era of 700-1100 as one of glorious Arab achievement. But on close inspection this is false. Science in this era of Islam was based on translations of Greek and Syriac texts, not on independent empirical induction – a method that was a Western invention [see Francis Bacon I]. Second, Nestorian Christians were the ones who translated the Greek texts on science, philosophy and math. This was true in Spain as well as in the Near East. Jews were also prominent in translating and interpreting ancient Greek texts.

Translating texts and using Greek ideas while noble does not constitute great advancement. Arabs in the 9th century did not improve on the works of the Greeks. They added nothing new. Nor did they accept for over 200 years the Indian numerals and algebra which make higher mathematics possible. As one analyst writes, ‘In general the achievement of the Arabs in pure mathematics is below the Greeks in geometry and below the Hindus in algebra.’[Singer, A Short History of Scientific Ideas]. Math is the language of science and the lack of advancement by the Muslims in math, meant a corresponding lack of scientific innovation. In medicine, agriculture, astronomy, architecture and philosophy Arab methods during their ‘golden age’ were either the same as, or inferior to the ancient Greeks or Romans. Even in ‘Dark’ Europe the Christians had learnt to build a harness around a horses shoulder which was a landmark invention in agricultural development and transport. Such a simple idea eluded the ‘advanced’ Arabs.

The Muslims have never discovered any scientific laws nor did they improve upon Greek medicine [Islam forbade the dissection of bodies and corporeal empiricism]. The Arabs never discovered: Kepler’s 3 laws of astronomy; Newton’s law of gravity; Pascal’s law of liquid pressure; Ohm’s law in electricity; Boyle’s law in chemistry; Kelvin’s absolute zero; Faraday’s electromagnetic induction, Dalton’s atomic weights, Lavoisier’s law of energy conservation, or Mendel’s hereditary laws. Muslims never discovered; bacteria, chloroform, disease inoculation, blood circulation, antiseptics, or cadaver dissection. All of the above came from the Judeo-Christian tradition of inquiry, experiment, induction and rational logic built up patiently over 2000 years.

Such backwardness in the theology and statism of Islam now shows itself in today’s world with broken economies, fascist governments, slave trading, female enslavement, the wanton destruction of outside influences and knowledge and a group of nations outside of main global trading patterns. Economic impotence, military incompetence, political corruption, and mind-numbing education has led to ossified rigid societies incapable of free thought and inquiry and hence, mired in poverty. Islam thus finds recourse in violence and terror. The modern expressions of Islamic terror – rogue states, Hamas, Al Qaeda, Hussein, Arafat, Nasserism, Khomeneism, the Taliban and so on – are not historical oddities. They are very much part of the troubled, demented, and violent statist program of fascist theology that has been hammering away at the West for 1400 years.

The Rise of Western Christendom, by Peter Brown (and the entry of Islam)

Triumph and Diversity, 200 A.D. – 1000 A.D.

Bookmark and Share

 

The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, A ...

 

The Christianisation of Europe and large parts of Asia and Africa is accepted as a fait accompli, an inevitability, an unstoppable trend.  As Peter Brown’s very large, comprehensive, and dense book, which is fantastically written, and which illumines the opacity of the late ancient world, clearly presents, this was far from true.  The ‘geographical spread’ of Christianity, to quote Brown, is astonishing in itself.  The cultural adaptation across lands and societies is simply remarkable and an untold tale.  How did it happen?  Why did it happen? 

 

This triumphant diversity and even tolerance of the pagan and non-Christian is an important reason why the religion was able to spread and conquer previous cults and paganisms.  As Brown states, ‘What we now call a distinctively European Christianity was unthinkable in the year 500 A.D.  Even the notion of Europe itself only took on its modern meaning in around the year 650 A.D.  By the year 1000 A.D., what could be called a European Christianity had only recentl been established, with the conversion of Germany, of parts of Eastern Europe, and of Scandinavia.’  Christianity adapted, proved itself morally and socially superior, subsumed and conquered the literally hundreds of existing paganisms.  As Brown relates, every region presents a different story.  Western Christendom has a very distinct history than its brethren in Near Eastern lands, or further afield in Central Asia, and Western China.  How did a small Christian sect, numbering a few score in 35 A.D. manage to organise, coalesce and conquer Europe and huge swathes of Africa and Asia? 

 

Christian ‘Europe’ reaches far back into the past.  It is built on and is infused by millennia of pagan beliefs.  Socio-religious narratives, the immaterial, discussions over the soul, purgatory and hell, have deep antecedents in pagan culture and philosophy.  Cultural mores and beliefs would have greatly impacted all Christian practices and beliefs.  Christianity cannot be neatly divorced or disconnected from the age-old beliefs and certainties of the societies it entered, comingled with and eventually dominated.  This is why Christianity can look quite different depending on what region or area one investigates. 

 

As Brown states, ‘the warring Christian churches of Asia and Africa turned the Middle East into a vast echo chamber, resounding with lively conversations.  The literature of every church was characterised by debates with real or imagine rivals….it was the cyber highway of the age….The men who contributed…cared deeply about education.  Based in the city of Nisibis…Nestorian Christians…created an entire new system of Christian schooling…They also cared about the Greco-Roman past.’  Plato is clearly found within St. Augustine and neo-Platonic discussions on the soul and the immaterial world beyond the living.  Aristotle infused naturalism and Scholasticism.  Roman literature was analysed and discussed.  There was a continuity within the Mediterranean world from 200 A.D. to 1000 A.D in which Christian ideals were blended with Greco-Roman.  Civilisation continued and was improved.

 

Then when we the entry of Islam.  As Brown writes:  ‘The roots of Islam lay in an Arabian peninsula that was by no means a bleak and isolated desert.  The Hijaz, in which…Muhammad received his message, was part of great echo chamber of religious ideas that had developed throughout the Middle East in the late sixth and early seventh centuries.  We have also realised the zet with which the earl Muslims appropriated and adapted the artistic and technical skills of the regions which they conquered.’ 

 

If one reads the Koran, you will see that it is a purloined, and incorrect appropriation of Jewish and Christian canonical texts.  It is also quite pagan, given that the Al Lah of Mecca is Baal who is a moon deity, a common cult in the Near East.  What Muhamamd did was combine the aspects of miraculous and divinely sanctioned mono-theism with existing Meccan Al Lah worship.  The ‘echo chambers’ of articulated and emotional Christian argumentation would have been carried along the trade routes from the Levant to Christian communities in Arabia.  Muhammad was a caravan owner and would have encountered these lively debates and ideas.

 

As Brown recounts, the Muslims defined themselves in opposition to the Christians.  This led to two ideals within Islam.  The first was related to the ascetic, retired Monk, who denied the world and devoted himself (or herself in the case of Nuns), to God.  There are no communities of Nuns or Monks in Islam.  The second was more prominent and important, namely the ethos of the warrior Jihadi and soldier for Muhammad and the Al Lah of Mecca. 

 

“The Muslim idealisation of death on the battlefield…arrived at through a conscious wish on the part of Muslims to define themselves against non-Muslims – especially against Christians…..What they found was a hard doctrine.  The notion of Jihad repelled Jews and Christians.  Ever since, it has played a major role in the negative image of Islam.”

 

Jihad was the Muslim ethos of choice.  It was not just to ‘oppose’ Christian monasticism and ideological ferment, which is what Brown offers.  Jihad was practical.  Muhammad needed men to conquer, and the allure of booty, women, and land was paramount.  Muhammad was no prophet, but an empire builder.  Monotheism and the vanquishing of all pagan idols bar the Al Lah or moon deity was paramount for unification of diverse tribes and clans.  The Christian and Jewish communities in Arabia and beyond were wealthy and advanced in comparison to the penury of most Arab pagans.  The 7th century Jihad against Christianity in Arabia and beyond by the cult of Muhammad, has parallels with the Viking onslaughts against Britain and northern France in the 9th century.  Riches, an advanced and prosperous civilisation, sex slavery and pillage were the inspirational objectives of the Al Lah cult and Muhammad.  You need to pay brigands, gangs and mercenaries.  The spoils of war (to quote a Koranic chapter heading) is how you accomplish this.  The theological foundation of Muhammadanism was war and subservience to Al Lah and Muhammad.