[lit-ideas] Re: The de-islamization of Europe

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2007 14:04:16 -0800

You are quite wrong about Christianity and Liberal Democracy.  I would be
surprised if any modern (legitimate) historian denied the association
between the two.  As to atheism, that is not an intrinsic part of Liberal


Christianity (although it is difficult to speak of a unified entity) often
finds its Liberal-Democratic child recalcitrant, but only a few parts,
denominations, distance themselves from it.  Moral suasion is what the
churches typically pursue.  


You discuss some things that are not inherent in Liberal Democracy like
rationalism.  If by "rationalism" you are using the usual definition, in
which the criterion of truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive,
I fail to see that it is necessarily opposed to Christianity.  Two of the
three most famous rationalists, Leibniz, Descartes and Spinoza were
Christian and the third pretended to be.


I don't think you have the right perspective about the Christian view of
Church and State.  I know of no major Christian denomination which argues
that the state should be made subservient to the church.  What you may be
thinking of is that if there were a law passed which clearly conflicted with
some Biblical principle or instruction and a Christian had to choose, he
would obey God rather than man, but there has been no law that qualifies in
that regard.  The abortion controversy doesn't qualify although many
Christians may think it does.  It would only qualify if a law was passed
like the one in China which forces parents to abort some of their children.
But that is not the law in the US.  No mother needs to abort her child if
she doesn't want to.


I don't know where you obtained your theological training, but it seems
deficient.  We know quite a lot about early Christianity and it isn't as you
describe it.


You're saying that "the core ideas of Islam is what Christianity should be,"
sort of gets tangled up in what follows.  You say that Islam is what
Christianity should be and that it was developed of "Christian and Jews
ideas from 700 AD, well after the original Christians had restructure their
ideas under Greek philosophy."  I suspect that's not what you intended to
say.  You probably intended to say what the Islamists do, namely that
Mohammad got the true idea of Christianity from the local Christian sects
and that later under the influence of the Roman Church it was corrupted.
That argument falls apart when we learn that what Mohammad has in mind was a
local heretical Christian group which has long since ceased to exist.  


Gad, Andreas, you are sounding just like an Islamist!  I have studied both
Christian Theology and to a lesser extent Islamic Theology and there is no
comparison.  Christianity is a religion of belief, of emulating the perfect
son of God, of wrestling with ones motivation and trying to get it right,
but accepting forgiveness when one doesn't.  It is not a religion of
violence or anger.  The Christian should turn the other cheek if insulted.
Yes, there have been wars among Christian nations, but there is nothing in
Christian theology that urges such wars.  Leaders and peoples make up their
own minds about such things.  That is why at a certain point in Christian
history, in 1648, the Peace of Westphalia could effectively put an end to
Christian nations fighting against each other.  There was nothing in
Christian Theology like the political violent Jihad of Islam.  It seems very
doubtful that Islam can overcome this defect in their religion and achieve
what has been achieved in the West through Christianity.


Well, yes, I've read several Islamists claiming all sorts of things for
those brilliant Arabs of old.  It reminds me of the USSR claiming that the
Russians had really invented virtually everything of value in the world -
their claims were posted for years in Western papers and laughed at.  And
the USSR had quite a bit more justification for their claims than the
Islamic Islamists.


Well, you don't have Huntington's Civilizations quite right, but I think I
take your meaning.  If you are saying that there are many things about the
West that are not all that admirable, I would agree.  But our ability to
change that is dependent upon us.  Liberal Democracy is of such a nature
that we could collectively choose to be other than we are.  Maybe the things
you describe are too seductive at the present time.  Maybe it will be
difficult to change, but there is nothing preventing us from changing.  The
way the Islamists would prevent it is to create a tyranny and lop things off
if people did many of the things we do now in the West.   Yeah, I disapprove
of a lot of these things myself, but I don't want any tyrannical government
to take over and start burning adulterers or lopping of hands of thieves or
heads of blasphemers.  I'd rather just keep on saying tch, tch, tch and
hoping for the day we become more mature.




-----Original Message-----
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Andreas Ramos
Sent: Saturday, January 20, 2007 11:28 AM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: The de-islamization of Europe


> Islam, the way it has been defined by a majority of Muslims, rejects

> society and Liberal Democracy.  Christianity gave rise to modern society

> Liberal Democracy.


Wow. The Pope in Rome came up with rationalism and liberal democracy?


Nobody could possibly say that Christianity encouraged modern society or
liberal democracy. 

The Catholic Church fought tooth and nail against these atheist ideas:
thousands were burnt 

at the stake; tens of thousands of intellectuals were censored or lived in


Look at the USA today: the most fervent opponents of rationalism and liberal
democracy are 

the Christians. Christian leaders insist their bible has superior power over
the US 

government and the US Constitution. They talk openly of getting rid of
modern democracy.


And I don't need to mention their open anti-intellectualism and the way they

science. Just consider their attitudes against evolution.


Yes, there are ideas in Christianity that led to rationalism and liberal
democracy, but 

you're not giving credit to the right group. Namely, the Greeks came up with
the ideas of 

science, rationalism, and the concept of the soul. Original Christianity was
a secretive 

Jewish cult, based on debased versions of Babylonian and Eyptian religious
ideas. When 

Christianity came in contact with Greek philosophy, it took on Greek ideas
and turned into 

what we call Christianity.


And the same with Islam. Your allergy towards Islam won't let you see that
their monotheism 

is far purer than Christianity. No trinity, no god-as-human, no virgin
births. The core 

ideas of Islam is what Christianity should be. Islam was developed out of
Christian and 

Jewish ideas from 700 AD, well after the original Christians had
restructured their ideas 

under Greek philosophy.


That's why Islam was so productive in the arts and sciences from 700 to the
1400s. The idea 

of a purely rationalist universe (where everything is logical and rational
because Allah is 

rational) encourages science and mathematics. Thus Islamic mathematicians
invented algebra. 

Note the "al-" in algebra? As in al-qaeda? Alcohol. Alchemy. Algorithm.
Admiral. Azimuth. 

Borax. Cipher. Magazine. And the most brilliant idea of all, upon which
modern science, 

mathematics, business, and technlogy is built: Zero. Without zero, no binary
mathematics. No 



All of these come from the Arabs. Look in the mirror, Lawrence. Recognize
the Islamic 

influence on the West? Will you finally embrace your Inner Muslim and
welcome him to dinner?


You will say, aha!, but why are they so backwards now? It's due to the
conservatism of 

Islam, and yes, that's the very same conservatism of Christianity that kept
Europe from 

developing for a thousand years. Intellectuals finally were able to throw
off the 

suffrocating blanket of Christianity and develop the sciences and


The same is happening to Islam. In these years, many fundamentalist leaders
in Islam have 

been trying to reject modernism and retreat into ideological purity. But
computers (fueled 

by good ol' American porn), machines, airplanes, finance, and all the
powerful idea of the 

modern world will seep in and create a new basis for their world.


That's happening: Osama was trained as an engineer and uses the web and cell
phones. He's a 

Sunday Muslim, so to speak. He talks Islam, but his work is done using our


This is what happened to all of Huntington's "civilizations". The Indians,
the Chinese, the 

Koreans, the Japanese, the Malaysians: they have thrown away their
civilizations and rushed 

into the modern world: computers, cell phones, digital devices, PDAs, MIT,
MP3s, jet planes, 

72" flat-screen plasma TVs, DVDs, stock markets, IPOs, ... yeah! All the
Good Stuff! Based 

on rationalist science and technology, based the 3,000-year old ideas of the


It's not "the West" anymore. It's the Modern World, globalization, spanning
from Berlin to 

Paris to NYC to Silicon Valley to Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Kuala
Lumpur, and 

Bangalore. One huge global network of technology and finance that is
extremely attractive to 

people who are intelligent because they can work, improve their lives, and
become wealthy.







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