November 12, 2009

"It is whatever its various adherents say it is."

Charlene recommends some good stuff from Mark Shea (thanks to Kathy Shaidle):

...We want very much to believe that Violent Islam is a perversion of the Islamic tradition and Wise and Benevolent Islam is the Real Islamic tradition. But the reality is that Islam is an invented human religion that borrows from fragments of Judaism and Christianity, mixes in Mohammed's own delusional (or lying) claims of revelation, and completes it with a dash of conventional wisdom from seventh-century Arab culture. It is not a magisterial faith with some adjudicating body that defines what is and is not the orthodox reading of the Koran. It is whatever its various adherents say it is.

That means that if you are looking for a sanction for violence in the Koran, you can find it, because it's there. So is the wisdom, almsgiving, and peace stuff, if you want that. So Muslims who commit these heinous acts with such frequency are not "betraying Islam" when doing so out of self-described piety. They are, in fact, implementing one possible interpretation of the Muslim tradition (and often slaughtering a great many other Muslims in the process). Westerners who lie to themselves that these monsters are "not real Muslims" are simply self-deluded fools. They are as Muslim as Mohammed, as are their Muslim victims. There is no Islamic Magisterium to excommunicate them. They don't speak for all Muslims, but they most certainly do speak and act for the disturbingly large percentage of Muslims who either applaud them, remain silent, or complain about being victims of suspicion and distrust by the victims of terror instead of complaining about the thugs who commit the terror in the name of Islam.

That said, the reality is that the cure, if it is to come at all, will have to come from within Islam: from Muslims who inculcate in their children a sense of shame for Radical Murderous Islam, just as Christians have successfully inculcated shame in their own ranks for expressions of Christianity that turned a blind eye to slavery, terrorism, oppression of women, and racism. It will not come from the preferred Western dream of a post-religious secular world scrubbed clean of "religion." Such experiments have been attempted in communist countries; they are akin to saying, "We've noticed a correlation between immune systems and disease, so let's get rid of immune systems." Not accidentally, the disease of human sin has only prospered in such regimes to the tune of millions slaughtered. Instead of pretending the beast of Radical Islam is not there, the West will sooner or later have to learn how to educate itself about theology again -- or perish. It will also have to profile those who have not a particular skin color but a particular ideological paper trail of ideas and views that makes it obvious they sympathize with Radical Islamic violence, just as we should profile those who sympathize with skinheads, Klansmen, or tales of the Glorious IRA Terrorists.

Most of all, it means we need to get theologically literate again and find a more sophisticated way of understanding things than simply dumping Christianity and Islam into a bucket and calling it all "religion" (which, as we all know, leads to undifferentiated "violence"). The only way to counter an inflamed theology like Islam is with a healthy one, not with the watery delusions of postmodern secularism. And that, sooner or later, means a return to the sanity of the Catholic Faith.
Posted by John Weidner at November 12, 2009 7:39 AM
Weblog by John Weidner