Monday, July 16, 2012

Not Just Presbyterians With Turbans

Note:  The following essay was written in April of 2004.

It is not the intention herein, to profess or promote hatred or violence. On the contrary, it is an attempt to examine Islam from without and recognize the purpose of their virulent hatred of Jews and Christians. The violence against these specific groups appears to be the most prominent feature of modern Islam and a central doctrine to millions of its adherents. Indeed, this hatred seems to be profoundly animating considering the rampant growth in Islam that has corresponded with the increased violence in its name. This is written from the perspective of a layman who claims not academic credentials, theological or otherwise. It is stipulated that an understanding of Islam is not the purpose, as understanding it is not the issue at hand.

This is written from the perspective of one who, not unlike you, could lose one's life in the name of Allah. Seemingly, we are all targets. Those innocents who have died in the name of Allah have not done so not because of their lack of understanding of Islam, they died as a result of their lack of submission to it. This is written not in an attempt to understand Islam for understanding is not what they seek. This is written in an attempt to recognize the real motivator behind their war on our civilization.

Many Americans feel the war began in the fall of 2001. It did not. That day was simply the day of our awakening to the awful fact that there are those filled with such hatred for us that our death and that of our civilization is all that will satiate their thirst.

The very concept of random murder in the name of God should be repugnant to all but the most savage among us. The modern Islamic onslaught against civilization, beginning with the Munich Olympic massacre in 1972 has not only continued, but has become more pronounced and more violent with time. Regular attacks on civilians in Israel, September 11, the one the year before last, last year, last month, last week, yesterday. Pick one. These events are, and should be deeply troubling to any civilized human being. From one end of the Earth to the other, from Jerusalem to Bali, from New York to Madrid the numbing drumbeat continues as the soundtrack to this insidious march of death. One after the other, each incident unfolds before us in ghastly detail. The inhumanity, the suffering, the senseless and random murder of innocents is part of our daily primer on Islamism.

Behind each of these incidents are found Muslims. Why does Islam stand at the epicenter of most the world's turmoil and cruelty?

One tries to accept the fact that each man has a right to his or her beliefs. Surely God would expect us to respect all of his children and not turn away from an entire group due to the actions of a few. Surely each individual worships God in his or her own way. We try to convince ourselves that surely this must be the work of only a small group of extremists and these extremists do not necessarily speak for all of Islam. We wait, and still wait for the universal chorus of condemnation from all corners Islam throughout the world that is merited by the continuous brutality. Anything close to a plurality among Islamic clerics would be acceptable. All that is apparent is a muted, limited and lukewarm disapproval, if that, and always accompanied by some form of justification.

There is a pathological aversion to any manner of internal or external criticism, of Muslims in specific or Islam in general, that is simply not found in other religions.

Radical Jews have, on occasion, resorted to religious violence and murder though these incidents are so rare that only one comes immediately to mind; that of one man shooting 29 Palestinians in 1994. Repulsed by those who would do them harm; people such as he become what they hate the most. They choose death as a means to honor God, the giver of life. Although events such as this have been extremely rare, when they do occur the Jewish religious community expresses universal outrage rather than gleeful satisfaction or smug indifference. This is what one would expect from a righteous and God-fearing people.

There also have been Christians who, so offended by the practice of abortion, chose murder as a solution. Their quest for, and their devotion to the sanctity of life became perverted and transformed into a grotesque evil. They, too, chose death as a means to honor the giver of life. Again, on these rare occasions the Christian religious community expresses outrage and makes clear the abject immorality of murder, and reaffirms the sanctity of life, even that of an abortionist. This is another example of what one would expect from civilized society in general and God-fearing people in particular.

Even during the years of IRA violence in Northern Ireland, mainstream religious groups, both Catholic and Protestant, publicly denounced and lamented the violence. Admittedly though, many of them may well have been privately funding the IRA, particularly those churches in the United States. This conflict was often described as a "religious war" between Catholics and Protestants, though at its heart, it was actually a war of independence between secessionist Irish Catholics who wanted a united and independent Ireland, and Protestant Northern Irish loyalists who wished to remain part of Great Britain. It was not specifically about religion at all. It was simply an extension of the extreme animosity that the Irish (Catholics) have had for the British (Protestants) which has existed since the 17th century with religion being used as a means of differentiation.

As for the people, even among those who support Irish independence, the IRA eventually has come to be considered little more than an organization of gangsters and thugs and is now trying desperately to retool its image. It should also be noted that the violence in Northern Ireland has all but ceased in recent years.

Among Christians and Jews there are simply no religious groups, that could even remotely be called "mainstream", that do not vociferously denounce any form of violence in the cause of their faith.

Violence is part of the early collective and separate histories of Christians and Jews. It is instructive to note however, the time frame in which these incidents occurred. Throughout the majority of human history, the status quo was one of cruelty, violence and chaos. Religious history is no exception. While stipulating that both Christians and Jews are not without violent chapters in their history and have not emerged from that history with a certain amount of blood on their hands, there is also much to be said of the civilizing effect that Judeo-Christian philosophy has had on mankind. It would also appear that the more time that has passed, the more pronounced this effect has become.

It is clear that though the past is indeed checkered, the positive effects that Judeo-Christian philosophy has had on mankind far outweigh negative intervals in its collective history.

Moreover, Christians as well as Jews have been killed in the past and in many parts of the world are still being killed simply because of their faith. In modern times though, it is rare indeed to find incidents of Christians or Jews killing others as a result of their or others' religious faith.

Let us turn, once again, to Islam. There is no denial of the practically daily incidents of violent attacks, almost always against defenseless and innocent civilians, carried out by Muslims, in the name of Islam. These attacks are persistent, regular and occur in all parts of the word. Muslims did not invent terrorism, but they seem to have made it part of their doctrine. There is also no denial of the widespread approval of such actions among many average Muslims in many parts of the world, even to the point of jubilant celebration. The celebrations seem to increase in proportion to the death toll. Again, as to an outcry against such atrocities by Muslim clergy, there is either deafening silence or apologist pleas for understanding of the "plight of their people." All too often there is neither silence nor apologies from these alleged "men of God", but overwhelming support for the Islamic sacrament of death.

In view of this, one is compelled to question how service to God can include the wanton and random murder of innocent people. One has to question a faith that incites revelry as a reaction to the death and destruction of random innocents. One has to question a faith whose clerics stand silently as these abominations occur. One has to question a faith that treats women as though they were animals. One has to question a faith that offers not oneness with God as a heavenly reward, but sexual gratification with dozens of partners. One has to question a faith that specifically targets Jews and Christians as objects of scorn, not to mention murder and destruction.

As was said at the onset, one endeavors to accept these horrible acts as the product of a select and very disturbed minority. This is all but impossible as they are far too widespread and frequent. One desperately wants to believe in the natural goodness of anyone who sees any religious faith as a path to God, even though his or her faith is different from our own. With each item read, with each fact processed, there is an increasing awareness that Islam is not a vehicle to serve God. The master whom Islam serves is a very different master indeed. God's offer to us is spiritual peace and an unfettered oneness with Him, a raising-up of our souls. Satan's offer is a physical one of worldly gratification and satiation of the flesh, and this seems oddly parallel with the promise of modern Islam.

Were Satan to reveal his true spiritual nature, man would be repulsed. Satan corrupts surreptitiously. He does not reveal his true character to man, he often deceives us by subtly appealing to the darker sides of our nature. He often rewards our devotion to those baser impulses with success in our craven pursuit of goals such as pleasure, power or wealth. As our souls become increasingly empty, we increase our attempts to fill the emptiness with increased physical gratification. The end result of this cycle is the complete corruption of the soul. A corrupt soul can no longer distinguish between good and evil and invariably chooses the latter. Physical rewards are all that Satan can offer us for his power of deception exists exclusively in this world.

By far the most effective means of corruption is for Satan to masquerade as God himself. In this way the target of the corruption is convinced that the entity who directs him is, in fact, God. Unaware of the true nature of the "god" he serves, the subject descends into a quagmire of iniquity while totally convinced of his righteousness. Man will do things in the service of whom he believes to be God that he will do for no other reason.

Devotion to God is the ultimate motivation. For Satan though, it is the ultimate opportunity for deception.

There are numerous examples of this phenomenon particularly in the fairly recent past. Most notably Jim Jones and the Heaven's Gate cults are examples of people who, in their zeal to serve the master they believed to be God, chose to worship at the alter of death, willingly causing their own and/or that of others. They were not slain for their beliefs as martyrs, they chose death as part of their belief.

In the instance of the Jim Jones cult, those who would not or could not choose death, such as children, had the choice made for them. The process was triggered in the Jones case by the cold-blooded murder of a U.S. Congressman. This is clearly an example of people in the grips of a demon they sincerely believed to be God. Heaven's Gate appeared to be some sort of belief, based on science fiction that could only be described as theology in the broadest definition of the word.

The Jonestown group was indeed a quasi-Christian cult.

Another quasi-Christian cult was David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, the details of whose deaths are still a matter of intense controversy that will not be reopened here. At the very least though, they were a group that was massively armed and clearly ready for mortal conflict. While the actual circumstances of their deaths has been the source of speculation on a number of fronts, the Branch Davidians were neither embraced nor claimed by mainstream Christendom. They were considered to be what they were, a dangerous cult and in no way representative of Christian theology. David Koresh was considered to be, like Jim Jones, a profoundly disturbed individual that was by no means inspired by God.

These are rare instances and it is illustrative that their notoriety is a result of their extreme rarity. Modern Judeo-Christian theology is simply not given incidents such as these.

On the other hand, atrocities in the name of Allah are so widespread and occur with such regularity that they are all but invisible. Much like a person who lives near an airport approach subconsciously "tunes out" the sound of the jets, the drone of senseless death at the hands of Muslims has been "tuned out" by civilized people. It is time to shake ourselves out of the stupor and truly listen to the world around us. We must examine these actions and see the evil that lies within them.

We must scrutinize Islam and seriously question it's relationship with God. We must determine whether Islam is theism or diabolism.

Are we to believe that God wants bus after bus loaded with innocents to be murdered by Muslims on the streets of Israel in His name? Are we to believe that God wanted more than 3,000 innocent people to be randomly murdered by Muslims on September 11, 2001 in His name? Are we to believe that God wanted 200 people murdered on the streets of Madrid in His name? Are we to believe that God directs Muslims to commit repeated and ceaseless acts of random murder in His name? Are we to believe that God guides His people to either condone or actively support these heinous acts? Are we to believe that God, acting through his clerics, at best infers and at worst proclaims His approval? Are we to believe that God is directing the increasingly rapid spread of Islam through the world and it's increasing levels of violence?

The relationship between violence and Islam is by no means a recent development; the history of Islam, both past and present, is drenched in the blood of those who have dared to stand against it as well as those who have simply tried to coexist with it.

This is not a profession of hatred for Muslims per se, though hatred of evil is our duty. Recognition of evil is the only way to avoid it and to eventually defeat it. The only way to recognize evil is to see it for exactly what it is. By it's nature though, it avoids recognition. If we continue to view Islam as a theology, we become blind to its true purpose.

Without question there are indeed peaceful Muslims who believe themselves to be righteous in the eyes of God. While these peaceful people are not actively embracing the evil, they have made a most unfortunate choice. We cannot know the mind of God, so it is unknowable as to how such people are viewed by Him. Such people should be shown mercy by man in the hope that they will eventually know the true nature of he whom they call Allah and reject him.

The discussion of subjects such as evil makes one naturally uncomfortable. The very concept of "evil" is one with which many people have trouble. Mel Gibson recently stated, in speaking about "The Passion of The Christ", that evil's first job is convincing you that it doesn't exist. Perhaps this is true. This word and concept is one that President Bush has invoked on numerous occasions in the years since September 11, and has often been roundly criticized as a result. How else does one describe these acts? Islamic murder is no more an isolated instance of misguided theistic fervor than Nazism and the Holocaust was an isolated instance of misguided political fervor. Each is an example of complete and irrevocable corruption by a manifest evil that imbedded itself in, and became indistinguishable from, the host. Calling it by any other name allows it to survive undetected thus effectively convincing us that it does not exist.

Again, we must ask ourselves if Islam is theism or diabolism. To answer this question we must examine, albeit briefly, the roots of monotheism; Judaism and by extension, Christianity. The God of Abraham is the basis of belief shared by both Judaism and Christianity. In the Old Testament, God was revealed to the Jews alone. Judaism was not evangelistic, so there was never any issue of spreading the faith by any means other than the propagation of the Jews themselves. "The Covenant" existed exclusively between God and the Jews. The appearance of Jesus signaled the extension of God's covenant to include all of mankind. Whereas the "Old Covenant" required bloodlines as well as faith, the "New Covenant" requires faith alone. 

Unlike its precursor, Christianity was evangelistic. Conversion "by the sword" was, unlike in the case of Islam, never a method of spreading Christianity during its rise. Key hallmarks of Christianity are the concepts of non-violence, peace and love of one's fellow man. Jesus' own words and deeds during His life consistently bear this out. Indeed, a history of the early Church is replete with martyrdom of followers at the hands of those who sought to destroy the movement. As stipulated before, Christianity is not without historical periods of violence and persecution against non-Christians. These actions were not however predicated on, or justified by, scripture or any basic canonical precepts of Christianity in general or Catholicism in specific. The New Testament, in particular, may well be the most pacifist tome in history.

Let us again turn to Islam. There is violence in the name of Allah continually perpetrated by men quoting the Qur'an, literally justifying their actions by the scriptural foundation of their faith. Historically, just as peace and love of one's fellow man is a hallmark of Christianity, violence and death have been the hallmark and the legacy of Islam. In fairness, Islamic scholars differ on the meanings of these verses, as the document is somewhat ambiguous in a number of areas leaving it open to wide variations in interpretation. This very ambiguousness however, tends to engender and codify the wide range of malevolent behavior in the service of Allah we have seen and continue to see.

The ambiguousness of Islamic scripture lies at the heart of Islam's blindness to its true mission, service to God. Islamic clergy are so splintered that they are unable, or unwilling to proclaim the immorality of actions as heinous as mass murder. Both the scriptural basis, and the administration of Islam appear to be spiritually and operationally defective and this defect has caused it to diametrically oppose the interests of God.

Cannot an unworldly devotion that is opposed to the interests of God be accurately described as evil?

Whether Islam was a vehicle of evil at its inception, or was co-opted at some point since, it's actions today most certainly serve an evil end and its abject refusal to self-criticize serves to excuse even the most horrible crimes against God and man.

It is estimated that, worldwide, followers of Islam total more than I.2 billion worldwide. Islam is, by far, the fastest growing of all the world's religions.

In 1941, Germany had a civilian population of approximately 70 million. Were all 70 million Nazis? Certainly, they were not. Only a small percentage of even the military were actually Nazis and, in all fairness, all of the Nazis weren't the genocidal maniacs of whom we get a mental image when we hear the word "Nazi". The human cost, civilian and military, of the war in Europe alone, is estimated at 29 million deaths. A small minority, within country of 70 million, was ultimately responsible for the deaths of 29 million people.

While "all Germans" were not responsible for the horrors that define Nazi Germany, it was eminently necessary to defeat Germany as a nation in order to bring the horror to an end.

As for the estimated 1.2 billion Muslims, it is statistically unknown exactly how many either condones, financially supports, emotionally supports or actually engages in or plans acts of murder and destruction. If only 10% fall into any one of these categories, there are 120 million people who have freely accepted random murder to be a legitimate part of their service to God.

Whatever the percentage is, they have proven to be a formidable enemy and it is important to use that word in describing them - enemy. They are enemies, not by our choice, but by theirs. They abhor all that we value and they value all that we abhor. They have no intention of coexisting with us, and anyone who thinks they do is simply not paying attention.

Because Islam is not a country does not make it any less an enemy, in fact it's lack of defined geographic boundaries may well make it all the more pernicious. Its religious status inoculates it from outside questions as to the relationship between Islamic doctrine and acts of violence.

The basic sense of fairness and charity that we have in the United States is often used as a weapon against us. How can a country, that legally, gives Satanism the same weight as mainstream theisms, protect itself from evil? How can a country that has elevated "diversity" as the ultimate virtue even recognize true evil when it appears, much less take action against it?

A friend once said that "Diversity is the modern equivalent of The Tower of Babel" and that is a good point. We have accepted so many versions of normalcy that, like in the story of The Tower of Babel, we no longer have a common cultural language. We have been so averse to what we perceive to be "discrimination" that we are unable to make any sort of judgment on anything whatsoever. As in the story of The Tower of Babel, confusion reigns and destruction must surely follow.

In an age when "pushing the envelope" has become sport, every idea that one can conceive, no matter how bizarre, is put forth by its conceiver demanding the mantle of legitimacy in the public realm. If, at first, the bizarre idea is not freely accepted into the halls of normalcy, those who see the bizarre idea for what it truly is are branded as narrow-minded bigots. Legal action is generally a key component in the process, thereby subverting the law as well as the culture. Soon, fearing the eventual destruction of their reputation, the resisters quietly withdraw their objection and the bizarre becomes normal. This cycle continually repeats itself thus causing the very concept of normalcy to be unacceptable.

We are particularly averse to passing any sort of judgment on religious beliefs lest we be thought to be exhibiting some manner of "phobia". Our ever-expanding universe of acceptance has literally rendered the concept of judgment to be socially undesirable.

Immediately after the attacks on September 11, 2001, The American public was admonished to not be judgmental of Muslims in particular or Islam in general. Every one of these killers was a Muslim. Islam and Islamic doctrine was interpreted by these men and used as a pretext for the attacks. Yet, prior to the first body being pulled from the burning rubble, Muslims were immediately portrayed as victims and the very discussion of possible causation being found within Islam itself was deemed patently offensive.

Contrast this attitude with the handling of the pedophile scandals in the Catholic Church. Statistically, the incidence of Catholic priests engaging in pedophilia is extremely small, though admittedly, there is certainly no acceptable level for this manner of behavior. Though initially slow to react, the Church has, in no way condoned these despicable acts, and none of these priests have referenced Scripture as justification for their actions. The reaction from the general public and media however, has been a full frontal assault on the Church and its underlying principles and traditions.

Islam simply forbids any criticism from within or from without and we honor their wishes as though were compelled to do so by their prelates or bound by their dogma. No matter how murderous their actions, no matter how vehemently they quote the Qur'an in justifying their actions, no matter how many are killed in the name of Allah, we avoid even the appearance of disapproval.

It is not blindness from which we suffer; it is a refusal to see.

In the 1930s, Winston Churchill spoke eloquently of "The Gathering Storm" in Europe. He could see that Hitler's relentless march across Europe, aided by Chamberlain's appeasement, was a cancer that would eventually destroy Europe and the world. He instinctively knew that the time to stem the Nazi tide was sooner rather than later. Europe, England and the world at large refused to see and allowed the malignancy to metastasize, increase its power and expand its sphere of influence. They averted their eyes in the hope that the horrors being visited upon the Jews and Eastern Europe would surely stop there. They were horribly wrong. The cost, in terms of death, suffering and resources for this willful myopia, was one that had not been seen before and has not been seen since.

Once again, a storm is gathering. Once again, the forces of death rise like a malevolent Phoenix. Once again, we are challenged to recognize and confront the forces of evil but we are overwhelmed by the urge to turn away.

Once again, the most difficult step in the defeat of these forces is also the most decisive; the recognition of them for what they truly are.

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