"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Monday, November 22, 2004

Even Spengler Recognizes That Moderation in Islam is Unlikely

"Muslim anguish and Western hypocrisy" from Spengler, the essayist from AsiaTimesOnline, compares the "fragility of Western Civilization and the Christian religion" with today Muslim societies and Islam. In his comparison of the transition that took Christianity centuries to accomplish and the state of Islam today, he notes that transition is difficult and perhaps will be impossible for Islam.

Judaism has also suffered its own transition from "a state religion (of ancient Israel) to a private religion of conscience, bloodily and against its will," trading places with Christianity that became the state religion of Rome. Catholicism, he states, seems likely to die out whereas the American Evengelical form of Christianity seems to be on the rise, and is the chief opponent of Islam.

Laws against blasphemy were once common in throughout Christendom. Transgressors were excommunicated, flogged, or even burned at the stake. The Pope, with his temporal armies, moved against societies that didn't toe the line. For this reason, Spengler believes that Christians who don't accept that Muslims need the time to make the same transition are hypocrites for failing to remember the painful process that early and the Christianity of the Middle Ages went through.

But is he being fair? Are Christians and Jews hypocrites for condemning Muslims laws and punishments against blasphemy? Should Christians and Jews be subject to Muslim blasphemy laws when the punishment is extreme, often flogging or beheadings, or in the case of Theo Van Gogh, death and public beheading? Spengler gives not answer other than to chide Christians and Jews for their insensitivity and intolerance.

That was then and this is now, and as we are not living in the Middle Ages, we can not make a judgment call of the behaviors of the time. It is fair to point out that at the time, even Islam was punishing blasphemers in the same way by using corporal punishment and death.

But Christians and Jews have moved on. Hundreds of years have gone by since the last Christian burning for blasphemy took place and Jews have been the victims of Nazi paganism rather than the perpetrators of death for religious purposes, although the Palestinians might not agree. But why have Muslims failed to move on? Why should they expect the rest of the world to not only tolerate their violent behavior toward non-Muslims, but to be careful of Muslim sensibilities as Christian or Jewish words could be construed as blasphemous, although Muslims refuse to even consider demonstrating an equal care for the sensibilities of either Christians or Jews? Isn't this lack of tolerance more hypocritical than the attitude of Chrisitans and Jews toward Islam?
It is high time for Islam to make a radical change, one that does not include violence or bigotry against their Christian and Jewish neighbors.

Spengler does not speak on this theme, but he recognize that indigenous Europeans and European Muslims will continue to have difficulties as "European politicians are demanding harsh measures to suppress Islamist radicalism." Politicians from Germany have proposed various measures to curb radical Muslim speech, but, "amazingly," a politician from the Netherlands "has proposed to enforce a 1932 law against blasphemy to prevent future insults to Islam(!)" This is going to interesting and tragic.

Granted that Christians, Jews and Muslims should respect each other, but to this point, Muslims have been demanding all the respect, and have shown nothing but disdain for Christians that have bent over backwards to be overly tolerant in order to create a multicultural society. Jews, on the other hand, are again feeling the effects of an ancient European anti-Semitism and are also at the mercy of their European Muslim neighbors.
How will the tragedy unfold? Will Muslims moderate their behavior to become acceptable to their Western neighbors? How will Jews fare during the enfolding events? Not even Spengler will venture a guess, and that's not like him!


  • At Wed Nov 24, 12:34:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Let us always be INTOLERANT TO THE INTOLERANTS !!!
    In the end we must prevail or fall back into the dark ages!Islam can never be compatable with democratic freedom.
    History Teacher


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