Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Disgraceful 9/11 Memorial - GONE!

This just in: Pataki has nixed the disgraceful IFC .... read here. We have Debra Bulingame to thank for keeping this issue alive; and everyone who wrote, e-mailed, blogged, and came to the rally should feel proud. Ref.

17 Comments:

Blogger Always On Watch said...

Great news!

9/29/05, 7:28 AM  
Blogger beakerkin said...

The predictablable cry from the stupidest communist 167 is now we have a 9-11 industry to go with the Holocaust industry. The far left are like delusional spoiled brats who cry and whine and need to row up.

9/29/05, 7:35 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

(Well - I did take part in that online poll that was linked via LGF (last time I checked it was roughly 11,000 votes against and a few hundred for) so perhaps I played my tiny tiny part in this.:-))

Jason - off topic for this post but relevant to your previous post about our Greco-Roman heritage: I had suggested you follow Laurence Auster's site because he is a traditionalist conservative as well as a tremendous critic of Islam and staunch defender of the superiority of western values. Here is a post from yesterday in which he describes what he sees as the salient influences on western civilization:

Auster

9/29/05, 11:08 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

It was an interesting debate but I think both authors are talking past each other. The “classical” fellow was right that we owe an invaluable debt to our Greco-Roman heritage without which we wouldn’t be the civilization we are today. However, he overplays his hand when he moves from the ideas to institutions. The Church played an important role in the revival of Aristotle’s ideas in the 13th century. After many of the changes were incorporated into our culture and taken for granted by the 16th century, the church appeared as being nothing but a hindrance to reformers of the day. However, I wouldn’t focus on the institution so much as to focus on the ideas that are in play.

I think that’s what the “classical fellow” started out to do but then he switched to the institution and people who are labeled Catholic. Notice how I try to avoid the equivocation between the ideology of Islam and the demographic group Muslims. When it comes to people or institution you have to ask: is it because of their religion of despite it? This is an attribution analysis that’s important – but far from trivial.

Auster launches into the history of the institution and what it achieved. That’s his main trust but then he touches on some ideas that he erroneously credits to religion. The idea of natural rights evolved from the idea of natural law. This originated in Greco-Roman Stoic philosophy, most importantly Cicero. The idea of individualism didn’t start at any one point but Greece had a very high esteem for individual achievement and the individual was the focus of art. Christians like to point to the view that the salvation of the individual soul is the central concern. It’s a valid point.

I credit Christianity with the ability to absorb classical civilization and transform itself (slowly over centuries) until today’s Christians can be personally devout while in the social realm they can deal with others by reference to reality, the use of evidence, and the commitment to reason. Auster seems to leave unexplained exactly what he would credit classical civilization and how he would deal with the details of the other guy’s argument.

How does this come into play in today’s analysis? Auster doesn’t seem to shed light on how Islam went astray and the West rose out of the Dark Ages – just that they didn’t. After all Islam believes in the salvation of the individual soul. It has a tradition of law. The separation of church and state is important but doesn’t it only mean that religion is removed from secular concerns to make room for reason? Isn’t that the point? The West has allowed Hellenic spirit the rule of the world!

9/29/05, 1:33 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

As a traditionalist I take it that Auster is doing what you are doing in your Greco-Roman post - trying to articulate and defend the core values of the west and show how they come out of a very particular historical tradition. His many posts make clear that he feels this is essential to defeating the jihad. However, he clearly grants more influence to Christianity than either you or the classicist he is debating do. I am not a historian so I don't know which of you are correct about the origins of individualism and natural rights and whether he overstates the case for the influence of Judeo-Christianity. If he does so, I suspect its because he doesn't think secularism alone provides a sufficient defense against the force of the jihad. (at least so far, the strongest anti-Islam tendencies seem to come from American evangelical Christian circles while Europe, a largely secular society, is largely floundering in the face of the jihad.) You should email him your objections to his points and see if he posts it. I think your aims in articulating our core western values and their etiology are similar - that's why I linked to his site. If you disagree about the relative contribution of Christianity to those values, then I think that's an important debate to have (one which I'll gladly observe from the sidelines:-)).

9/29/05, 3:55 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Demographically it is true that the greatest number of people that face the jihadist threat comes from the ranks of evangelical Christians. They are free of some of the fashionable multi-culturalism common on the left. For whatever the reasons their eyes are open, they are open to the problem.

However, I think they can’t adequately explain why their religion escaped the fate of Islam. And, one of the points I occasionally make, why did the Orthodox Church stagnate? Although the Greek Orthodox Church came under Islamic rule in 1453AD, the Russian Orthodox Church was not so encumbered. Yet no where in Orthodoxy do we see the progress that we see in the West. A comparison of the Roman and Orthodox Churches is an interesting study in contrasts – more so than Christianity vs. Islam.

I’m going on vacation for two weeks on Sunday. I wish Auster would go into details more but to debate with him, I’d need to review and get some good books at my side for references. I, of course, expect Auster and others to value their religion and seek guidance during times of crisis. But there’s no need to diminish our classical heritage in the process. I think it should be enough to say “my religion is in harmony with reason and classical learning.” That was what Aquinas brought to the Church in the 13th century. Yes, he thought the philosophical tradition wasn’t enough, as one would expect, but his praise wasn’t faint and nowhere dismissive as some modern day critics of our Classical tradition.

9/29/05, 4:47 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Jason - I doubt that you need some books on hand to debate Auster, judging from what I've read from you so far. But since I'm throwing links at you, I wanted to be sure that you were familiar with the "psedoanonymous" Spengler, who has a series of articles at Asia Times that confront issues such as Europe's cultural suicide and the vibrancy of American Protestantism and its potential role in deterring the jihad (he also refers to the Orthodox churches in his articles).:

The Complete Spengler

Have a great vacation and consider this: I saw a post at jihadwatch today linking to your site and saying that it was excellent. The poster was wondering whether you posted under an anonymous name at jihadwatch. I am pretty sure that I have seen your comments at JW under your own name. I also stumbled across a few of your comments at Harry's Place. But I don't recall you ever linking to your own site when commenting at other blogs!

When you return from what I hope is an enjoyable vacation I hope you will toot your own horn just a bit more when you're out and about on the blogs (a prominent link will do). Really. Your posts are great. :-)

9/29/05, 9:37 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

However, I think they [evangelical Christians] can’t adequately explain why their religion escaped the fate of Islam.

Just a few quick thoughts on the above words...

The interest in reading for oneself and trying to discern the truth? As in the early Christians who searched the Scriptures for themselves so as to measure the truth of the religious teachers, as chronicled in the Book of Acts.

The emphasis on choosing a salvation freely offered through the sacrifice of Jesus? Evangelicals know that religion cannot be coerced, even though evangelical Christians believe they have found the one true way (as do Muslims, for that matter). Respect for all other people plays a part here as evangelicals believe that each an every person is God's creation and, therefore, important to God and, as a result, "deserving."

The belief that the devil is real and can use humans to achieve his goals?

The emphasis on a culture of life?

The recognition that Christians have an obligation to serve, not a call to conquer?

The different denominations which naturally allow for criticism, reform, and choice?

The conviction that humans don't have to win the victory (take over the world) because "He already has won the victory"?

What you mentioned is hard to explain, isn't it?

For me, personally, the understanding that no human being can truly know God's mind nor His will guides my words and my actions. I do the best I can to tend to my own soul, with His guidance as I perceive it. His guidance is personal and individual, and may be very different from His guidance for another Christian. I have no right to take my interpretation and force it onto someone else, though I will discuss theology and personal testimony if I am asked to. [Hope that I didn't overstep throughout this comment. I know that you are not a believer. You are free to tend to your soul, in the same way as I am free to tend to mine!]

Yes, the Orthodox Church stagnated. Dostoevsky offers some insights on that matter. Perhaps the lack of meaning as ritual supercedes? The lack of application of faith to daily life? I don't know, just guessing.

The Thirteen Original Colonies were divided as to the matter of which churches exerted control wihtin each colony, and various denominations persecuted each other. However, the colonies eventually unified, in part to fight common enemies who threatened autonomous control. Did the colonists realize they could have gone the way of feudalism had they not emphasized the importance of self-governance? How much did the Great Awakening play a part? Did the difficult move itself to the New World change the colonists' outlook as to different kinds of tyranny, including an ideological/religious one. Certainly literacy played a great part. I've been thinking about these matters lately.

PS: Jason, have a good vacation! While you're gone, I'll try to come back to your site here so as to catch up on some of your articles which I haven't yet had time to read thoroughly. Maybe I'll print them out and study them as opportunity allows. I can't always be sitting in front of a computer monitor.

9/30/05, 2:21 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

My point was that in combating the Islamic threat, it may be enough for some people that Islam is not Christianity but I hope that’s not the reason (I know it is not in your case.)

We need a further reason: Islam is a political ideology that is deeply and inherently hostile to universal liberty. That’s a reason everyone can understand with or without a particular religion.

I think I didn’t explain myself correctly in the previous comment. I believe we shouldn’t approach this from a sectarian point a view. I think we should celebrate how contemporary Christianity and Judaism have embraced our common cause – individual liberty – seamlessly, vigorously (remembering the anti-slave movements?), and steadfastly. What more could one ask?

My question is: Does our Hellenic heritage give us something indispensable that religion doesn’t provide? I think it does. I think that is what Aquinas helped re-introduce in the West in an effective manner while the East languished.

Now, a religious person implicitly asks a non-believer the converse: is the human mind enough or do we need more? For example Aquinas started his Summa Theologica with the question: is philosophy enough? Obviously that’s an important question and one that is enjoyable to discuss. And it is natural that the devout should be passionate about their belief that religion is crucial. Let me respect that devotion.

Thanks, AOW, always insightful thoughts and questions.

9/30/05, 3:04 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Always on Watch - that was a fascinating post!

I have just a couple of thoughts that I will articulate badly because the truth is that much of this is literally over my head, despite having had a fairly expensive education! I should have paid a whole lot more attention in history class, I realize now!

As I indicated in earlier posts I was raised a staunch catholic but like many liberal westerners, have drifted towards eastern traditions over my 45 years on this planet. I have no interest in Buddhism per se or in any traditions which require one to memorize anything whatsoever (such as the 8 noble truths or what have you!), but I have absorbed some things from the east, which is why I have come to view Jesus himself as an "enlightened" human being and his death and resurrection as a metaphor for enlightenment (death of the ego and transcendence to a higher form of consciousness.)

The reason I point this out here is because I feel as though I am stuck between two things - 1. Secularism, science and reason, which appears to ignore transcendence altogether and which elevates human thought and reason above all (Isn't that Descartes - I THINK - therefore I am?) and 2) Faith - as expressed in traditional religion.

(Re the latter, though, I would NEVER equate Christianity and Islam. To have faith in Jesus and faith in Muhammad are obviously 2 entirely different things. Muhammad was obviously a charlatan. I don't know who Jesus was. Benjamin Orion on a previous thread stated that Jesus was a myth, plain and simple. I had thought there was a whole lot more evidence backing up the historical Jesus than he implies but I could be wrong about that.)

My point is that neither reason (which is a human thought process - and therefore brain-dependent and material in nature and which denies spiritual transcendence) NOR blind faith is sufficient for me.

(I do know, however, that Islam is a lie. I first stumbled across this site because I googled the question "Is Islam evil?" and this site came up! I think it is - but I don't necessarily know that through reason and I don't necessarily know that through faith. It's just self-evident. It's directly knowable.)

So what makes something directly knowable, as opposed to knowable through reason or through faith? Is that mysticism? Is that what you refer to as "natural philosophy"?

And as an aside, the whole post-modernist thing is interesting in this context, because post-modernists seem to be denying that anything is knowable in any way and that therefore everything is utterly relative. I see why post-modernism is called nihilistic (I read a recent article that linked this POV to the Heisenberg principle in physics).

But I also see how Zen (as an encapsulation of eastern philosophy as it has permeated and influenced the west) appears to be utterly relativistic in nature and appears to deny both reason and faith and yet I don't see it as being nihilistic, because it seems open to transcendence. If that is the case, then what sets eastern philosophy (as expressed e.g. through zen) apart from post-modernism? Doesn't zen acknowledge some sort of direct knowledge that isn't dependent on either reason or faith and yet isn't utterly relativistic and nihilistic?

Well, I am quite tempted to delete this post for asking such questions but since it took a bit of time to type out, I'll just take the plunge and put it out there in the hopes that someone more informed than I am will shed some light on these issues....

9/30/05, 8:55 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Okay - now I must laugh out loud at myself! Whoops - Thomas Aquinas! Funny how that Catholic education seeps into the farthest recesses of your mind when you're not paying any attention whatseover and you're an annoyed as hell adolescent enduring your stuffy little uniform with the cardigan sweater and saddle shoes and wondering why the hell your parents yanked you out of public school to stick you in Catholic school in the first place!

Anyhoo - okay - forget my question about reason vs. faith.

I am still very curious as to how eastern philosophy (as expressed in zen) dovetails with the thoughts of Aquinas though.

I don't think this is an umimportant question because the Buddhists and Hindus are also under relentless assault by the jihad. And the truth is that eastern philosophy HAS permeated the west and influenced the thinking (or lack thereof!) of a whole lot of westerners, many of whom no longer identify with their Christian upbringing. It would seem to me that the East needs to be defended as well.

I did a quick google on "thomas Aquinas and zen" and came up with quite a few posts. I'll spare you any of my further thoughts until I have familiarized myself with some of the literature trying to reconcile eastern and western philosophy. Of course since that could take, oh about 10 years or so, of course I would welcome anyone's shorthand explication of these issues in the meantime. :-)

9/30/05, 9:27 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Jason,
Islam is a political ideology that is deeply and inherently hostile to universal liberty. That’s a reason everyone can understand with or without a particular religion.

You know how much I agree!

In some ways, I'm a frustrated Christian. I find some of my fellow-believers reticent to look at ideologies objectively. More than that, some of my fellow-believers are poorly read. Others refuse to worry or to take action because The Rapture will save them. Danger! Narrow thinking!

I believe that no human completely understands God's plan for "the latter days." I work on to try to save my culture and the freedoms which my God has graciously given me. When I see an enemy, I stand up against him. To do otherwise would be sinful.

Obviously, my upbringing was one of education and of the importance of scholarly research.

9/30/05, 10:46 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Caroline,
I want to respond, but it's getting late. I have to work tomorrow. I'll get back here in the next few days.

My orientation is Christian Protestant, and we may have some interesting insights to share.

9/30/05, 10:49 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

AOW - well I do look forward to your thoughts (while the cat is away!). As much as I admire Jason's optimism that our comon defense of individual liberty should be sufficient to mount a defense against the jihad (to avoid a religious battle), I'm a bit pessimistic that it will be sufficient. As I noted above, Spengler at Asia Times has written quite a bit about Europe's cultural and demographic suicide, which he largely traces to Europe's secularism. I see no real evidence that Europe will turn this around. Spengler places his faith in American protestantism. For some of the reasons you cite, American Christians are the only ones reproducing themselves.

As an example of the kind of pitfalls one confronts when merely championing individual "liberty", Holland apparently just permitted the first 3-way marriage. And Canada has just barely legalized gay marriage and already the polygamy debate is picking up steam. It isn't hard to figure out what the legalization of polygamy would do demographically to the west in the face of Islam! So defense of liberty alone, in the absence of a religious/Christian context, could actually have the paradoxical result of hastening the islamic conquest.

My questions about the relationship between eastern and western philosophy are a bit more personal in nature and represent my efforts to understand for myself how spiritual approaches like Zen provide any possible defense against something like Islam. I should clearly have done more reading on my own though before posting such open-ended questions on Jason's blog!

10/1/05, 10:34 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Caroline,
Preface: Don't be put off if I sound dogmatic with the following comment. I defend your right to whatever you believe as long as your belief allows me to have my own belief. I am NOT trying to convert you to Christianity.

My Christian beliefs are very basic. First, I believe that each of us has a God-given soul. Since He gave each of us a soul, we naturally have a desire to find something outside ourselves which is better than ourselves. Most find that something in religion; others find it in reason or in science. As I've already said, I have found my something in Christianity.

I believe that you recognize Islam as evil because your soul, God-given, allows you to see that reality. Your searching through Zen Buddhism (Do I have that term correct?) stems from a soul which is searching.

Now, if that soul is corrupted by the desire for power over one's fellow man (power which is physical and/or spiritual), we have a corruption which leads to an unquenchable desire for domination. The my-way-or-the-highway thinking, whatever its origin, is deadly and totalitarian. That type of thinking is shared by Islam, Communism, Nazism, etc.--and, yes, by religions as well. The difference between Islam and Christianity is this: from the get-go, Islam was all about the power, in some respect the power of acquiring real estate; MTP unified the tribes through Islam and send them forward on their never-ending militancy.

Christianity wasn't ever all about the real-estate (In Jesus's words, "My kingdom is not of this world"), but it became so for a period of time. When feudalism fell and the individuality (personal faith) inherent in Protestantism arose, Christianity became, by and large, a faith as opposed to a geopolitical ideology. Thus, Protestantism (greatly influenced by the Englightenment and the Renaissance, both of which led the way to literacy and critical thinking) led the way, albeit with some steps backwards when that my-way-or-the-highway thinking became civilly entwined with theology, to the concept of individual freedoms.

BTW, I see all totalitarian ideologies as Satanic in origin; there's my Christianity again. I see Islam as particularly Satanic because the voice of an angel came from his mouth. My religion teaches that only the supernatural voice of demons can come from a human being's mouth. [Other interpretations of that voice are possible--lying, sleep paralysis, whatever]

Despite my conviction as to the literally Satanic origins of Islam, I try to educate myself so as to put forth a reasoned argument, secular or theological, in order to convince people of the danger we have among us.

You said As much as I admire Jason's optimism that our comon defense of individual liberty should be sufficient to mount a defense against the jihad (to avoid a religious battle), I'm a bit pessimistic that it will be sufficient. Yes, in many ways the fight against Islam is a religious battle; Islam is the basis of Islamism. But this century's thinking will not allow for another religious war if the West takes such a position. Also, we risk losing the secularists when we label the battle religious.

I am a pretty devout Christian, but I count Jason as my friend in this conflict of cultures, and I will never turn on him because he lacks personal faith. His knowledge helps me to understand inherent dangers which I might have overlooked had I only approached Islam from the Christian point of view. I am so grateful for what Jason says on this site, and his words help me to clarify what's rolling around in my own mind. I'll so even further: As a Christian, I believe that the Lord brought me here to this site. Maybe I sound wacko, but that's what I believe (I won't go into the path which led me here, but it is quite a story) Admittedly, some of my Christian friends don't understand my position, but they can engage in this conflict on whatever level they understand.

BTW, I am not much on ritual, except as an adjunct to personal faith. Ritual didn't bring me to the Lord; the Holy Spirit did and, afterwards, I was able to appreciate ritual. I don't need that ritual to practice my faith. In fact, I see ritual as inherently dangerous because of the potential for establishing a cult leader.

Now, do I believe that Christianity is the only path to the true God and to eternal life? Yes, I do, but because I didn't invent Christianity and because I know it as my personal faith only because the Holy Spirit drew me (In an earlier post, I already said that I don't think any denomination has Christianity quite right because God's mind is too complex for humans to fathom), I have no right to condemn anyone else or to interfere with, except by giving testimony, another person's spiritual matters. And when any religion or ideology starts telling me that I can't be a Christian, I will fight to maintain my right or to regain my right.

The Thirteen Original Colonies were first fighting for civil rights. After those were gained, they realized that religion, as in a government-established one, had the potential to interfere with those rights. Of course, each colony had different founding origins, and some of those were through different religious affiliations (Puritan, Quaker, Baptist), and some colonies were founded without any religious affiliation.

Factoid: Even though Massachusetts Bay was Puritan and not open to religious freedom as such, there came a time (1641) when Puritan John Winthrop, first governor of the colony, was voted out of office on the grounds that he declared his authority to rule was one in accordance with the Bible. (Do you see a smilarity to Islam here about religious authority to rule?); those narrow-minded Puritans opened up their minds and established the Massachusetts Body of Liberties, which limited and defined the powers of government without reference to any religion. What started as a move to the New World for religious liberty evolved into increasing emphasis on individual liberty! [Information from The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History]

Anyway, the above, combined with my previous comments, is something for you to mull over and may help you to understand where I stand.

PS: God will, one day, defeat Islam on a spiritual level. It's my job as a responsible Christian citizen (I find the basis for citizenship in my Bible; others find their elsewhere, and the source very much matters!) to fight evil in this world, particularly within the boundaries of my own country. The best way to do that, in my opinion, is to make sure that the rule of civil law predominates. [Damn that recognize-Ramadan bill in Congress! I don't want a Christian one either, for that matter. This nation is not a theocracy!] Islamism allows only for the rule of Koranic law.
PPS: There is some good info about Islam over @
www.TheTruthProject.blogspot.com
It's an all-inclusive site: Christianity, Buddhism/Sikkhism, agnosticism, atheism; and the site is a work in progress. I also highly recommend Sixth Column, to which Jason has a link in the right sidebar.

10/1/05, 12:24 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

AOW: "Don't be put off if I sound dogmatic with the following comment. I defend your right to whatever you believe as long as your belief allows me to have my own belief. I am NOT trying to convert you to Christianity."

AOW - don't worry about converting me to Christianity. I was raised in an extremely Catholic family - Catholic schools, surrounded by Jesuits, and as I've mentioned before, my father was a lay participant in Vatican II - in fact I went to school near the Vatican as a child in the mid to late 60's.

But I'm also a product of my circa 1960 generation. Read Thoreau at 16, by my early 20's was reading all of Alan Watts books, followed by Suzuki's books on Zen, followed by other assorted New Age stuff, followed by the books of Jiddu Krishanamurti - at least 20 of them, and this is the stuff I was still reading just prior to 9/11 (including Sri Nisargardatta's brilliant "I am That").

Suffice it to say, I thought the world had totally moved beyond religious conflict. I knew nothing about Islam. I actually associated Sufism with Islam and was fascinated by eastern interpretations of Christianity itself. Having read alot about Zen, I came to the conclusion that Jesus was basically a bodhissatva - an enlightened human being like the Buddha. I viewed the death and resurrection as a metaphor for enlightenment (death of the ego and resurrection into a higher form of consciousness.) I loved the book by Eckard Tolle - "The Power of Now" and I was about to order a copy of the book "The Mystic Christ" because I was totally certain that the life and sayings of Jesus had been fundamentally misinterpreted in a literal way. But still, I saw a basic equivalency between Christianity and Buddhism and even Hinduism (what little I understand) when it talks about the Atman and the higher self.

In other words, I was very open-minded and ecumenical and even open to Islam, from what little of it I knew about it - namely Sufism - such as the Sufi idea that the Ego needs to die prior to death. All of these basic ideas struck me as completely compatible with everything I have aborbed in years of (let's call it "New Age") reading.

Then I found out about Muhammad. I didn't believe it at first. No way people could think that such a man was a conduit of God's word. But yes they do and here we are.

It's a good question - how is it that I recognize islam as evil - because yes, I do. I see it as evil. Is that a remnant of my Catholic/Christian upbringing?

When you say "I believe that you recognize Islam as evil because your soul, God-given, allows you to see that reality." - I believe you are correct.

You also say, "Your searching through Zen Buddhism....stems from a soul which is searching." I think that is also correct.

It has been so long since I familiarized myself with Christian scripture but the way I understand that basic principle from an eastern POV is that We are part of God. But we have created a separation from God and the vehicle for that separation is the division created by the EGO (which in eastern philosophy means the structure of thought and concrete memory - a material process). We take this ego structure for reality. Which basically means that we have FORGOTTEN who and what we really are. Our basic goal and meaning in life is to REMEMBER who and what we really are. My understanding is that is the basic meaning behind the parable of the prodigal son. Our purpose is to find our way home. But the self or ego is the obstacle in the way. In this understanding EVIL (or sin) is defined as what blocks us from remembering who and what we are and finding our way home. All the things you list as evil - the corruption of power, the "my-way-or-the-highway" mentality, the absolute belief in one's own correctness and POV - I see these things as manifestations of EGO and I see them as evil because they substitute a false reality of who and what we are for the real (or the "true") and they create major obstacles to discovering (or rather "remembering") who we are. I can't cite any Christian scripture in defense of this understanding of Evil but I vaguely suspect that such a case could be mounted.

Islam (aside from Sufism) is the very opposite of everything I've outlined. There's no personal internal process of enlightenment, Islam actually CELEBRATES the Ego - as I AM MUSLIM AND YOU ARE NOT! That's a clebration of Ego (and so much else of Islam is a celebration of Ego as well). And furthermore, Islam seeks to deny the most basic freedom of all, which is freedom of CONSCIENCE - i.e. the freedom to take the personal and necessary journey of self-discovery, in order to remember who and what we are. It's a hard enough journey as it is and there are many obstacles in the way. But Islam puts up the ultimate barrier by killing anyone who tries to find out and discover and speak the truth for themselves.

I guess my problem with all of what I have outlined is that it is so nebulous and so divorced from any particular cultural tradition to anchor it that it can provide no defense against something as organized and culturally grounded as Islam. It's too personal in other words - TOO individual.

I know I can't go back to the Catholic church because I am too much of an individualist in spiritual matters. But I can see how the Protestant church could provide a middle ground inasmuch as it rejects the authoritarianism of Catholicism and permits returning to the origin Christian text but neither can I shake this particular eastern understanding of spirituality I have acquired over the years. If the things I have said are not too far off from a basic understanding of Christian text, then I could see myself embracing Christianity again because I actually do see the necessity to ground our defense against the jihad in something more particular and concrete and communal ultimately. And I see Christianity as something very good and very close to the truth ultimately (even if a bit too literally interpreted) while I see Islam, for some of the reasons I mentioned above, as manifestly evil, from a spiritual point of view. Despite my differences with Christianity (or maybe its just my ignorance about it), should this devolve ultimately into a religious struggle, I have no doubts about which side I will fight on behalf of. And right now, it seems that only the Christians are the ones mounting a vigorous defense. Most probably, as you suggest, because they recognize Islam as evil.

P.S. I will definitely check out thethruthproject.blogspot.com. Sounds right up my alley. :-)

10/1/05, 11:33 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Just a few quick thoughts:

1. Sufism isn't really innocuous, but it is the least militant sect. Mysticism within organized religion usually has little impact on the total religion. Personally, I see Sufism as an attempt to modify Islam into something acceptable. Yet even in Sufism, anti-Semitism is inherent because one cannot escape those Jew-hating verses in the Koran. Maybe Jason will address the matter of Sufism; he knows more than I.

2. Certain groupgs of Christians, particularly the evangelicals, don't buy into the concept of moral relativism; other Christians, those of the inter-faith variety, do, however. Also, some non-Christians don't buy into moral relativism, for different reasons--usually because they value individual freedoms, but individual freedoms reined in by the rule of civil law. Moral relativism does not recognize evil.

3. For Christians, God alone is sovereign. Any being, human or angel (Lucifer), who tries to usurp God's authority is evil. Sin can be defined as lack of recognition of God's sovereignty. Man loves to elevate himself, and from such comes the sinful state, lack of submission to the will of God. Yes, one could say the matter is one of ego if one wanted to speak in terms which are not specifically Christian.

4. As long as all Muslims in a given area worship in the same mosque, the radicals can predominate. The few extremists can dominate the others, the ones who are lazy about their faith or who have rationalized their faith into something it was never intended to be. Problem is, the Koran itself and Mohammed himself were radicals, so when those searching for that something I've mentioned come into contact with something which seems of God, they grab on. I believe that jihad is the face of the original Islam. The leader of a faith tells us much about the original intentions thereof? What were Mohammed's intentions? That Islam dominate the world, by the sword. Such were not the intentions of Jesus, as I've explained.

Bothersome: OBL and the jihadists seem to be at peace with themselves. I think I know why. See
http://alwaysonwatch.blogspot.com/
2005/07/sleeper-cells-may-not-be-problem.html

A friend of mine wrote this one and I posted it @
http://alwaysonwatch.blogspot.com/
2005/08/did-you-know.html

I have a busy week, but will try to get back here to chat with you.

PS: I've been researching Islam since 9/12/01. I just had to know why the 9/11 jihadists did what they did. I didn't want to believe what I was finding out. I fought against it. I still hesitate to say some things as strongly as I should. But researching and personally visiting all three 9/11 sites helped me to understand. I can't explain exactly why, other than to say the Holy Spirit drew me into this and opened my eyes. Then I had a serious car accident in May of this year and was tied down to the computer because I couldn't do much else. The first truth-about-Islam blog I found was this one, when Jason commented over at Jihad Watch. And here I am! As a Christian, I don't take the credit, of course.
We all come to our realization of truth in our own way, don't we? And it took me over three years of research until I felt able to talk coherently about what I had learned. You are way ahead of me on the personal timeline of knowledge!

10/2/05, 10:01 PM  

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