The downside of monotheism is that it
imparts a black and white view of the world. This explains the witch hunts and
the Inquisition. There is God and Satan and nothing in between. If it is not
from God, it must be from the devil. If monotheism gives rise to witch-hunts
when there are no witches, then secularism blinds you to witches even when one
is about to throw you into the boiling cauldron as what these Islamists are now
trying to do.
It should also be noted that secular ideologies can result in intolerance and
bloodshed as well. Communism and Nazism are secular ideologies that caused
purges and massacres. I believe more people were killed by these two secular
ideologies than in the witch-hunts and the Inquisition. Think of
's killing fields. The Communists, being atheists did not feel restrained by
fear of a God that prohibits murder.
Democracy is also a secular ideology and its proponents can be as intolerant as
any religious fanatic. Other forms of government are viewed as illegitimate and
ought to be converted into democracies. Many democrats cannot tolerate any kind
of dictatorship – not the fascist kind nor the communist kind or the Islamist
kind like what you see in
. The Islamists think that the only legitimate form of government is an Islamic
state and therefore oppose Bush's plans with suicide bombers.
Thus two intolerant ideologies, one secular and the other religious are fighting
it out in the sands of
. However, I believe that democracy is not the end of history. Francis Fukuyama
is wrong. Democracy will one day be replaced by something else. Perhaps, in a
thousand years' time, people will view democrats of our present era as being
intolerant of other forms of governments like people of our era view medieval
Christians as intolerant of other religions.
Finally, what about the Crusades? In these politically correct times, the
Crusades have become a symbol of religious bigotry. It should be remembered that
for the first 1,000 years of Christian history, there was no crusade. The
Crusades happened after more than half of Christiandom was conquered by Muslims
who were trying to take over the rest. It was only then that the church decided
to put aside Christ's teachings of turning the other cheek to save the west.
Holy war was an innovation, an alien concept probably imported from Islam.
Going on Crusade was made a form of penance. This was something new. Prior to
the Crusades, doing penance to atone for one's sins was by going on pilgrimage
or spending time praying in an austere monastery or even carrying a heavy load
up a mountain as in the movie, “The Mission”. This shows that Christianity
is basically a peaceful religion that acquired its sword only under threat of
conquest and destruction.
Some Crusaders went for spiritual reasons while others went to seek their
fortunes. Whatever the reasons, they did the world a service. Without the
Crusades, Islam would probably have dominated the world by now. There would have
been no Scientific Revolution, no Enlightenment and no democracy. We would all
be living in poverty and under dictatorships like most of the Muslim world
Its true that the Crusades failed to permanently recapture the
. But it did delay the Fall of Constantinople by another 350 years and therefore
the invasion of
, allowing Christiandom time to strengthen itself.
It should also not to be forgotten that the Reconquest of Spain after the 11th
century was also officially part of the Crusades. Here in the Iberian Peninsula,
the Crusade was a success because
became permanently part of the west. The Iberian Peninsula was a far more
strategic piece of land than the Holy Land because it was from here (being
closest of the European land mass to
) that Europe discovered
. Christopher Columbus's voyage was only possible after the Fall of Granada, the
last Moorish kingdom in
The settlement and conquest of
by Christians and the resulting prosperity that the trans-Atlantic trade
brought, tipped the balance against Islam. For that we owe a huge debt to the
Crusaders especially those who fought in
. If not for that united effort from otherwise warring European monarchs, it is
would have been conquered. When the Crusade was first declared, Islam held sway
A Muslim Christopher
sailing from a Muslim Spain would have resulted in the conquest and settlement
by Muslims. Thus it would be a matter of time before the rest of the world
falls to Islam. The blood, sweat and tears of the Crusaders not only saved
Christiandom but also the world.
To sum up, in the current war against terrorism, secularism is a hindrance. It
encourages political correctness, low birth rates (fatal against the high birth
rate of Muslims), self-doubts and apathy. The west, especially
, is in a deep spiritual crisis. Secularism could be a fatal weakness in its
body politic against a resurgent Islam as polytheism probably was in 7th century
. Modern Europeans are the lucky heirs of Christian civilization which has
contributed so much to human progress. It has brought on the scientific
revolution, abolition of slavery and human rights. The separation of Church and
State also created the space for democracy to take root.
Christianity has benefited mankind well in the past and it can do so again. It
has valuable services to render, especially in helping to defeat the Islamic
threat. But for it to be useful, Christianity needs to be revived, particularly
in very secular
which was once part of Christiandom. Bring back that Old Time Religion.
(2) See the book, "The Empty
Cradle", by Longman.
(7)The Bible, Genesis 1:28
(8)See the book, “For the Glory of God” by Rodney Stark
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