Secular Humanism Hasn’t a Chance in Hell Against Radical Islamism. A Warning from Eurabia.

 

Dawkins

Last week, three Irish citizens, several Germans, one Portuguese, one Russian, a Belgian and nearly thirty Brits were murdered on the beaches of Tunisia. In France, an Islamic nutcase murdered and beheaded his former boss. In Kuwait, Islamic extremists bombed and killed more than two dozen people and injured many hundreds more. In the Syrian border town of Kobane, ISIS massacred at least 146 civilians. Since 9/11, hundreds of thousands of people (the majority of them Muslims) have died at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists. Every week, across the globe, exponents of Islamic supremacy murder and maim hundreds. From Boko Haram in Nigeria to Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Yemen; from Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank to ISIS in Northern Syria and Iraq – Islamic extremism is on the march.

The West is in theory fundamentally opposed to this deadly human virus, but in practice frighteningly paralyzed in the face of the greatest threat it’s faced since the end of the Cold War. As religion in the West declined in the latter half of the 20th century, it became impossible for secularized opinion-formers to take religion seriously. Religious belief and its power had little impact on their own hearts and minds, they seemed to think, so why should it matter to others? Their apostasy left them unable to deal with reality: For many people around the world (a growing number, too), religion is not merely for ceremony or funerals, but everything in life — and for some worth taking lives, too.

To their credit, some Western secularists have woken up to this deadly threat, with some calling for a unique response. They have called on Europeans and Americans to create a new Enlightenment, one that espouses secular values alone, to destroy Islamic and religious fundamentalism. The highest-circulation daily paper in Ireland recently featured a letter arguing that the key to defeating ISIS was not bombs but Europeans who espoused the secular values of the Enlightenment: freedom, tolerance, equality, and secularism. That’s my summary in my own words, but note: no religion allowed. It almost made me laugh, it was so naive. 

The most famous female apostate from Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, fled Somalia for tolerant Holland. She lost her faith and became infatuated with Enlightenment philosophers and values. In her book Infidel, she wrote, “Society worked without reference to God, and it seemed to function perfectly.” But her views soon got her into trouble in enlightened, secular Holland. For you see, the Dutch elite portray themselves as freedom-lovers, but Ali discovered that when she used her to freedom to criticize Islam, the liberal elite in the Netherlands didn’t want to know. She found out to her cost that they would not protect her, either. This is not a problem of course unique to the Netherlands.

She wasn’t the first in Europe, and sadly she will not be the last. Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Geert Wilders, Oriana Fallaci, Kurt Westergaard also discovered that “enlightened” post-Christian Europe wasn’t nearly as friendly to freedom of speech or expression as advertised. Hate-speech laws and the threat of violence now pose an ever-present danger to those who challenge the status quo. Why?

William Kilpatricks, author of the great book, Christianity, Islam and Atheism, suggests a plausible answer:

Enlightenment values are inextricably tied to Christian values. This view has been put forward most forcefully on the Continent in recent years by Marcello Pera (former President of the Italian Senate, and an agnostic) and by Benedict XVI (not an agnostic). They have argued that the Enlightenment grew out of Christianity organically, as a tree grows from its roots. Cut off from its roots the tree dies. 

This history teacher cannot but agree. The belief that every person has a value and dignity of his/her own, separate from his membership in a tribe or a society or his or her sex, originates in the Judeo-Christian biblical declaration that man is made in the image of God. As many historians familiar with this cultural fact know – this belief does not come from the thinkers of the Enlightenment, which stole this idea and stripped from it its religious foundation. These values too, which entered the world through Christians and Jews, are objectively true no matter how poorly Christians and Jews have failed to live up to them. 

William Kilpatrick goes on to say:

“Secular societies can only assume human dignity and human rights. Now some secular thinkers today realise this, but some more believe this doesn’t matter. They hold that Enlightenment humanism emerged ex nihilo, or perhaps from spontaneous advances in science, reason, and ethics. Thus, they say, Enlightenment values have no need of God. Yet when confronted, these people can never explain why these values have fallen on hard times precisely in those countries that are most thoroughly post-Christian.”

Freedom of speech and expression, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion are defended much more vigorously in still-Christian America (even if it is weakening, perhaps, by the day) than they are in post-Christian France or Holland or Britain or Germany or Italy or Denmark or Austria or Ireland. Ask Geert Wilders, who is regularly arrested and threatened with jail for speaking his mind and criticizing Islam. He praises the United States for its First Amendment, which Holland and the EU do not have. His countrywoman Hirsi Ali likewise fled to America in fear of her life. Fallaci was driven out of Italy and to the US by Italy’s hate speech laws. The irony of fleeing to a country that many enlightened Europeans regard as backward is not lost on them.

Ironically, Europeans will find more freedom of speech in the Bible-belt of America — loathed by sophisticated, wife-swapping secular Europeans as a land of imbeciles — than in your average European university or public sphere. With their speech codes, hate-speech rules, and habit of banning “controversial” speakers or groups (pro-life, anti-Islam, pro-Israel, conservative, Catholic), European and American universities are among the least free institutions in Western society. In fact rather than being simply post Christian in some cases, they can appear and are anti-Christian.

In the same article, Kilpatricks states, profoundly:

What happened in the universities is essentially what happened in Europe. Both suffered a loss of faith … and in the process of losing their religion both became increasingly uninterested in cultivating or protecting genuine freedoms. Moreover, like post-Christian Europe, the post-Christian university has shown little ability to resist Islamization. Thanks to Saudi money and well-organized Muslim student associations, many universities are beginning to act like apologists for the Wahabbi faith.

So what does that mean for Europe? For its secular values? For its very survival as a centre of freedom and democracy?

It’s becoming increasingly clear to serious believers, as well as to agnostics and atheists capable of serious thought, that it is unlikely a secular Europe – even one that ascribes to a humanistic and enlightened form of secularism — can defeat radical Islam. It’s precisely this secular ideology that produced the spiritual, hedonistic, nihilistic and population vacuum in Europe. In many respects secularism is the cause of its own undoing. By focusing on solely this life and neglecting any possibility of the next, pleasure ultimately becomes the dominant life narrative and avoidance of that which causes he/she to reduce it. Atheists and agnostics have fewer children as they are expensive and time consuming. Europe as a result has to import people to sustain its entitlement-funded economies and do the jobs it will not. The population vacuum is now being filled slowly by Islam and its members across European countries who in no way share these “enlightenment values” but rather their own values. 

In a wonderful piece for the Spectator last year (http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8932301/atheism-has-failed-only-religion-can-fight-the-barbarians) the ex Chief Rabbi of the UK – Dr. Jonathon Sacks argued sharply that Post Christian Britain and Europe is facing a tremendous crisis in the making which atheism has little answers too. He pointed out something which this article has tried to say – no society lasts long term without a cohesive religious viewpoint, that without it in the long term societies will wither, decline and waste away. He also whacked at the idea that secularism by itself could defeat the barbarian values of fundamentalism. He then issued this warning line that should people not rediscover their religious values and self confidence that history has shown the other side will not have same qua mes. – “The barbarians win. They always do.”

Having lost their religion, many Europeans are discovering that the very values they once thought precious are being undermined and that there is an unwillingness to fight and die for the protection of post-Christian values. But one religion at present and its followers are more than willing to fight and die for theirs. Europe is heading for a new Dark Ages. Christianity, much-maligned and mocked, will not be there to help us this time. But I hope and pray that we will see sense long before this nightmare scenario takes place.

 

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There are 98 comments.

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  1. Percival Thatcher

    Christianity may be maligned, mocked, but it is nevertheless still there. Recondite, but right where they left it. Some will look, and those that look will find it again.

    I do pray for those whose search has not yet begun.

    • #1
    • July 4, 2015, at 8:07 PM PDT
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  2. MJBubba Inactive

    I am afraid that we will have no success in convincing the secularists that the threat to them from Islam is more grave than the threat that they perceive from Christians. They are too busy hating the Christians to pay attention.

    • #2
    • July 4, 2015, at 8:37 PM PDT
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  3. Zafar Member

    I always thought that secular humanism (and multiculturalism) got a big boost in post War Europe because of a general reaction against the whole Blut und Boden thing (which often included, because of how history played out, ‘official’ or ‘national’ religious ideologies). And that people are wary of opposition against any particular immigrant religion or ethnicity because that ties so easily into these (still present, if mostly underground) troubling cultural currents and tendencies.

    • #3
    • July 4, 2015, at 10:32 PM PDT
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  4. iWe Reagan
    iWe

    Excellent post.

    It bears pointing out that while the idea that each person has inherent value because the Torah says each person is made in the image of G-d and invested with His spirit, the idea of mutual tolerance for those who worship differently found its first broad adherence in the American colonies. Tolerance is essential to the American experiment, but it was not always a feature of our faiths.

    • #4
    • July 5, 2015, at 3:36 AM PDT
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  5. Odysseus Inactive

    Great post.

    I only have one minor quibble, which is that the religious decline might usefully be traced back further, to the 19th century, and linked to the rise of communism and fascism. These twin atheistic/pagan ideologies then both fed in to the current crop of Islamic theofascism, particularly in the Levant and Iran. In a sense, then, post- or anti-Christianity is at least partly responsible both for the roots of Islamic theofascism and also for the lack of a coherent response in the West.

    I am also reminded of Yuri Bezmenov’s analysis of Soviet subversion techniques (on YouTube). Essentially, his assertion is that the KGB’s view of how to subvert a nation was to begin by attacking that nation’s religion. I’ve also just noticed that in one of your previous posts (here) you quote an interview with a Chinese official reflecting much the same view, that “the heart of your culture is your religion”.

    The trouble is that we can’t turn back the clock, and whilst I have a great deal of sympathy for efforts to revive Christianity in the West, I’ve come to the view that the only hope for the West is in some new spiritual revelation. Wacky, I know.

    • #5
    • July 5, 2015, at 4:24 AM PDT
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  6. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    I would argue with the suppressed premise that irreligious societies are incapable of mustering up the will to fight and die. The history of the Nazi and Soviet murder machines militates against that thesis, doesn’t it? (Might also be worth noting that in both cases, a more-religious West was exceptionally slow to recognize the nature of the threat. It’s not clear to me that blindness to this kind of danger is a recent phenomenon.)

    • #6
    • July 5, 2015, at 4:49 AM PDT
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  7. iWe Reagan
    iWe

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:I would argue with the suppressed premise that irreligious societies are incapable of mustering up the will to fight and die. The history of the Nazi and Soviet murder machines militates against that thesis, doesn’t it?

    But those were societies who were truly passionate about an ideology. What is the ideology that would motivate liberals to violence?

    • #7
    • July 5, 2015, at 5:07 AM PDT
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  8. David Foster Member

    Odysseus: The trouble is that we can’t turn back the clock, and whilst I have a great deal of sympathy for efforts to revive Christianity in the West, I’ve come to the view that the only hope for the West is in some new spiritual revelation. Wacky, I know.

    Reminds me of this passage from Arthur Koestler’s 1950 novel The Age of Longing:

    Her thoughts travelled back to Sister Boutillot standing in the alley which led to the pond…Oh, if she could only go back to the infinite comfort of father confessors and mother superiors, of a well-ordered hierarchy which promised punishment and reward, and furnished the world with justice and meaning. If only one could go back! But she was under the curse of reason, which rejected whatever might quench her thirst without abolishing the gnawing of the urge; which rejected the answer without abolishing the question. For the place of God had become vacant and there was a draught blowing through the world as in an empty flat before the new tenants have arrived.

    Sleeping with the Enemy

     

    • #8
    • July 5, 2015, at 5:09 AM PDT
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  9. MJBubba Inactive

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:I would argue with the suppressed premise that irreligious societies are incapable of mustering up the will to fight and die. The history of the Nazi and Soviet murder machines militates against that thesis, doesn’t it? (Might also be worth noting that in both cases, a more-religious West was exceptionally slow to recognize the nature of the threat. It’s not clear to me that blindness to this kind of danger is a recent phenomenon.)

    They were not “irreligious.” National Socialism/unity-and-triumph-of-Germans was the religion of the Nazis. Atheist Communism/unity-and-triumph-of-Soviets was the religion of the Russians.

    • #9
    • July 5, 2015, at 5:26 AM PDT
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  10. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    iWe:But those were societies who were truly passionate about an ideology. What is the ideology that would motivate liberals to violence?

    I suspect that even the most Godless of liberals would much sooner kill than be killed. Indeed, you could easily argue that Christian belief, with its emphasis on meekness, cheek-turning, and humility, sounds like a positive battlefield liability. But of course that hasn’t historically been true, so I don’t know how much good it does us to try to predict how bellicose a society will be based on acceptance of Christian doctrine.

    My point, though — and I think this is beyond dispute — is that Godless societies cannot be charged with a tendency toward pacifism. And indeed France (which Paddy chose as his example) is hardly a pacifist country. It always surprises me that people overlook what France did in Mali. I think to date it’s the only example we have of a Western country successfully pushing back an Islamist juggernaut of that scale. They didn’t do it by wife-swapping, either. 

    • #10
    • July 5, 2015, at 5:30 AM PDT
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  11. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    MJBubba: They were not “irreligious.” National Socialism/unity-and-triumph-of-Germans was the religion of the Nazis. Atheist Communism/unity-and-triumph-of-Soviets was the religion of the Russians.

    That’s a metaphor, though. To say “these were their religions” means, “these were their zealously held and irrational beliefs.” The architects of these regimes did not believe that their overarching loyalty was owed to a transcendent creator whose laws were greater than that of any man.

    • #11
    • July 5, 2015, at 5:35 AM PDT
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  12. E. Kent Golding Member

    There will be some Christians left, but more importantly — The Christian’s God is still there. God acts at a time and by a method of His own choosing. But Act, He does.

    • #12
    • July 5, 2015, at 5:41 AM PDT
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  13. Odysseus Inactive

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    That’s a metaphor, though. To say “these were their religions” means, “these were their zealously held and irrational beliefs.” The architects of these regimes did not believe that their overarching loyalty was owed to a transcendent creator whose laws were greater than that of any man.

    I think this is something of a red herring — atheism is a form of religion too. In the Soviet Union, International Communism was god (i.e., “the absolute good”). I would suggest a definition of religion for the purposes of this discussion in terms of an “irrefragable, absolute good” that trumps every other consideration in the minds of its adherents, rather than assuming it is “irrational” ab initio.

    The argument being put forward seems to me, then, to be that there is no sense in much of the West that we ought to win, such that might come from a belief (in the mind of the population) to an adherence to an absolute good, as in Christianity or indeed communism.

    • #13
    • July 5, 2015, at 5:45 AM PDT
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  14. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Odysseus:

    I think this is something of a red herring — atheism is a form of religion too. In the Soviet Union, International Communism was god (i.e., “the absolute good”). I would suggest a definition of religion for the purposes of this discussion in terms of an “irrefragable, absolute good” that trumps every other consideration in the minds of its adherents, rather than assuming it is “irrational” ab initio.

    Fair enough, although I’m not sure it’s how the word “religion” is conventionally understood. Still, let’s use this definition. I don’t believe that the historical record supports the idea that absent a strong, collective belief in an irrefrageble, absolute good, people and societies will abjure aggression (or self-defense).

    • #14
    • July 5, 2015, at 5:51 AM PDT
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  15. iWe Reagan
    iWe

    Badderbrau:There will be some Christians left, but more importantly — The Christian’s God is still there. God acts at a time and by a method of His own choosing. But Act, He does.

    This is precisely the kind of mindset that becomes a crutch for inaction. Are you certain that G-d does not want you to be proactive?

    • #15
    • July 5, 2015, at 6:03 AM PDT
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  16. iWe Reagan
    iWe

    The underlying question remains: Is American liberalism sufficiently ideological to motivate men to fight and die for? Beyond narcissism, hedonism and pagan nature worship, I really don’t know what liberals truly stand for – and none of the above invoke the depths of bloodlust that characterized the French or Russian revolutions.

    • #16
    • July 5, 2015, at 6:06 AM PDT
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  17. David Foster Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Fair enough, although I’m not sure it’s how the word “religion” is conventionally understood. Still, let’s use this definition. I don’t believe that the historical record supports the idea that absent a strong, collective belief in an irrefrageble, absolute good, people and societies will abjure aggression (or self-defense).

    Agree that they don’t have to believe in an “irrefrageble, absolute good” in order to fight aggressively or defensively. Members of the society *do*, however, have to feel that they are part of a web of connections that make their sacrifice meaningful..that they are helping to create or preserve something important. For thoughts on this, see St-Exupery in “Flight to Arras,” in which the author tries to explain to himself why he needs to go to probable death in a campaign that is already lost.

    • #17
    • July 5, 2015, at 6:07 AM PDT
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  18. Eugene Kriegsmann Member

    A wonderful post!

    I have to call myself an agnostic, once I called myself an atheist. However, it has long been obvious to me that without religion, without the discipline of religious training that many young people in this country are unable to sustain a sense of morality and purpose. They seem adrift without anchors or even a compass.

    In my own loss of faith I found myself beginning a life long search. I have often compared the course of my life to that of Hesse’s Siddhartha, and read and reread the book many times seeing the similarities, noting the direction in which I was traveling.

    Religion, or, at least, a moral structure, provides a discipline in life that its absence cannot. The loss of that discipline is seen in the disdain in which modern “intellectuals” hold the great works of Western Civilization, preferring in their stead the garbage produced through “diversity.” This destruction of the roots of our culture makes us vulnerable to the winds of change wrought by rise of Islamic fundamentalism. Without a faith as strong as our opponents’ we are completely defenseless. When I traveled in the Middle East I was told by Iranians that Teheran was a city without a mother. It had no history. Without the moral structure that our founding fathers used as the basis of our democracy we are a nation without a mother.

    • #18
    • July 5, 2015, at 6:11 AM PDT
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  19. Odysseus Inactive

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:Fair enough, although I’m not sure it’s how the word “religion” is conventionally understood. Still, let’s use this definition. I don’t believe that the historical record supports the idea that absent a strong, collective belief in an irrefrageble, absolute good, people and societies will abjure aggression (or self-defense).

    I was going back to the Greek idea of god=good, and the notion of the summum bonum as used in the philosophy of religion.

    As to your point that those societies without a strong sense of an absolute good are just as violent as religious ones, I think I’d need convincing – for the simple reason that secular society seems (to me) to be a relatively new concept. Perhaps my knowledge of history is simply lacking, but whenever I try to think of an example of a secular society or nation from history, I can only think of the odd isolated group from any period of history (the Epicureans, for instance). Even modern “secular society” is not completely secular – despite attempts to stamp out “traditional” religion in France and Russia, much of the population remains religious (even if, like myself, in idiosyncratic and eclectic ways). I’m even tempted to go further and suggest that spiritual/religious belief (in the sense of the summum bonum) is inherent in everyone, whether they think so or not – in other words, our deepest motivations are in some sense non-rational categorical imperatives to us.

    In other words, just like atheism, a belief in “secularism” (whatever that is) is also a form of religion, just an extremely nebulous one based on notions like positive human rights which simply can’t provide a strong enough answer to Islam.

    • #19
    • July 5, 2015, at 6:13 AM PDT
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  20. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Paddy Siochain:So what of secular values? It’s becoming increasingly clear to serious believers, as well as to agnostics and atheists capable of serious thought, that it is unlikely a secular Europe – even if it ascribes to a humanistic and enlightened form of secularism — can defeat radical Islam. It’s precisely this secular ideology that produced the spiritual and population vacuum in Europe. Atheists have fewer children. Europe has to import people to sustain its entitlement-funded economies. The vacuum is now being filled by Islam.

    Having lost their religion, many are discovering their unwillingness to fight and die for post-Christian values. But the religious are more than willing to fight and die for theirs. Europe is heading for a new Dark Ages. Christianity, much-maligned and mocked, will not be there to help us this time.

    <Devil’s Advocate Mode=”on”>

    Secular humanism has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.

    </Devil’s Advocate Mode=”off”>

    Thoughts?

    • #20
    • July 5, 2015, at 6:37 AM PDT
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  21. John Walker Contributor

    Eugene Kriegsmann: When I traveled in the Middle East I was told by Iranians that Tehran was a city without a mother. It had no history.

    What I think they were referring to is the city of Tehran itself, which was an undistinguished village until Agha Mohammed Khan chose it as his capital in 1796. Iranians are very conscious of their heritage of having been one of the greatest empires of antiquity and, unlike some benighted Islamic societies, are proud of this pre-Islamic history and take good care of its artefacts, for example, Persepolis.

    I have read some analyses (for example, Amir Taheri’s The Persian Night) of Iran’s foreign policy which say that it is motivated as much by a desire to re-establish the glories of the Persian Empires (in the modern form of being a regional hegemon), as by Islamic millennialism.

    • #21
    • July 5, 2015, at 6:56 AM PDT
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  22. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    iWe:The underlying question remains: Is American liberalism sufficiently ideological to motivate men to fight and die for?

    Well, we have the evidence of survey data that suggests American millennials are more hostile to the idea of using the military than older Americans. Whether this is because they don’t believe in fighting and dying for their ideals or because they have no faith that the use of the military will serve those ends isn’t clear.

    Another mass-casualty attack on American soil (God forbid) would give us a better understanding of what they really believe. It’s emphatically not an experiment I desire to see conducted to satisfy my intellectual curiosity. But instinct tells me that were it to happen, a lot of those millennials would discover in themselves an unaccustomed bloodlust. They may not seem to be for anything — and indeed they may not be — but most people, when their own cities are destroyed, discover that they’re very much against something.

    As banal as the thesis may be, I suspect the reason that majorities in the US and Europe shrug off not only the threats emanating from the Islamic world but from Russia, China, and North Korea is that these places feel distant and abstract. We can talk all we like about how connected the Internet has made us, but the reality is that for the great majority of the population in both Europe and the US, places like Mali and North Korea and Ukraine may as well be Jupiter: People don’t deny that they exist, but they don’t exist to them in the way their own neighborhoods do. Tojo called the US a sleeping giant, suggesting that then as now, it took a lot to wake Americans up. Most Americans ain’t got no quarrel with the Viet Cong, so to speak, because the Viet Cong don’t seem entirely real.

    It’s fair to say that Judaism is alive and well in Israel, and that most Israelis are deeply resigned to the idea of self-defense. But Israeli newspapers (the English-language ones; I don’t read Hebrew) don’t seem at all preoccupied with the Spratly Islands. Chinese irredentism clearly does not strike them as their most pressing concern.

    • #22
    • July 5, 2015, at 6:56 AM PDT
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  23. Paddy S Member
    Paddy S Post author

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:I would argue with the suppressed premise that irreligious societies are incapable of mustering up the will to fight and die. The history of the Nazi and Soviet murder machines militates against that thesis, doesn’t it? (Might also be worth noting that in both cases, a more-religious West was exceptionally slow to recognize the nature of the threat. It’s not clear to me that blindness to this kind of danger is a recent phenomenon.)

    I think that in the short term irreligious societies could indeed survive and take the fight to Islamic radicalism, but not for the long term. Keeping in mind totalitarian irreligious states are not the same as democratic ones – which must answer to the will of their people. The threshhold for violence particularly how much violence it could withstand is far fewer in a representative democracy.

    These people have the will and the numbers – I dont think you could say same about West, Claire. The only proven check in the past against Islamic fundamentalism – at Tours, Lepanto, Vienna was Christendom. That’s long gone. We’re in a whole different ball game that plays by the century, not the decade….

    • #23
    • July 5, 2015, at 7:10 AM PDT
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  24. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: <Devil’s Advocate Mode=”on”> Secular humanism has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.

    Well, let’s start with a definition of secular humanism. Have one at the ready, perchance?

    • #24
    • July 5, 2015, at 7:18 AM PDT
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  25. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Paddy Siochain: I think that in the short term irreligious societies could indeed survive and take the fight to Islamic radicalism, but not for the long term. Keeping in mind totalitarian irreligious states are not the same as democratic ones – which must answer to the will of their people. The threshhold for violence particularly how much violence it could withstand is far fewer in a representative democracy.

    You may be right — I don’t have the ability to see the future — but people made this argument about communism, too. Open societies proved to have surprising strengths.

    • #25
    • July 5, 2015, at 7:30 AM PDT
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  26. Richard Fulmer Member

    Eugene Kriegsmann:A wonderful post!

    I have to call myself an agnostic, once I called myself an atheist. However, it has long been obvious to me that without religion, without the discipline of religious training that many young people in this country are unable to sustain a sense of morality and purpose. They seem adrift without anchors or even a compass.

    In my own loss of faith I found myself beginning a life long search. I have often compared the course of my life to that of Hesse’s Siddhartha, and read and reread the book many times seeing the similarities, noting the direction in which I was traveling.

    Religion, or, at least, a moral structure, provides a discipline in life that its absence cannot. The loss of that discipline is seen in the disdain in which modern “intellectuals” hold the great works of Western Civilization, preferring in their stead the garbage produced through “diversity.” This destruction of the roots of our culture makes us vulnerable to the winds of change wrought by rise of Islamic fundamentalism. Without a faith as strong as our opponents’ we are completely defenseless. When I traveled in the Middle East I was told by Iranians that Teheran was a city without a mother. It had no history. Without the moral structure that our founding fathers used as the basis of our democracy we are a nation without a mother.

    Scientists discard theories that “don’t work.” Theories that “work” may not be the Truth, but they must at least be an approximation of the truth. Aren’t you saying that atheism doesn’t “work” – at least for whole societies? If an idea or philosophy fails to enable people to better deal with the world as it is, shouldn’t it be discarded?

    • #26
    • July 5, 2015, at 7:45 AM PDT
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  27. Western Chauvinist Member

    I think we’re rather missing the cause/effect of the Obama era. Our two-term President advances the notion that there’s really nothing all that special about America (and, by extension, the West). He’s a multi-culti kind of guy. He’s hip. He’s cool. He’s the embodiment of all the secular humanists’ conceits, despite his (rather pathetic) confession of Christian faith.

    Sure, he’s happy to send in a few (thousand) drones to target “the enemy.” And, maybe he’ll arbitrarily knock off a government here and there (Libya). But he’s so obviously capricious in his “leadership” that he makes our staunchest allies nervous, and our resolute enemies giddy.

    This is the future I see for a godless West. A post-Christian West is a de-westernized West. I’ve often thought Obama’s presidential motto should be, “Meh, things could be worse.” That’s no way to defeat an enemy, and he doesn’t seem particularly interested in winning, unless it’s against his domestic enemies — conservatives.

    The saying may not be absolutely true, but it’s mostly true: there are no atheists in foxholes. As a modern version, maybe we should change it to, “not many atheists turn up at the recruitment office.”

    Natan Sharansky wrote on the topic in Defending Identity. These privileged, coddled “citizens of the world” are more concerned about people who believe in defending/promoting western ideals than in actual enemies of the West.

    Great post, Paddy.

    • #27
    • July 5, 2015, at 7:48 AM PDT
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  28. Richard Fulmer Member

    I agree with Paddy’s thesis – the loss of faith results in a reluctance or inability to defend one’s way of life – but I don’t understand the mechanism by which the cause leads to the effect. The best I can come up with is that, without faith, people lose the sense of something greater than themselves. If I am the greatest good, then my happiness comes before everything else. I don’t worry about future generations because there is no future after me. I therefore resent and resist anyone who points out great evils to me, because I don’t want to have to deal with them. I want the powers that be to just kick the can down the road until after I’m gone.

    • #28
    • July 5, 2015, at 7:55 AM PDT
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  29. PJS Thatcher
    PJS

    iWe:The underlying question remains: Is American liberalism sufficiently ideological to motivate men to fight and die for? Beyond narcissism, hedonism and pagan nature worship, I really don’t know what liberals truly stand for – and none of the above invoke the depths of bloodlust that characterized the French or Russian revolutions.

    It is my observation that Liberalism motivates: liking things on Facebook, signing online petitions, sharing outrage. Actually doing something requires real effort.

    • #29
    • July 5, 2015, at 7:57 AM PDT
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  30. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Paddy Siochain:

    These people have the will and the numbers – I dont think you could say same about West, Claire. The only proven check in the past against Islamic fundamentalism – at Tours, Lepanto, Vienna was Christendom. That’s long gone. We’re in a whole different ball game that plays by the century, not the decade….

    Regarding Lepanto and Vienna, I’m not sure the Ottomans are rightly characterized as Islamic fundamentalists. Nor did Christendom unite itself against them in the 16th and 17th centuries. In fact, France during much of that period was either a direct or indirect ally of the Ottomans in opposition to their mutual enemy the Hapsburgs. During the 1540s, France even allowed the Ottoman fleet to winter over in Toulon and Suleiman’s destruction of Hungary in the 1520s was encouraged by the French. Later, Hungarian Protestants allied themselves with the Ottomans because they viewed the Catholic Hapsburgs as more oppressive.

    For that matter religion itself is not sufficient as a check. The majority of the Christian world was conquered by the Islam in the 7th and 8th centuries.

    • #30
    • July 5, 2015, at 8:04 AM PDT
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