Friday, February 24, 2023

Islam and Western Civilization: Pillar or Pillager?

From noted Roman Catholic author and Tolkien scholar, Joseph Pearce, comes a sharp rebuttal of the fallacious belief that Islam is somehow compatible with, and even central to, Western Civilization. Excerpt:

The seven pillars of Western Civilization are the edifying edifices which tower over the landscape of the centuries as a fortress of faith and a beacon of reason. Islam has served throughout the centuries as an outside force which has repeatedly laid siege to the fortress, seeking its overthrow.

Islam and Western Civilization

By Joseph Pearce| The Imaginative Conservative |January 28th, 2023

Several weeks ago I wrote an essay for this illustrious journal entitled “The Seven Pillars of Western Civilization” in which I listed the seven seminal tomes which form the textual foundation of the civilization of the West. These are The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, The Bible, The City of God, the Summa Theologica and The Divine Comedy. Collectively, these texts epitomize why Western Civilization is founded on the three civilizations of Athens, Jerusalem and Rome.

This is not the place to offer explanations with respect to the rationale for why these seven texts were selected instead of other contenders. Those interested in understanding the reason for the selection are invited to read the original essay.

What surprised me was that several readers of the original essay admonished me for failing to include the Qur’an as one of the seven pillars of wisdom on which Western Civilization is built. This seems to beg the obvious question which I thought my essay had answered implicitly. What exactly is Western Civilization? If it is anything at all, it must be something rooted in a cohesive and coherent set of common values, which are themselves the fruit of cohesive and coherent theological and philosophical principles.

In brief and in sum, Western Civilization in its fullness and fruitfulness is a synonym for Christendom. [Emphasis added -ed.] It is the consummation of the mythological and philosophical musings of the Greeks and the fulfilment of the theological covenant of the Jews in the Person of Jesus Christ as made manifest in the Church He founded throughout the centuries since His Incarnation. The quest and questions of Athens and Jerusalem are fulfilled and answered in the Gospel as enunciated by the One who proclaims Himself to be the Way, the Truth and the Life. Christ incarnates the transcendental trinity of the Good, the True and the Beautiful in who He is.

If this is so, the Qur’an is not one of the foundational pillars of wisdom on which the West is built but is a subversive text which undermines those very foundations. If Christ is who He says He is, Muhammed is a false prophet. This is as logically inescapable as it is theologically obvious.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Raymond Ibrahim: 'The Never Ending ‘Pandemic’: 360 Million Christians Persecuted Worldwide'

 "Perhaps the most disturbing trend is that, since the inception of the World Watch List, the persecution of Christians has nearly doubled..."

The Never Ending ‘Pandemic’: 360 Million Christians Persecuted Worldwide

by Raymond Ibrahim, 2/8/2023

originally published at Gatestone Institute

In 2022, 5,621 Christian around the world were “killed for faith related reasons.”  Another 4,542 Christians were illegally detained or arrested, and 2,110 churches were attacked, many destroyed.  Over all, the global persecution of Christians remains higher than ever, with 360 million believers suffering high levels of discrimination and violence.

These are among some of the findings of the World Watch List-2023, which was recently published by the international humanitarian organization, Open Doors. Each year the report ranks the top 50 nations where Christians are most persecuted for their faith by using data from approximately 4,000 field workers and external experts to quantify and analyze persecution worldwide.

Crunching some numbers, the report finds that, on average, one in seven Christians (14%) are persecuted around the world. In Africa, that number grows to one in five (20%), while in Asia it is as much as two in five—meaning a whopping 40% of all Christians are persecuted there.

Christians suffer “extreme levels of persecution” in the top 11 of the 50 nations.  This ranges from being assaulted, raped, imprisoned or slaughtered on being identified as a Christian or attending (usually underground) churches.

Those nations and their respective rankings are: 1)      North Korea, 2) Somalia, 3) Yemen, 4) Eritrea, 5) Libya, 6) Nigeria, 7) Pakistan, 8) Iran, 9) Afghanistan, 10) Sudan, 11) India.

Coming in at #1, the absolute worst nation is North Korea, “with the highest levels of persecution ever seen,” says the report:

If discovered by the authorities, believers are either sent to labour camps as political prisoners where the conditions are atrocious, or killed on the spot—and their families will share their fate as well. Christians have absolutely no freedom….  A new ‘anti-reactionary thought law’ makes it amply clear that being a Christian or possessing a Bible is a serious crime and will be severely punished.

Most of the “extreme persecution” meted out to Christians in nine of the top 11 worst nations continues, however, to come either from Islamic oppression, or takes place in Muslim-majority nations. This means that approximately 80% of the absolute worst persecution around the globe takes place in the name of Islam.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Announcing a New Book on Islam from an Orthodox Christian Perspective

Respected writer and Orthodox Christian priest, Fr. Lawrence Farley, has announced his new book on Islam: Exploring Islam: A Christian Perspective on the Life of Muhammad and the Qur'an, available now from Sebastian Press.

Regular readers of this blog may remember Fr Lawrence from previous posts:

In the article below, Fr Lawrence presents an introduction to his book, at one point stating his purpose: 

Scholarly research and impartial detailed examination of the history of Muhammad and his movement, and of the sayings he transmitted (eventually collected and published as “the Qur’an”) prove that the claims Islam makes for itself cannot be sustained. Wherever the truth about God lies, it is not here.

I have ordered a copy, and plan to provide a review after reading it. Given Fr Lawrence's previous articles, and his stated purpose in the below article, I look forward to what may be a helpful resource for Christians in presenting the Saving Gospel of Jesus Christ to our Muslim neighbors. 

Exploring Islam

February 16, 2023 | Fr. Lawrence Farley | No Other Foundation

I would like you all to meet a young woman, raised a devout Roman Catholic, who converted to Islam. Her online story reads in part as follows:

“I’m one of the many western converts out there… I grew up in a very traditional orthodox Christian household. My family was going to church and respecting all traditions, but it was mostly something they did out of habit, not something they actually felt… I could never agree with many concepts Christianity supports. I did try to accept it, I did want to be firm in my convictions, but it never happened…I had the best intentions in the world for any religion that came to me, but the one and only that stuck in my heart was Islam…The moment I started reading the Qur’an, I felt this incredible wave of love surrounding me and all the weight from my shoulders was lifted off. I will never be able to put it in words…Here I am after years, still a Muslim, and an incredibly grateful one. I was 18 when I converted.”

One can only feel for this young woman who by her own testimony never managed to find Christ. And one does wonder about the paths she trod as a Roman Catholic, especially since she also said that when she converted to Islam it was her priest who gave her a copy of the Qur’an. But I share her story in order to focus upon the need for the Church to deal with Islam here in the West. Though perhaps not typical, her story is hardly unique, and includes some big name converts such as Cat Stevens, who converted to Islam in 1976.

Islam is, to say the least, a very controversial religion. For some people, especially since the tragedy of 9-11, all Muslims are either terrorists or potential terrorists. For others, Islam is a religion of peace, and is unjustly slandered by Neanderthal “Islamophobes”. Obviously Islam, like any large religion, contains of number of very diverse people, and sweeping generalizations make things difficult. Where does the truth lie?

Monday, February 13, 2023

William Kilpatrick and Raymond Ibrahim: 'Defenders of Faith and Family'

William Kilpatrick's stirring, in-depth review of Raymond Ibrahim's newest book, is itself a vigorous rallying cry to defenders of Western Christian Culture against not merely Islamic supremacy or terrorism, but against the anti-Christian, anti-family and anti-human Progressive, Leftist agenda.

Defenders of Faith and Family

Like today’s leftists, the Ottoman Turks wanted to turn Christian children against their parents; but one man turned the tables on them.

by William Kilpatrick, Crisis Magazine

Christianity was saved in Europe solely because the peoples of Europe fought. If [Europeans]…had not possessed a military equality with, and gradually a growing superiority over the Mohammedans who invaded Europe, Europe would at this moment be Mohammedan and the Christian religion would be exterminated. 
—Theodore Roosevelt

I came across Roosevelt’s observation in Raymond Ibrahim’s recent book, Defenders of the West: The Christian Heroes who stood against Islam. At a time when Islam once again seems poised to conquer Europe—this time by dint of immigration and higher birthrates—Ibrahim’s book serves as a timely reminder that this clash of civilizations is far from over.

Defenders of the West focuses on eight individuals who fought against Islamic armies at various times in past centuries. Interestingly, Ibrahim himself can be considered a modern-day “defender of the West” or, more accurately, “defender of the faith.”

I say this because the faith can’t be effectively defended unless Christians first realize that it needs defending. Much of Ibrahim’s work concerns the oppression of Christians by Muslims all over the world but particularly in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East—a story that relatively few Western Christians are familiar with.

Ibrahim, of course, also writes about the continuing threat to the West—to Europe and the Americas. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Links to provide Relief Aid to Victims of the Earthquakes in Turkey & Syria

From the Communication Office of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops,

h/t Monomakhos

The Assembly of Bishops’ international humanitarian relief agency, International Orthodox Christian Charities (“IOCC”), is mobilizing direct relief on the ground. They have set a goal of $250,000 to provide immediate emergency relief. Here are their direct links:

IOCC Main Website - Donation Portal