Part 3 – How Civilizations Die
Watchwoman: Author, David P. Goldman, makes comparisons between Jewishness, Christianity and Islam and how those religions and their worldviews affect the growth of the death of civilization. The text is relevant to us today, in America, to Jews here and in Israel, to Muslims in all of the Arab lands, to Europe and foreign lands, to the whole of the Christian Church to all the True believers in the One Holy and True God of the Holy Bible. I believe each one reading this will find it intensely relevant to their situation, their family and their faith today, right where each of you sit! May the One, True Triune God of Bible and Love, Creator of the Universe and all things in it, open your eyes and hearts to receive His Love and Salvation for you, granting you eternal life, through the wooing of the Holy Spirit, in the Name of Jesus Christ. May you be blessed and may this lead you into truth to encounter in a personal and real way the whole message of the Gospel of Mercy God has for you. Amen and Amen. ▬ Donna Calvin
HOW CIVILIZATIONS DIE
(And Why Islam is Dying Too)
By David P. Goldman
Online Columnist “Spengler”
Chapter 10, Pages 137-155
(Posted at Watchwoman on the Wall in a Series)
You’ve heart about the Death of the West. But the Muslim world is on the brink of an even greater collapse.
Will we go down in the implosion?
ISLAM: THE ARABS AS CHOSEN PEOPLE
arbitrary whim); rather, they are lamps and clocks placed in the sky for the benefit of humankind. If God were not good, the world might not be as hospitable to humans as it is. Such a state of affairs is unimaginable to Christians or Jews. But not to Muslims, who believe that Allah can make any sort of world he wants — or indeed a different world from one day to the next.
A God of love is also a God of laws. For man to survive and prosper in the natural world, he must be able to understand enough of the laws of nature to plant crops and smelt iron and split atoms. This is not only a statement about nature but about the rightly constituted state. The biblical God places limits on his own powers by granting to man what the politicians later called inalienable rights. No one in a position of power, from kings and presidents down to the cop on the beat, may act arbitrarily, for the Covenant establishes a bond between God and every individual, whose rights are protected by laws that no earthly authority can disregard.
Allah is not a God of laws because he is not a God of love. It is possible for Muslims to love Allah, but nonsensical to imagine that God loves Muslims, declared Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058-1111), still the dominant authority in normative Islam. A leading Western historian of Islam calls him the most influential figure in Islam since the Prophet Mohammed, 6 and such putative updaters of Islam as Tariq Ramadan still base their theology on al-Ghazali. “When there is love, there must be in the lover a sense of incompleteness; a recognition that the beloved is needed for complete realization of the self,” al-Ghazali wrote. But since Allah is perfect and complete, this notion of love is nonsensical. “There is no reaching out on the part of God… there can be no change in him; no development in him; no supplying of a lack in Himself. 7
Allah is beyond love and has therefore has no need to favor humankind with laws of nature. As al-Ghazali argues,
The connection between what is habitually believe to be a cause and what is habitually believe to be an effect is not
necessary, according to us. For example, there is no causal connection between the quenching of thirst and drinking, satiety and eating, burning and contact with fire. Light and the appearance of the sun, death and decapitation, healing and the drinking of medicine…and so on to include all that is observable in connected things in medicine, astronomy, arts and crafts. Their connection is due to the prior decree of God, who creates them side by side, not to it being necessary in itself, incapable of separation… the philosophers offer no other proof than the observation of the occurrence of the burning, when there is contact with fire, but observation proves only simultaneity, not causation, and, in reality, there is no other cause but God. 8
In this mainstream Muslim view of things, Allah personally and immediately controls the motion of every molecule by his ineffable and incomprehensible will, directly and without the mediation of any laws of nature. This philosophy is called occasionalism — all things happen merely because Allah decides that they should happen on each separate occasion. Unlike the biblical God of covenants, who is bound forever to his pledge to humankind, Allah may do whatever he pleases. As Pope Benedict XVI observed in his September 2006 address at Regensburg University, the eleventh-century Muslim theologian Ahmad Ibn Said Ibn Hazm taught that Allah was not bound even by his own word, and should Allah desire it, we must become idolaters.
The Judeo-Christian notion of divine love is what makes possible the rational ordering of human existence: as an act of love towards humankind, God made nature sufficiently intelligible for us to cope with it. For Jews and Christians, the rationality of everyday life proceeds from the biblical concept of covenant. Islam eschews reason. Muslim life is arbitrary because it rejects the concept of divine love as expressed in the covenant between God and man.
It might be argued that al-Ghazali in some way corrupted the true faith of Islam, which in earlier centuries included some rationalists. But the
Koran itself is consonant with al-Ghazali’s position. The phrase ‘‘Allah loves” occurs in the Koran only sixteen times; the remote and absolutely transcendent God of Islam loves “those who do good,” “those who purify themselves,” “those who trust,” “those who act equitably,” “the doers of justice,” and above all “those who fight in His way in ranks as if they were a firm and compact wall.” Allah, in short, loves those who do him service. The Judeo-Christian notion that God has a special love for the weak and defenseless — let alone that God loves the sinner — is entirely absent in Islam. As Franz Rosenzweig wrote, “Unlike the God of faith, Allah cannot go before his own [people] and say to their face that he has chosen them above all others in all their sinfulness, and in order to make them accountable for their sins. That the failings of human beings arouse divine love more powerfully than their merits is an impossible, indeed an absurd thought to Islam — but it is the thought that stands at the heart of [Jewish and Christian] faith.” 9
For Jews and Christians, it is God’s love that exalts the individual, who is created in God’s image and thus is a fitting lover for the Maker of Heaven.
Islam, by contrast, propounds a collective identity, for Allah loves “those who fight in His way in ranks as if they were a firm and compact wall.”
Failure and Faith
For Christians and Jews, prayer is first and foremost communion with a God of love, whom Christians see in Jesus Christ, and whom Jews anthropomorphize as the divine spouse of Israel. To attribute recognizably human emotions to Allah is unimaginable within Islam. The Judeo-Christian belief that the Maker of Heaven has a personality that in some way can interact with human personalities, including through prayer, is deeply repugnant to Islam. Muslims do not seek the love of a personal God. The muezzin who summons them to prayer makes clear why Muslims pray. He calls, “Come to prayer! Come to prayer! Come to success! Come to success! Allah is Great!” Allah is a remote sovereign who loves those who faithfully serve him
147 – Continued tomorrow: February 16, 2012
Part 1 – How Civilizations Die – Posted February 13, 2012 – pps 137-140
Part 2 – How Civilizations Die – Posted February 14, 2012 – pps 141-143
Part 3 – How Civilizations Die – Posted February 15, 2012 – pps 143-146
Part 4 – How Civilizations Die – Posted February 16, 2012 – pps 147-150
Part 5 – How Civilizations Die – Posted February 17, 2012 – pps 151-154
Part 6 – How Civilizations Die – Posted February 18, 2012 – pps 154-155