Part 5 – How Civilizations Die
Watchwoman: This is Part 5 in the series of David Goldman’s book How Civilizations Die that I’ve been posting at Watchwoman on the Wall. In this segment, you’ll see the difference in how Christians and Jews pray to God and how Muslims pray to Allah. It is distinctive and equally eye-opening as to how the Holy God of the Bible relates with His people and how Muslims believe they should pray to their deity, Allah. Hopefully by now you should be deciding that this is a book that definitely needs to be read in its entirety. Chapter 10 utterly captivated my husband and me and this is why I am sharing it hoping that you will be motivated to either buy the book or order How Civilizations Die from your local library. How Civilizations Die is available at Amazon.com for as low as $13.95 brand new. You may find it even cheaper used and you can check out e-bay too. BTW, I have found that buying used books from Amazon.com is most satisfactory. You’ll also want to check out David Goldman’s web site at Asian Times
< http://atimes.com/others/spengler.html > .
It is a fascinating web site! ▬ Donna Calvin
Book Description: Thanks to collapsing birthrates, much of Europe is on a path of willed self-extinction. The untold story is that birthrates in Muslim nations are declining faster than anywhere else—at a rate never before documented. Europe, even in its decline, may have the resources to support an aging population, if at a terrible economic and cultural cost. But in the impoverished Islamic world, an aging population means a civilization on the brink of total collapse— something Islamic terrorists know and fear.
Muslim decline poses new threats to America, challenges we cannot even understand, much less face effectively, without a wholly new kind of political analysis that explains how desperate peoples and nations behave.
In How Civilizations Die, David P. Goldman—author of the celebrated “Spengler” column read by intelligence organizations worldwide—reveals how, almost unnoticed, massive shifts in global power are remaking our future.
- How extinctions of peoples, cultures, and civilizations are not unthinkable—but certain
- How for the first time in world history, the birthrate in the West has fallen below replacement level
- Why birthrates in the Muslim world are falling even faster
- Why the “Arab Spring” is the precursor of much more violent change in the Islamic world
- Why looming demographic collapse may encourage Islamic terrorists to “go for broke”
- How the United States can survive the coming world turmoil
In How Civilizations Die, David P. Goldman has written an essential book for understanding what lies in the future for America and the world.
HOLY BIBLE SCRIPTURES RELATED AND RELEVANT TO THIS TEXT OF GOLDMAN’S
[King James Version - Luke 18:1] And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
[King James Version - Matthew 26:26] And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
HOW CIVILIZATIONS DIE
(And Why Islam is Dying Too)
By David P. Goldman
Online Columnist “Spengler”
Chapter 10, Pages 137-155
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?
THE ARABS AS CHOSEN PEOPLE
Jewish prayer. The Eighteen Benedictions, Judaism’s definitive daily prayer, is recited in silence by every worshipper; and when the prayer-leader repeats the Benedictions, the individual worshippers are expected to chant the most important phrases before the leader does. Stylized gestures, for example a slight bow, accompany some parts of the basic prayer of Judaism, but each congregant executes them when ready, and a latecomer will do so while the rest of the group has moved on to another part of the service. Jewish prayer has defining moments of collective response, but at its core is a personal audience between the individual Jew and the King of Kings.
Jewish prayer covers a vast amount of text; the daily morning service alone consists of a hundred pages of closely printed Hebrew. Most of Muslim prayer, by contrast, is found in the first seven lines of the Koran, repeated thirty-two times a day:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, The Beneficent, the Merciful, Master of the Day of Requital, Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help, Guide us on the right path, The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors, Not those upon whom wrath is brought down, nor those who go astray.
In correctly executed Muslim prayer, worshippers display the coordination of a close-order drill. Gestures in Muslim prayer cannot be separated from uttering the right words. Prayer is measured in a basic unit, the rak’a, which consists of stylized gestures (raising hands to ears, placing hands over the breast, bowing, touching the forehead to the ground) as well as specific phrases. The experience of Muslim worship is inherently collective; the experience of Jewish prayer — which begins each morning with Hosea’s nuptial declaration — is profoundly individual as well as communal.
Vicarious Sacrifice versus Personal Sacrifice:
The Eucharist and Jihad
But it is in the matter of sacrifice that we encounter the most radical distinction between Islam on one hand, and biblical religion on the other. Religion is not so much a reflection of the life of a community, as it is the means by which the community seeks a life beyond its temporal existence. At the heart of religion is the encounter with mortality. Secular political science reduces religion to a belief-structure. But to people of faith, religion is not an ideology, but a life-or-death commitment. The believer stakes his or her life on the hope of conquering death. Religious communities that forget this — mainline Protestants, Reform Jews, and liberal Catholics — fade away in a generation or two. These questions seem primitive to the modern profession of political science, whose experts consider themselves superior to the obscure debates of the theologians and the enthusiasm of the faithful. Despite the political scientists, though, communities and nations continue to define themselves by what they hold sacred, and when nothing more is sacred, they lose their reason for being.
The bond of love between God and the individual Christian or Jew answers the question of mortality before which secularism stands mute. God in his love offers the Christian and Jew the gift of eternal life. But the love of the maker of heaven and earth is an overwhelming and consuming love: it requires of Christians and Jews that they offer up their whole being (“to love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your might”). If not for God’s grace, his love would consume us. That is why the biblical God offers a sacrifice in place of the life of the beloved individual, so that we can approach God without destroying ourselves in the act. The Christian concept of sacrifice proposes to universalize the purpose of Jewish sacrifice: Jesus becomes the victim that God substituted for Isaac, and the Pascal lamb whose blood guarded Jewish homes from the plague that killed the first-born of Egypt.
To Christians and Jews, these are not boxes to be checked on an ideological clipboard, but a matter of life and death, the means that God has
provided to commune with God and attain eternal life. Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican Christians participate in this sacrifice through the Lord’s Supper, partaking of what they believe to be the real presence of God in the Eucharist. The phylacteries whose strap is curled into a wedding band in Jewish morning prayers enclose a parchment with the biblical verses declaring that every first-born male belongs to God. Every Jewish father must redeem his first-born son in an ancient ritual in which the infant is presented to a representative of the Kohanim, Israel’s ancient caste of priests. This “re-enacts the drama of Abraham offering Isaac to the Lord, of the knight of faith (using Kierkegaard’s term) giving unreservedly away his son to God. The presentation of the child to the kohen is symbolic of Abraham’s performance when he bound Isaac and placed him on the altar,” wrote Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveitchik. 11 Observant Jews recite daily the Akedah, the verses from Genesis 22 recounting the binding of Isaac.
God’s covenant with Abraham is singular in world history. A universal and eternal God makes an eternal pact with a mortal that can be fulfilled only if Abraham’s tribe becomes an eternal people. But the price of this pact is self-sacrifice, an existential act beyond all ethics, as Soren Kierkegaard tells us in Fear and Trembling. In our modern complacency, we do not like to recall that the sacraments of revealed religion are a substitute for human sacrifice: the biblical God in his love for humankind spares the victim, just as God provided a ram in place of the bound Isaac on Mount Moriah. Christians believe that a single human sacrifice spared the rest of humankind. Among Jews the covenant must be renewed in each male child through a substitute form of human sacrifice, namely circumcision. 12 Each individual Christian and Jew must die to this world to gain the Kingdom of God.
Islam offers no expiatory sacrifice, no substitute: the victim that the Muslim must sacrifice is himself. As a fatwa from the authoritative website Islam Online explains,
Sacrifice is not a pillar of Islam…. Not only did the pagan Arabs sacrifice to a variety of gods in hopes of attaining protection
or some favor or material gain, but so, too, did the Jews of that day seek to appease the One True God by blood sacrifice and burnt offerings. Even the Christian community felt Jesus to be the last sacrifice, the final lamb, so to speak, in an otherwise valid tradition of animal sacrifice (where one’s sins are absolved by the blood of another). Islam, however, broke away from this longstanding tradition of appeasing an “angry God” and instead demanded personal sacrifice and submission as the only way to die before death and reach fana or “extinction in Allah.” 13
Although the Muslim feast of Eid commemorates the post-Koranic legend of the Binding of Ishmael (rather than Isaac, as in the Bible), the custom of slaughtering a sheep for the feast has no ritual significance. It takes from Judaism the outward form of sacrifice, but not its content, that is, the manifestation of God’s grace that provides a substitute for our own life. Each Muslim must be his own Christ.
The one form of sacrifice that all branches of Islam acknowledge as a failsafe guarantee of Allah’s grace is death in battle on behalf of the faith. 14 Jihad is the exemplar of Islamic self-sacrifice, and it is not vicarious: God provides no ram to substitute for Isaac, let alone dies on the cross to take away the sins of the world. He who serves Allah so faithfully as to die in the violent propagation of Islam goes straight to paradise. Islam admits no substitutionary sacrifice, no grace that supplies another victim so that the individual Muslim may live. Everyone must carry his own spear.
Sacramental self-sacrifice in war is not a Muslim invention, or a practice in any way unique to Islam. On the contrary, it is the fundamental religious act of pagan (and neo-pagan) society. For it is only by the sacrifice of the young men of the tribe that the tribe can be sure of survival among a forest of enemies. The individual dies so that the tribe may live. Jihad universalizes that pagan principle by applying it to the tribe-writ-large, the Ummah, the whole Muslim world envisioned as a single nation.
154 – Continued tomorrow: February 18, 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