Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Christian ethics can be a hindrance

A possible sin of omission by Spencer recently may serve to explain why he fails—even when asked point-blank—to spell out his suggested solutions for the problem of Islam.

This “sin of omission” may, furthermore, be tied to one of the problems we have noted which seems to pertain to Jihad Watch, the problem of an excessively pro-Christian bias.

The “omission” in question was Spencer’s utter absence of any editorially nuanced corrective to the words of his friend and former academic colleague Elizabeth Kantor, editor of the Conservative Book Club, whose review of his book he posted on Jihad Watch recently. This absence of corrective becomes potentially curious because he has rarely if ever shown himself timid of editorially correcting or massaging the opinions of others which he has posted in the past as the featured subject of Jihad Watch articles—even when they are writers with whom he agrees for the most part. It is also curious in this regard because of the nature of the opinion that was given his blessing as a featured Jihad Watch article.

That opinion of Ms. Kantor’s reads as follows:

. . . if, in the end, we come not just to a clash of cultures, but to the clash of religions that the jihadists are bent on forcing—then the implication of this book is that peaceful Christians will face violent Muslims with the weapons Christians have always used: patience, reason, love even of our enemies, willingness to die (not to kill) to spread the gospel. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christians. But the possibility that Christian martyrs might ultimately defeat jihad by means of the heroic suffering by which Christian martyrs defeated Roman paganism is not a prospect to which any of us can look forward with equanimity.

Kantor is clearly saying that Spencer’s new book, Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is—and Islam Isn't, carries the implication of an admiration, if not a prescription, for a high (if not utmost) degree of non-violent response to the increasing spread of Islam in the near future.

A reader on that thread (by the name of “Infidel”) aptly asked the question that is screaming to be asked:

So if I, a Catholic, defend my family, myself and my religion against violent Muslims with a shotgun would that make me a bad Christian?

(Needless to say, Spencer never answered this question—though several Jihad Watch readers answered it correctly.)

Kantor’s assessment of the major import of Spencer’s new book would seem to conflict, however, with one of the points explored by that same book of Spencer’s as summarized by Ms. Kantor herself:

The Crusades: just like present-day jihad? Why, in fact, they were a centuries-late and small-scale response to Islamic conquests that overwhelmed half of Christendom.

And we know that Spencer himself has amply defended the Crusades, not only in various editorial remarks of articles over the years on Jihad Watch, but also in one of his books, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).

Nevertheless, one wonders, because of Spencer’s sin of omission in relation to Kantor’s summation of his book’s message—and also in light of his refusal to adequately answer (or answer at all), questions from readers of another thread recently that are pointedly relevant to this issue (not to mention his failure to answer the pertinent question by “Infidel” noted above in the Kantor thread)—where exactly Spencer stands, and if where he stands subsumes a Christian position that would be, at least in certain ways, inimical to Western self-defense against Islam in the future, by unduly restraining the rational measures the former would take to protect itself from the latter.

And perhaps this explains why Spencer seems to restrain himself with regard to solutions to the problem of Islam, adopting as his major stance an indefatigable apparent expectation that Muslims will reform their Islam—with this major stance resting on apparent assumptions, such as that Islam itself cannot be condemned; that an apparently reformist Muslim (such as the recently deceased former Jihad Watch Board Member Tasbih Sayyed) is to be trusted if he says the right things; and that Islam is, indeed, reformable at all. While Spencer’s tactic of this major stance may be useful in the present temporarily (by rhetorically challenging Muslims to in fact disavow their offensive features of Islam), it has the potential to be a positive hindrace to the War of Ideas, not to mention the larger War we face, specifically by helping to solidify in place certain postures, and concrete policies, on our part based upon naive hopes and expectations of good will and cooperation from Muslims where only covertly inimical deceit is, prudently and rationally, to be assumed.


Nobody said...

Actually, there's quite a lively discussion on this both at hotair and at JihadWatch. It's something I suspect is not discussed in Spencer's book, but is related to the discussion you had a few weeks ago with Khaybar re: whether Christianity or Atheism is better equipped to deal with Islam.

On a side note, I do think it's a pity that all this is being side-tracked by the Christianity vs Atheism debate, somewhat contained at JW, but really firing on all cylinders on hotair.

Erich said...


Often when there is a Both/And dynamic in play, it tends to cause factions to split apart into opposing poles of an Either/Or.

The modern West historically, organically and institutionally in its sociopolitical reality is a synergy of Judaeo-Christianity and Agnostic Secularism, and there's no splitting that apart, except by simple-minded people on both sides.

The inescapable conclusion of this synergy is that Judaeo-Christianity has itself evolved into a secularizing form. This evolution is ongoing and open-ended. It began to pick up steam 200 years ago in the West, and it is still happening. And it will continue to unfold into the unforeseeable future.

Christians don't like to admit this, and Atheists don't like to admit this -- both for their polarizing partisan reasons that are ultimately irrational and ignorant of history.

Nobody said...

Judeo-Christianity has itself evolved into a secularizing form

Interesting you should say that. On hotair, in the link I provided above, there was a lively discussion on John Derbyshire's assertion on whether Christianity contains the seeds of its own destruction - something that can be argued to be the next logical progression from your point above. Somehow, it sounds to me like the religious equivalent of the idea that Western Democracy can be used by its Islamic enemies as the Trojan horse that will be used to destroy it. Or, in other words, the US constitution being a suicide pact.