Robert Spencer has just published an interesting new book entitled Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't, and John Derbyshire has just published an interesting review of it over at Pajamas Media.
Unfortunately, Derbyshire puts the wrong foot forward: all one really gathers from the first half of the review is that he just doesn't know or care enough about theological differences to say anything useful about them.
But then things start to pick up. Herewith my favorite bits:
"If Islamia has sunk into the grip of a poisonous ideology—the ideology of jihadism—the Christian West...has been seized by an even more destructive ideology: globalization.
"The second ideology has in fact been the great enabler of the first. And, very uncomfortably for a Christian apologist...a great enabler of globalization has been the Christian tradition. If all men are brothers, heathens only a little less enlightened than Christians, then why should not a Pakistani, or a Somali, or for that matter a Mexican, come to live in the U.S.A.? Why should not ten million of each do so? Would it not in fact be un-Christian to refuse entry to those tens of millions? It beggars belief that anyone should hold such a civilizationally-suicidal view, but many Christians do—the current President of the United States, for example...
"For if there is a sickness in the soul of Islam, there is a corresponding sickness in the soul of the West. As the darkness, cruelty, and obscurantism of jihadist Islam...descend on our lands, our souls rise joyfully to greet them."
...At which point Derbyshire invokes a couple of the many available news stories about incipient European "dhimmitude": Scotsmen giving up working lunches during Ramadan, Dutch Bishops calling on us all to refer to God as "Allah" - the usual lunacy. He then goes on to suggest why he thinks Christianity is to blame for such stuff:
"Perhaps the humane forbearance of the Prince of Peace, and the moral universalism that His teachings imply, bear the seeds of self-destruction. Those seeds were slow to germinate in the long centuries when great mass migrations of people into well-settled lands could only be military affairs. However, the globalization movement of the past fifty years has allowed millions of souls to move and settle peaceably into the old Christian lands; and our old ideals...have urged us to welcome the settlers, and have called fierce obloquy on anyone who complains...
"It is not so much secularism that is the problem as Christianity and its legacy."
(I can't help noticing, however, that this conclusion seems to be at odds with what is by far the best and funniest line in the piece: "We no longer care much about our sovereignty, so long as our bellies are full and we have gadgets and clowns to amuse us; and our bishops, not to mention our Christian President and the globalist elites who surround him, tell us that doubts about the wisdom of mass Third World immigration are unkind, if not actually 'hateful' (not to mention damaging to their stock portfolios)."
I mean, surely the full bellies and the gadgets and the clowns that keep us amused have more to do with secularism than with Christianity and its legacy!)
Anyway, I think there's much to be said for Derbyshire's view, here. 'Cause Christianity today is not what it once was.
Centuries ago, Christianity, in practice, was a fascinating amalgam of fundamentally contradictory elements: on the one hand, the other-worldly, pacifistic doctrine of the gospels; on the other hand, the warrior ethos of the Germanic tribes that conquered and (sort of) converted to the new faith. But today? The last remnants of that warrior ethos are draining away. Soon, all that may be left of institutional Christianity are a few traces of the other-worldly and the pacifistic.
Good-bye, Charles Martel. Hello, Tiny Muskens.