Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mohammed Blair and the promulgation of orthodox Islam


Tony Blair runs a faith foundation, and he has a problem. As an abortion-supporting, embryo-destroying, contraception-using, gay-marriage-propagating, war-mongering, communion-abusing, Magisterium-defying convert to Roman Catholicism, he can't even persuade many of his co-religionists that he knows much at all about his own faith, let alone apprehend the theology of Islam. Yet in a keynote speech yesterday at Bloomberg HQ - Why the Middle East Matters - while he explained 'Islamism' via a tour of the 'Islamic world', through Pakistan and Afghanistan, wading through Iraq to Libya to Egypt to Yemen to Lebanon and to Syria, he decreed:
At the root of the crisis lies a radicalised and politicised view of Islam, an ideology that distorts and warps Islam’s true message. The threat of this radical Islam is not abating. It is growing. It is spreading across the world. It is de-stabilising communities and even nations. It is undermining the possibility of peaceful co-existence in an era of globalisation. And in the face of this threat we seem curiously reluctant to acknowledge it and powerless to counter it effectively.

..In fact it is often the most devout who take most exception to what they regard as the distortion of their faith by those who claim to be ardent Muslims whilst acting in a manner wholly in contradiction to the proper teaching of the Koran.

..At this point it must again be emphasised: it is not Islam itself that gives rise to this ideology. It is an interpretation of Islam, actually a perversion of it which many Muslims abhor. There used to be such interpretations of Christianity which took us years to eradicate from our mainstream politics.

The reason that this ideology is dangerous is that its implementation is incompatible with the modern world – politically, socially, and economically. Why? Because the way the modern world works is through connectivity. Its essential nature is pluralist. It favours the open-minded. Modern economies work through creativity and connections. Democracy cannot function except as a way of thinking as well as voting. You put your view; you may lose; you try to win next time; or you win but you accept that you may lose next time.

That is not the way that the Islamist ideology works. It is not about a competing view of how society or politics should be governed within a common space where you accept other views are equally valid. It is exclusivist in nature. The ultimate goal is not a society which someone else can change after winning an election. It is a society of a fixed polity, governed by religious doctrines that are not changeable but which are, of their essence, unchangeable.
So, it is not Islam which has given rise to the malignant Sunni-Salafi-Wahhabi strain of theology, but a "perversion" of the religion which "distorts and warps" and which "many Muslims abhor". In this, he agrees with the Prince of Wales, though Faith Minister Baroness Warsi maintains that these extremists are not Muslims at all; not even of the perverted, distorted or warped kind. 

What is curious about Tony Blair's promulgation of Islamic theology is his understanding of religious orthodoxy and "proper teaching". The religion that is acceptable is that which coheres with the modern world - politically, socially and economically. The religion that is unacceptable is that which is "of a fixed polity, governed by religious doctrines that are not changeable but which are, of their essence, unchangeable".

This might explain his particular approach to Roman Catholicism: it is not, for him, Semper Eadem - a constant, catechised Catholic faith composed of infallible doctrines and immutable truths founded upon an unchanging gospel: it is a religion of "creativity" moulded through human "connectivity" and subject to the whims of democracy. For him, an "exclusivist" religion which is "governed by religious doctrines that are not changeable" is a perverted ideology. Ergo, traditionalist Roman Catholicism is a "perversion" of the faith; the orthodox Christianity which preaches "exclusivity" is one which "distorts and warps".

All of which makes one wonder why Tony Blair left the mutable ecclesiology, flexible doctrine, synodical governance and national expression of the Church of England. He appears in spiritual temperament to be far better suited to the shared experience of fellowship through diverse communion: his understanding of koinonia is plural, ecumenical and universalist, rather than uniform, exclusive and centralised.

And this naturally colours his approach to Islam: by making Mohammed more like Tony Blair, the Qur'an, Sunnah and Hadith become the 'Rough Guide to Islam' rather than the epitome of Islamic practice. The Islam that is 'acceptable' is an ecumenical Sunni-Shia chimera infused with Sufi love and peace and syncretised with Third-Way political thought, of which he becomes the self-declared spiritual moral authority and the self-appointed guardian of historical-theological truth. The example of Mohammed is not to be emulated literally, but reinterpreted spiritually in accordance with the enlightened values of the modern era. And there are many millions of moderate and enlightened Muslims who would agree with this, and of the need for someone to do for Islam what Martin Luther did for the Christianity in 1517. Except, of course, that historic reformation was initiated by an eminent theologian from within: Tony Blair is a discredited politician and quite extraneous to the theological and spiritual traditions he seeks to challenge.

However well-meaning he may be, a Blairite epistemology of Mohammed and appraisal of Allah are never going to have influence or effect change in any aspect of Islamic thought - any more than his personal beliefs will ever challenge the ecclesiology, res sacramenti or a single ex-cathedra pronouncement of the Church of Rome.

80 Comments:

Blogger The Explorer said...

With a detective novel, the later chapters trump the earlier ones.

The Koran contains violent and peaceful verses. The peaceful verses tend to be the later ones. By the detective-novel principle, end of problem.

On the other hand, I have a file of electricity receipts. The most recent ones, kept at the front, trump the older ones re prices.

So which is the model for the Koran: detective novel, or file of receipts?

Depending on which model you go by, two very different results are possible.

24 April 2014 09:31  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

Which part of 'Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them' does he not understand?

24 April 2014 09:31  
Blogger Nick said...

"The religion that is acceptable is that which coheres with the modern world - politically, socially and economically".

We are going through a period (in the UK at least) of man trying to re-invent God in his own image. Take a recent quote from Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of the Church in Wales..


"The church needs to “evolve and change as it responds to the world around it” or risk being seen as “homophobic"

And,

"We cannot just quote biblical texts on different subject matters and think that settles an issue."

Frankly, I'm not sure anyone takes much notice of TB's views on the Middle East, especially since he spent so much time trying to bomb it back into the Stone Age. But when a prominent Christian figure like Barry Morgan tries to pollute his own flock with woolly liberalism and social trendiness, one starts to understand why Jesus reserved some of his fiercest condemnation for religious leaders.

Barry Morgan also seems to have a poor grasp of the Scriptures themselves. He pointed out that Jesus said nothing on the subject of SSM. True. But did He not also say, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets". The law still applies; it's just that we have a better way to meet its requirements, through Him.

So TB is a red herring as far as I am concerned. But watch out for the false prophets closer to home.

24 April 2014 09:45  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Isn't it amazing- having Tony Blair describe modernity is enough to make one sympathise with Salafism...

In all seriousness, I don't know why he believes the way of modernity to be true or morally superior. I really don't know where he gets his moral beliefs, or how he grounds them.

24 April 2014 09:46  
Blogger The Explorer said...

seanr @ 09:31

Ah yes, but there's the Islamic principle of abrogation, whereby a later pronouncement cancels out an earlier one.

So the earlier violent commands are cancelled by peaceful later ones?

The problem is: which suras abrogate which?

24 April 2014 09:49  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

@ The explorer
"The peaceful verses tend to be the later ones"

It's the other way round, I'm afraid. Mohammed got more violent as his power increased.

By the doctrine of abrogation the violent later verses render the fluffy New Age earlier ones null and void, though Muslims will still quote them to gullible kuffars to lull their prey into a false sense of security (a practice known as 'taqiyya')

http://www.jihadwatch.org/2006/10/the-islamic-doctrine-of-abrogation

24 April 2014 09:52  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Thomas K @ 09:46

A car is a better means of transport than an ox cart. Therefore, what is modern is better than what is old.

Therefore, modern morality is better than ancient morality. Therefore, 'Coronation Street' is better than 'Hamlet'.

That's the reasoning.

24 April 2014 09:54  
Blogger The Explorer said...

seanr @ 09:52.

You know that. I know that. Johnny R knows that.

Tony Blair doesn't. Nor do too many other gullible Westerners who think the sequence of the Koran must follow the sequence of the Bible.

My post @ 09:31 makes that point.

24 April 2014 09:56  
Blogger Guy Jones said...

It seems there is a concerted attack on fundamentalism: http://bit.ly/1ppxXt2, but this country's only hope is return to 'orthodox' Christianity.

Islamism is used as a front, when we know the real target is traditional bible-believing Christianity. This we see with the reports against faith-schools, which only ever report problems with Muslim schools, but use the general term of 'faith-school', which drags in the CofE ones and the rest.

24 April 2014 10:05  
Blogger Edward Spalton said...

The Explorer

You are quite right. From the immediate post war era onwards for many years, it was enough to accuse someone of "standing in the way of progress". The phrase dealt with everyone from opponents of tower blocks to those wishing to preserve the use of the Book of Common Prayer.

If challenged, the accuser would patiently explain "All progress means change. This is change. Therefore it is progress" . It hardly ever failed to shut people up.

With regard to Islam, one should not forget the doctrine of Taqqiya (dissimulation). This not only allows but sometimes commands the faithful to lie in the interests of Islam, Muslims or the Ummah (the Islamic community of all faithful believers)

24 April 2014 10:13  
Blogger Nath said...

Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon.

Perhaps the first horn is apostate, liberal christianity and the second a modernised Islam.

Between a modern interpretation of the Koran and liberal Christianity there are probably very few differences that cannot be overcome or divisions ignored.

If the Gog Magog invasion is of Iranian origin and Islamic eschatology correct, then we might expect to see Iranian attacks on Israel and Saudi, with the latter being obliterated and Israel obliterating the former leaving moderate Turkey to establish a new Islamic orthodoxy.

24 April 2014 10:19  
Blogger Flossie said...

Brilliant piece from His Grace. The trouble with Tony Blair (well, one of them, anyway) is that he sees Islam through his own weak grasp of the Christian faith. Muslims see it very differently.

24 April 2014 10:23  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

Recent police awards ceremony:
1.Medal for PC who single-handedly tackled and arrested three burglars, armed with iron bars.
2.Medal for PC who introduced halal meat to the canteen.

The catch is - I guess the meat was already halal without anyone realising.

I have often thought that the ideal candidate for performance-related pay is Blair in his role as Middle East Peace Envoy; the worse the situation gets, the more money he has to cough up.

24 April 2014 10:25  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

I do wish Van Dyke could come forward to modern day UK with the express commission to paint Tony Blair. He so excelled in capturing those ambivalent faces in what seems to flicker in front of you as you watch it.

I am sure that Roman Catholicism, being a larger faith, was a more convenient vehicle from which to launch his faith foundation to unite different modern day Tony Blair approved liberalised P.C. forms of religious belief into one big squodgy modern religion which is more easily controlled.

24 April 2014 10:47  
Blogger Esther Shabo said...

Anyone got any idea where this apparent 'reformation' of Islam is going to come from? Why do people say 'oh Islam needs to go through a Reformation like Christianity did?' when the Reformation was one of the most bloody affairs in history, lasting at least 100 years, ergo the reformation wasn't a peaceful affair at all (& anyway Islam doesn't have a Pope or a Papacy to protest about, it lacks a centre of power to reform).

Besides which there already is a split within Islam as we can see in the Syrian civil war with Saudi on one side and Iran on the other. But whatever the internal differences, that hasn't stopped Christians being slaughtered or forced to convert in the process. And of course both sides detest the Jewish homeland and want to crush it, with Iran shortly to possess nuclear weapons and the west appeasing this state. And there are people out there- lunatics or useful idiots- who think Israel has to bend over backwards for these terrorists & governments.

Bliar talks about globalisation and democracy, although the majority of humanity does not actually live under such a regime and in the middle east there is only ONE liberal democracy and that is not an Islamic state, but a Jewish one. Alas as we saw with the Arab spring, at the whiff of freedom or democracy, 'the people' vote for Islamic parties who are pledged to introduce theocracy of the most wicked kind & whose societies simply cannot function or compete in the 'global economy'. In short liberal economic polity & democracy is a western concept, that cannot be imposed or is even compatible with Islamic society. That was the wishful thinking of leftist and the 'neo-cons', which was exactly his mistake in supporting the invasion of Iraq, for imposed democracy does not work (if anyone thinks of Germany or Japan after WWII, I point out that this came at the cost of a large occupation army & billions in dollars- both nations were also utterly crushed so that the victors could impose their world views onto the defeated, something which did NOT occur in either Iraq or Afghanistan).

The best situation is to stop any Islamic state getting their mitts on nukes or nuclear capability & to make it be known the west is strong. Then there might be some form a peaceful equilibrium. I don't think the west has the balls to do this; Israel does and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if she (correctly) strikes at Iran and puts her own- and the west's- interests ahead of the inept & arch-appeaser currently occupying the White House.

24 April 2014 11:20  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Esther

I could not disagree more with your desire for Israel to go to war with Iran. Jewish people, and many are, should be amongst the forefront of those who know the stupidity, the devastation and the horror of war. Modern day warfare inexorably involves large amounts of civilian deaths, including little children.

I am shocked that any woman could suggest large amounts of children being maimed or dying horrific deaths could benefit the world. War does not stop the worst happening; war IS the worst happening and the ultimate expression of human hatred and the inability to love one's neighbour.

You advocate pre-emptive strike. The sort of horror we saw in Iraq, where Bush, Blair and cohorts struck supposedly in case they had weapons of mass destruction, and the death of many was caused (incidentally including the deaths of many many weapons inspectors before war was announced, as they dropped like flies here, there and everywhere).

Mostly one war germinates another as WW1 did to WW2. The last thing this world needs is more children vowing to avenge their slaughtered parents, or parents vowing to avenge their slaughtered children, or nations feeling victimised. We need diplomacy, and peacemakers. Warmongers achieve next to nothing and at a cost far far greater than any gain.

24 April 2014 11:40  
Blogger Mark Williams said...

I read quite often that Islam needs to experience a reformation the same way Christianity did in the 16th Century, but surely that is exactly what is happening with Wahhabism now. At its heart is a desire to get back to what the Quran actually says which was Luther's aim with the Bible. The Quran is all about Islam's early struggle against the unbelievers and how they must submit to Islam and Mohammed as Allah's messenger. People need to be very careful what they wish for.

24 April 2014 11:43  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

There was a time when the Vatican exercised much greater influence on Catholic politicians to promote and uphold the Church's traditional teachings in the governance of nations and in their personal lives. Alas, no more.

This is an interesting analysis by Blair:

"The reason that this (Islamist) ideology is dangerous is that its implementation is incompatible with the modern world – politically, socially, and economically."

This is true and he gives the reasons:

"Because the way the modern world works is through connectivity. Its essential nature is pluralist. It favours the open-minded. Modern economies work through creativity and connections."

Globalised capitalism requires free trade which necessitates cultural tolerance, accommodation and co-existence. And this means a liberal, secular society.

"Democracy cannot function except as a way of thinking as well as voting. You put your view; you may lose; you try to win next time; or you win but you accept that you may lose next time."

Now there's the rub, Mr Blair.

As a Catholic who is bound to accept the moral teachings of the Church, and carefully consider its social teachings too, shouldn't you be putting forward and supporting such views? You may win, you may lose but at least your actions would be consistent with your professed membership of the Roman Catholic Church.

As a reminder, some of the issues where there are clear and binding teachings are: contraception;
abortion; marriage and family life; divorce and remarriage; and, last but not least, homosexuality.

Ironic that prohibitions on the above exist in Islam and are brutally enforced. What's wrong with Islam is that at its very core it worships a god who is violent, unforgiving and vengeful. It cannot adapt to and accommodate the cultural changes brought about through global liberal-democracy. How can it when the ideology it brings is acceptance and legitimisation of lifestyles that it considers grossly offensive to God? Lifestyles that Orthodox Christians sinful too and as demonstrably harmful to the common good.

A Christian politician should represent his faith openly and honestly; not water it down for the sake of securing electoral victory. And maybe the Vatican should be reminding them of the Church's binding teachings on certain matters and the consequences of contradicting them in the political realm.

24 April 2014 12:11  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

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24 April 2014 12:11  
Blogger Esther Shabo said...

Lucy,

A phrase springs to mind here -'Si vis pacem, para bellum'

To respond to your post [Part I] -

“I could not disagree more with your desire for Israel to go to war with Iran”

Disagree all you want, this doesn't bother me. My desire is for Israel to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons making capability with the aim to make sure that Israel is not under the threat of another holocaust via nuclear weapons.

“Jewish people, and many are, should be amongst the forefront of those who know the stupidity, the devastation and the horror of war.”

Yes, but acting like a 'peace hippie' to Nazi storm troopers wouldn't have stopped the violence and horrors of war, it merely encourages the aggressor to think they can be more, well, aggressive.

“Modern day warfare inexorably involves large amounts of civilian deaths, including little children”

Because Iran and other states wish to use civilians and children as human shields; that is a consequence of their moral ethic and not mine.

“I am shocked that any woman could suggest large amounts of children being maimed or dying horrific deaths could benefit the world. War does not stop the worst happening; war IS the worst happening and the ultimate expression of human hatred and the inability to love one's neighbour.”

Be shocked all you want, Britain is at relative peace and does not have the threat of destruction hanging over it... now your piety and high moral ground would mean nothing if Jerusalem or Tel Aviv were reduced to a smouldering ash heap & glassy sea with millions vapourised within seconds. Yes war is a terrible state of affairs, but sometimes wars do need to be fought. Had WWII not been fought to the finish and the Nazi regime been destroyed, the ‘worst’ i.e. genocide would have occurred, but even worse completed. I am fully well aware of the need to love one’s neighbour, however, that does not mean an individual or a nation collectively being a punch bag & neither is this something to glorify oneself in.

24 April 2014 12:35  
Blogger Esther Shabo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 April 2014 12:35  
Blogger Esther Shabo said...

Lucy,

Part II of my response to your post-

“You advocate pre-emptive strike”

Yes I do advocate a pre-emptive strike. Better that than leave it to a situation in which Israel/ the west has a nuclear armed fundamentalist Islamic state.

“The sort of horror we saw in Iraq, where Bush, Blair and cohorts struck supposedly in case they had weapons of mass destruction, and the death of many was caused (incidentally including the deaths of many many weapons inspectors before war was announced, as they dropped like flies here, there and everywhere)”

1)This is false comparison. Iran definitely does have the will, the means and the method to build nuclear weapons (& possibly even use them). Iraq might have had the will, but not the means.

2)The Iraqi invasion was not a pre-emptive attack and Iraq had 20 years to comply with UN diplomacy and demands.

3)I actually wrote “That was the wishful thinking of leftist and the 'neo-cons', which was exactly his mistake in supporting the invasion of Iraq, for imposed democracy does not work”, i.e. the belief one can ‘regime change’ and then ‘impose’ democracy with little effort upon a culture whose ethos does not reflect democracy.

I did not, however, say that the war against Iraq was wrong in per se. Without getting into the merits of the Iraq war, I’d say it was the wrong war at the wrong time and the wrong place; Saddam doubtless posed some form of thread, but probably a distant one. Then there is the fact that any military strategist will tell you not to fight a war on two fronts at the same time. The US/UK should have finished its war in Afghanistan first.

“Mostly one war germinates another as WW1 did to WW2. The last thing this world needs is more children vowing to avenge their slaughtered parents, or parents vowing to avenge their slaughtered children, or nations feeling victimised. We need diplomacy, and peacemakers. Warmongers achieve next to nothing and at a cost far far greater than any gain.”

A strike against Iran would be a defensive stroke, not a war for its own sake or to gain territory and to prevent the long term implication of a radical state, whose open intent is to ‘wipe Israel off the map’. A change in style does not change the substance of the Iranian regime. I agree that diplomacy and peacemakers are all well & good; they have their place. But when a regime is essentially unappeasable, the decision is black and white. Cave into their demands or defy them. I believe that it was Golda Meir who said “We don't thrive on military acts. We do them because we have to, and thank G-d we are efficient.”

24 April 2014 12:43  
Blogger Seashell said...

Islam does not need any reformation. ONLY a few thousand who are supported by the West and declared terrorists by the Muslims in the ME including Egypt and the Gulf are the extremists carrying out their warped ideology fully armed by the Western powers. The worlds Muslims reject totally these US led liver eating cannibal 'rebel' assassins. Obama however gives them surface to air missiles!

24 April 2014 12:49  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Esther.

We will not agree. But one thing to note is that it is not piety that makes people not want World War 3 with nuclear weapons, but sheer basic commonsense, desire that the world will continue with inhabitants, care about other human beings being allowed to have a peaceful and meaningful life, and just normal humanity and the lowest grades of compassion. Nothing special.

I am closer to pacifism, but our churches are full of people who hold a concept closer to "Just War Theory" which completely disallows pre-emptive strikes. They were very far from represented by Blair, and the disgust felt is still pervasive amongst them. I believe that this also applies to R.Cs as well as Anglicans.

24 April 2014 13:01  
Blogger Len said...

So the Muslims who are causing all the problems are the 'wrong type' of Muslims?.
So what is a proper Muslim?. There seem to be many different types of Muslims all claiming to be 'proper Muslims'.
So those in the West pick the moderate Muslims and call these the 'proper Muslims'.
Job done!.
It is precisely this gullible(some might call foolish) attitude) which lets radical Islam spread unhindered
in the West.

24 April 2014 13:14  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

Lucy Mullen - 'desiring that the world will continue' is surely at odds with the Christian looking for the second coming of Christ?

24 April 2014 13:15  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Actually, this raises a good question: why has Tony Blair not been excommunicated for publicly contradicting the Roman Catholic Church's position on gay marriage, and telling them they should change it? Why are American Democrat pro-abortion politicians allowed to take the Eucharist? Surely public church discipline is exactly what is called for in these cases?

24 April 2014 13:17  
Blogger bluedog said...

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24 April 2014 13:27  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Busy Mum

No. Not least because the longer the Second Coming does not happen, the greater the eventual harvest of souls, including the blessing of our own descendants. As any one of us will have felt when cradling a newborn child in our arms!!

As for those who wish to start wars to bring about the second coming, like some dispensationalist Christians i think they are little short of nuts. Amilleniallism is the authentic Anglican, Reformed, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox position and anything else was historically an outlier, or is a Johnny-come-lately of dubious parentage as far as I can see.

It is far from clear exactly how the Second Coming will take place or of what it consists exactly, and we are not encouraged by Jesus to over-speculate, merely to watch the signs of the times, pray, do good, and be ready for martydom if required. Never does he suggest supporting wars to bring it about, and those who do are suspect to say the least, and possibly in the service of darker forces, knowingly or unknowingly.

24 April 2014 13:27  
Blogger bluedog said...

Your Grace, your communicant is high-fivin’.

Yo Blair, it was only a matter of time before you bought back into the debate. Jack Straw’s eruption could not go unanswered.

An outstanding post as well, Your Grace.

Communicants Esther Shabo @ 11.20 and Mark Williams @ 11.43 ask when there will be an Islamic Reformation, to which your communicant replies, no need. The Muslims know they’re winning and they have a historical theory to back their belief. The theorist in question is a fourteenth century Andalusian, possibly of Berber descent, called أبو زيد عبد الرحمن بن محمد بن خلدون الحضرمي or Ibn Khaldun, whose life is well-documented in his autobiography titled التعريف بابن خلدون ورحلته غربا وشرقا.
In addition, Ibn Khaldun wrote a book called Kitābu l-ʻibar wa Diwānu l-Mubtada' wa l-Ħabar fī tarikhi l-ʻarab wa l-Barbar wa man ʻĀsarahum min Đawī Ash-Sha'n l-Akbār "Book of lessons, Record of Beginnings and Events in the history of the Arabs and Berbers and their Powerful Contemporaries", which apart from being a history of the world, advances a theory of social development that could be well known to every jihadi or mujahideen. The first chapter of this book is called The Muqaddimah and is regarded as a separate work. The Muqaddimah is based around Ibn Khaldun's central concept of 'asabiyyah, which has been translated as "social cohesion", "group solidarity", or "tribalism". This social cohesion arises spontaneously in tribes and other small kinship groups; it can be intensified and enlarged by a religious ideology. Ibn Khaldun's analysis looks at how this cohesion carries groups to power but contains within itself the seeds – psychological, sociological, economic, political – of the group's downfall, to be replaced by a new group, dynasty or empire bound by a stronger (or at least younger and more vigorous) cohesion. Not really a vote in favour of multi-culti.

Perhaps the most frequently cited observation drawn from Ibn Khaldūn's work is the notion that when a society becomes a great civilization (and, presumably, the dominant culture in its region), its high point is followed by a period of decay. This means that the next cohesive group that conquers the diminished civilization is, by comparison, a group of barbarians. Once the barbarians solidify their control over the conquered society, however, they become attracted to its more refined aspects, such as literacy and arts, and either assimilate into or appropriate such cultural practices.

Ibn Khaldun also has some extremely astute and entirely accurate observations on economics which seem quite exceptional for the period in which they were written. Ibn Khaldun was highly regarded during his own lifetime, and as an envoy of the Sultan of Granada, negotiated a peace treaty with the enlightened Spanish king, Pedro of Castille. Pedro went so far as to offer Ibn Khaldun a job, an offer which was declined.

Those who regard the West as decadent, hedonistic and beyond redemption (as Adolf Hitler did) could be immensely gratified by Ibn Khaldun’s theories which validate their own pre-suppositions, pointing to a more cohesive and vigorous future, under Islam.

24 April 2014 13:35  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Ester Shabo and Mark Williams are on the ball here - people keep throwing around the idea of the Reformation as benign, but actually the Wahabists look to me to be (albeit not strictly) far more like the early Protestants.

Essentially you have dominant hierarchies across the Sunni-Shia divide in Saudi and Iran that have pretty much bought into secular power. One of the things we often overlook in the West is the extent to which these regimes are criticised by Islamic clergy further down the hierarchy for "selling out". That's not a million miles away from the Medieval Church, whose principle failure (in both policy and theology) was her whoring to worldly power (both in pursuit of it by princes of the Church, and in its compromise with secular powers).

On the other hand you have firebrand radicals, whose principal aim is a return to Holy Scripture as the sole arbiter, who are outrageously anti-semitic, and who are generally ill disposed to many of the temporal powers that presently prop up their supporting clerical hierarchies in return for their blessing. Might as well be a description of Luther.

The troubling difference between Islam's "Reformation" and Christianity's, as far as I am concerned, is that one can turn to the quiet voice of the Prince of Peace who died on Calvary, whilst the other must turn to the teachings of the Prophet who won the land with the sword. It goes without saying that the real advocates of peaceful reflection will be crushed regardless (as was the case in both the Reformation and Counter-Reformation), but there is considerably more imaginative effort required to conjure Christ's approval of the slaughter of one's enemies than there is of Muhammed's.

24 April 2014 13:57  
Blogger Preacher said...

"The wrong type of Muslim" - sounds like Blair should be working for British rail, with the wrong sort of snow or unexpected leaves on the rails in Autumn.
With his history, ONLY the Euro 'Parliament' could give him a job as 'Middle Eastern Peace Envoy'.
It just proves that the only reason that consecutive governments refuse to give the electorate an in/out referendum is because after they have destroyed this Country, they know that a cushy well paid job awaits them from their E.U masters.

24 April 2014 14:07  
Blogger Preacher said...

"The wrong type of Muslim" - sounds like Blair should be working for British rail, with the wrong sort of snow or unexpected leaves on the rails in Autumn.
With his history, ONLY the Euro 'Parliament' could give him a job as 'Middle Eastern Peace Envoy'.
It just proves that the only reason that consecutive governments refuse to give the electorate an in/out referendum is because after they have destroyed this Country, they know that a cushy well paid job awaits them from their E.U masters.

24 April 2014 14:07  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Tony Bliar might publicly declare himself some sort of Christian, a Roman Catholic one is his flavour of the moment, but deep down inside he's much more a secularist or even atheist at heart if you look at what he's said and done on the whole over the years.
His waffle contributes nothing much to the rising problem of Islam in western countries.
Of course religion is unchangeable, it has to be otherwise why bother, but most religions are not inflicted or forced upon others who don't want it except the 'religion of peace' and maybe some forms of Hinduism can be rather problematic but not on the same scale

24 April 2014 14:24  
Blogger Esther Shabo said...

Lucy,

'it is not piety that makes people not want World War 3 with nuclear weapons, but sheer basic commonsense'.

err, actually I never mentioned a nuclear strike against Iran,WWIII, just the possible consequence if nothing is done, the thrust of my post was that Israel should act before that eventuality.

As for 'care about other human beings being allowed to have a peaceful and meaningful life, and just normal humanity and the lowest grades of compassion'

Just because I'm not on the same plane of moral superiority as yourself, does not mean you can portray me as an Untermensch & incapable of compassion or love.

24 April 2014 14:28  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Your Grace makes reference to the perennial prayer of the West: that Islam will undergo a reformation. Whereas Luther was pushing at a door already opened by popular resentment at Church practices, there is no comparable groundswell among Muslims for a reformed, Western version of their faith. Rather, as Muslims in Britain grow in numbers, so their confidence in the Islamic way of life also grows; Pew found that 77 per cent of British Muslims see an increase in Islamic identity, and 86 per cent are happy with that. The Islamic identity reflects itself in the attempt to take over schools, and Muslims are almost certainly one of the minority communities that never call the police and administer their own justice.

Allah has delivered Muslims into the heart of Western civilization and, as things stand, the West is theirs for the taking; they would be ill-advised to reform their faith when victory over the infidel is in sight. What a spineless bunch we must seem to Muslims, letting them walk all over us in the name of diversity. ‘We’re not racist Islamophobes. To prove it, you can have our country.’

24 April 2014 14:58  
Blogger The Explorer said...

As a generality, I have come across two views of religion among Western religious sceptics.

One is that all religions are inherently violent and have been the cause of nearly all wars.

The other is that all religions, although untrue, are useful for social control because they tell people to be nice to each other.

It is this second group that cannot get its collective head round a religion that is truest to its own precepts when it is violent.

To be fair to the religion in question, it does believe in peace of a sort: the peace that comes when there is no more need for war because you have brought the whole world under your control.

24 April 2014 15:27  
Blogger Albert said...

A good post, except for this:

The example of Mohammed is not to be emulated literally, but reinterpreted spiritually in accordance with the enlightened values of the modern era. And there are many millions of moderate and enlightened Muslims who would agree with this, and of the need for someone to do for Islam what Martin Luther did for the Christianity in 1517.

I'm not sure that Islam needs someone to usher in an era of massive religious division, scriptural fundamentalism, state-religious authoritarianism, prejudice and violence.

24 April 2014 15:43  
Blogger Mick Jones said...

Are Blair's views perhaps partly unpopular in some quarters because of certain similarities between Protestantism and Islam? e.g. the tendency to fundamentalism and sectarianism, iconoclasm (Luther praised the Turkish attitude in this respect)and textual criticism?

24 April 2014 15:46  
Blogger The Explorer said...

The New Testament does not say anywhere that you should give conquered unbelievers the choice of conversion of death; or that you should kill any who seek to leave the Faith.

When Christians behaved in this manner, they were not following the precepts of their holy book. The same cannot be said for Muslims.

24 April 2014 16:00  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Esther,

Am Yisrael Chai- The children of Israel still liveth- was one of the exclamations made by Rabbi Leslie Hardman, the British Army Chaplain who was part of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen death camp, after the first Shabbat of the liberation of the camp, after the singing of Hatikvah. Perhaps it is difficult for others to understand the determination of Jews, to never, ever suffer such a fate again & that we have Hatikvah- The Hope.

Of which, compare and contrast the national anthems of Israel and Palestine and see which one is more moving & peace loving.

First the Palestinian national anthem :

"My country, my country
My country, my land, land of my ancestors
Fida'i, Fida'i
Fida'i, my people, people of eternity

With my determination, my fire and the volcano of my vendetta
With the longing in my blood for my land and my home
I have climbed the mountains and fought the wars
I have conquered the impossible, and crossed the frontiers

With the resolve of the winds and the fire of the weapons
And the determination of my nation in the land of struggle
Palestine is my home, Palestine is my fire,
Palestine is my vendetta and the land of withstanding" etc etc

Now the Jewish anthem :

"As long as in the heart, within,
A Jewish soul still yearns,
And onward, towards the ends of the east,
An eye still gazes toward Zion;

[Refrain]:

Our hope is not yet lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free people in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

Our hope is not yet lost,
The ancient hope,
To return to the land of our fathers,
The city where David encamped.


As long as tears from our eyes
Flow like benevolent rain,
And throngs of our countrymen
Still pay homage at the graves of (our) fathers;

As long as our precious Wall
Appears before our eyes,
And over the destruction of our Temple
An eye still wells up with tears;

As long as the waters of the Jordan
In fullness swell its banks,
And (down) to the Sea of Galilee
With tumultuous noise fall;

As long as on the barren highways
The humbled city gates mark,
And among the ruins of Jerusalem
A daughter of Zion still cries;

As long as pure tears
Flow from the eye of a daughter of my nation,
And to mourn for Zion at the watch of night
She still rises in the middle of the nights;

As long as drops of blood in our veins
Flow back and forth,
And upon the graves of our fathers
Dewdrops still fall;

Hear, O my brothers in the lands of exile,
The voice of our Prophets,
(Who declare) That only with the very last Jew —
Only there is the end of our hope!

Go, my people, return in peace to your land
The balm in Gilead, your healer in Jerusalem,
Your healer is G-d, the wisdom of His heart,
Go my people in peace, healing is imminent... "

24 April 2014 16:38  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Esther

Who seriously wishes to suggest that war could take place between two nuclear powers and the world be safe or wholesome?

And how does God profit from the rape, the lies, the pillage, the property greed, the shutting out of the humanity of the other person, the maiming, the death, the grown men yelling out to their mothers, the poisoning of the earth and creation and the human anguish of war?

As for the "moral superiority" thing frankly it matters not one tiny bit one way or the other with a potential world war on the cards, the billions of people concerned outnumber all that kind of tedious nonsense.

24 April 2014 16:41  
Blogger John Thomas said...

It is amazing how people can have so much experience and knowledge of world events, leaders, diverse places and cultures (as Blair surely has) and yet be so naive. The Muslims who disregard the clearly-violent injunctions in their religion (who Blair seems to know) are "good" Muslims in our Western, Judeo-Christian, terms, but BAD Muslims from the point of view of the actual Muslim faith, seen as it really is, and not through the roseate glasses of Western get-along-together liberal values. Humankind cannot bear too much reality - particularly when it comes to seeing Islam as it is.

24 April 2014 16:50  
Blogger Esther Shabo said...

Lucy,

"Who seriously wishes to suggest that war could take place between two nuclear powers and the world be safe or wholesome?"

To keep you up to speed. Iran does not possess nuclear weapons, but as time goes on & with the building of nuclear reactors, they will eventually do so, given that regimes repeated threats to do so and repeated threats against Israel; ergo if one were to strike Iran now, it would not be a nuclear war. The thrust of my argument over several posts has been that Israel should strike before Iran has the capacity to create nuclear weapons and unleash them. The targets are nuclear reactors, bunkers and research facilities. Better that than the graphic senario you point out, to wit, I won't bother with the rest of your post, because as repeated (for the third time) this is not about WWIII and or a nuclear exchange. The idea of a strike now is to prevent that from happening.

24 April 2014 16:56  
Blogger Esther Shabo said...

Dave,

Thanks for that post (:

24 April 2014 16:57  
Blogger Esther Shabo said...

Oh, Lucy, I forgot to add that Israel has done this before -

Operation Opera, Iraq 1981
Operation Orchard, Syria 2007

On both occasions the IDF successfully destroyed nuclear facilities belonging to these states. No WWIII and no nuclear exchange. And if I may opine, both Israel & the world was better off without either Iraq or Syria having nuclear weapons.

24 April 2014 17:03  
Blogger Len said...

AIB,
'but actually the Wahabists look to me to be (albeit not strictly) far more like the early Protestants'.

How can one take such ridiculous remarks seriously?.
And come to think of it Islam is only doing now what the Roman Catholics did centuries before.Perhaps in time they will catch up...they did after all have a later start?.



24 April 2014 17:30  
Blogger Anglican said...

Bluedog 13.35
Jonathan Sacks wrote a most interesting article referring to Ibn Khaldun in Standpoint in September 2011, entitled ‘How to Reverse the West’s Decline’. He argued that the West was now decadent, but showed how this could be stopped.

http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/node/4049/full

24 April 2014 17:50  
Blogger Len said...

One of the points of conflict between Islam and the Jews is Jerusalem..and anyone who supports Israel is by this action seen as an enemy and a target for Islamic fundamentalists.

' And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.'( Zechariah 12:-3)

The Palestinians are seen as the 'victims' and the Jews as the 'oppressors' by most of the World Media and this has been deliberately manipulated.I wonder if any one has seen this article which highlights this conflict ;

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304640104579487444112949138

24 April 2014 17:50  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Len @13:14

Very well put. Who are we to say what a true Muslim is?

24 April 2014 18:25  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Even the late Fred Phelps has a more coherent, logical and internally consistent grasp on reality that the entity to whom Peter Hitchens refers to as 'The Blair Creature'.

He should be chained to a wall in downtown Baghdad for the appropriate attention of the widows and orphans his stinking philosophies created.

24 April 2014 22:04  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Explorer at 15:27

You got it. Blair don't got it.

24 April 2014 22:08  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Johhny R at 14:58 gets it too.

My feeling is that the West's time has run out. I'm glad I don't have grandchildren.

24 April 2014 22:13  
Blogger bluedog said...

Thank you, Mr Anglican @ 17.50, will follow your link.

24 April 2014 23:03  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

Re the suggestion that Protestantism and Islam are similar, the Rev Augustus Toplady (1740-1778) wrote an interesting piece called 'The Charge of Mahometanism refuted' - it's noticeable that, in general, anything written before the Victorian Education Acts is far more scholarly and deep than anything written since.

25 April 2014 10:34  
Blogger Elby the Beserk said...

".At this point it must again be emphasised: it is not Islam itself that gives rise to this ideology. It is an interpretation of Islam, actually a perversion of it which many Muslims abhor"

In which case, why don't they do something about it, instead of leaving it to the West to deal with?

Sorry. Don't buy that. Burying your head in the sand helps nobody and is tantamount in reality to collaboration.

25 April 2014 12:08  
Blogger Elby the Beserk said...

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/04/24/Tony-Blair-s-speech-on-Islamism-tells-it-like-it-is

Douglas Murray expands on what Blair said

"At the root of the crisis lies a radicalised and politicised view of Islam, an ideology that – while obviously the worst version of Islam going – nevertheless has a long tradition. The extremists do not make their claims based on some wild misreading, but on a plausible reading of the texts and traditions which have existed within the religion since its founding. In order to confront this, and defeat the extremists, we cannot simply pretend that these problems do not exist. Non-Muslims must be unafraid to point them out and to say that there are extremist attitudes which remain permissible in mainstream Islam – such as the second-class status of women, the mandating of death for those who leave Islam – which go wholly against our own most deeply held beliefs. And it is vital that Muslims do everything they can to face up to the challenges which these extreme elements pose within their faith. Rather than denying that these questions of interpretation exist, or brushing them under the carpet, it is incumbent upon Muslims everywhere to do everything they can to anathematise and stigmatise the extremists and to chase them and their readings out of the religion. Muslims must face up to the problems of the tradition and overcome them, rather than deny that they exist. The process of denial only emboldens and strengthens the extremists while simultaneously making it easier for some non-Muslims to crudely and cruelly lump all Muslims in the extremist camp. This is a matter of urgency. The threat of this radical Islam is not abating. It is growing. It is spreading across the world. It is de-stabilising communities and even nations. It is undermining the possibility of peaceful co-existence in an era of globalisation. And in the face of this threat we seem curiously reluctant to acknowledge it and powerless to counter it effectively."

25 April 2014 12:39  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

The ‘extremist attitudes’ deplored by Douglas Murray derive from Allah himself. And that’s the rub: if Muslims modified their religion to suit Western sensibilities (by, for example, proclaiming women the equal of men), they would be challenging the authority of Allah and, according to their beliefs, reserving themselves a place in Hell:

[2:85] Can you believe in one part of the Scriptures and deny another? Those of you that act thus shall be rewarded with disgrace in this world and with a grievous punishment on the Day of Resurrection.

What to Murray are extremist interpretations of the Qur’an are, in fact, straightforward readings of the book. By asking Muslims to moderate Allah’s extremism, Murray is asking them to damn their souls.

25 April 2014 15:18  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Johnny R @ 15:18

Spot on. Christianity and Islam both consider themselves to be in possession of a divine revelation, and so are bound by their data. Either Christ rose from the dead; or he didn't. Either Allah declared women inferior to men, or he didn't.

If the revelation is an illusion, then that is not a case for modifying the said illusion. That is a case for abandoning the illusion altogether, and for confronting reality without it.

25 April 2014 15:50  
Blogger IanCad said...

Johnny R @ 14:58 wrote:

"---there is no comparable groundswell among Muslims for a reformed, Western version of their faith.---"

You've got it.

Great post YG.

25 April 2014 16:45  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Johnny R @ 14:58 wrote:

"---there is no comparable groundswell among Muslims for a reformed, Western version of their faith.---"

Well no, and there is never likely to be. Why would they want a reformed, Western version of their faith? Any Muslim looking at the world through the eyes of their faith will see a decedent culture. Christians see this and try to navigate themselves and their families through it. The reformed, Western version of Christianity isn't in great shape.

And its bloody hard for us 'indigenous' folk. Try seeing it from the perspective of a devout Muslim, not a fundamentalist, new to our 'civilised' ways and horrified at what he sees.

Islam has to reform itself. As Douglas Murray said:

"Muslims must face up to the problems of the tradition and overcome them, rather than deny that they exist. The process of denial only emboldens and strengthens the extremists while simultaneously making it easier for some non-Muslims to crudely and cruelly lump all Muslims in the extremist camp".

25 April 2014 22:28  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Happy Jack:

I know devout Muslims who are disgusted by such manifestations of Western culture as pornography, public drunkenness, family breakdown, and the disrespect shown to elders, tradition and the environment (as evidenced by the degree of litter).

But Christians may be equally distressed by all of those things, and in that sense Christians and Muslims have more in common with one another than either group has with the excesses of Western materialist hedonism.

I know there are some Muslims who see Christianity as part and parcel of general Western decadence, but I think that there are others who appreciate that the two are distinct.

25 April 2014 23:08  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Explorer Happy Jack is in a melancholy frame of mind and asks what is this faith called "Christianity" in the 21 century? What does it actually stand for anymore?

In some ways "Christianity" is part and parcel of the decadence witnessed by those from other faiths. What must a Muslim think when he sees two male clergy *marrying*? Or clerics sanctioning abortion, divorce, sex outside of marriage and homosexuality - including adoption by same sex couples? Because God loves us, understands all and forgives all? Their god demands submission, is vengeful and unforgiving.

Jesus Christ, what do Christians raised a generation ago think? We know what Eastern European Christians think. Ask them. Honestly, there are times when this seems an alien culture to yours truly. What must it be like for a devout Muslim unused to the 'freedom' offered by the West?

Don't misunderstand Jack; he is not a supporter of Islam. He is not an expert on it and whether it can reform within itself and on its own terms. However, if it poses a significant threat to the West Jack sees this as a symptom of a much deeper malaise.

26 April 2014 02:00  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Len

If you take that comment out its context it probably does sound silly - but I proceeded to explain how they were similar afterwards. In terms of the structure and thrust of their theology and relationship with Scripture, they are similar. Does this mean that I think that the early Protestants were out to create a Universal Caliphate? No.

There's no particularly polite or gracious way to write this, but the period leading up to the Reformation is the period I am most familiar with - it is a period of which I have read many first hand accounts of "proto-Protestant" uprising, attended too many seminars and papers to count regarding the Northern European "Protestant revolts", and read my fair share of secondary histories (some good, most naff). To put it politely, the early Reformation was not nice. Nor, for that matter (and as you have surely read me state on numerous occasions) am I that hot on the corruption of the medieval Church and its myriad institutions - it could pretty nasty too.

So when I say the Reformation was not benign, I am thinking of the Reformation as a historic event, insofar as I have encountered it in primary source material. I am not talking about the nice cosy "Reformation" that 18th Century Anglican schoolmasters consoled themselves with, or the Reformation as an idea that is current and central to many modern evangelical and Protestant movements (which in many cases I sincerely admire). I am talking about bands of thugs paid by the King of England to smash windows and seize property for a burgeoning class of land magnates. I am talking about the "militias" that policed the streets of the city states in the Low Countries intimidating people for wearing crucifixes and pissing on altars that they had been kneeling at a week before.

I would be the first to say that medieval history in the public perception overlooks the enormous social and moral good achieved in Christendom, and that violence can easily be overstated, but I'm not in the business of glossing it to spare my own, or anyone else's blushes. Frankly, had I been alive then, I would have been inclined to view the Protesting movements with horror, and the corrupt hierarchy of the Church (which you will note, I described as "whoring itself" to worldly power - is that good enough for you?) with disdain. I am alive now, however, and am a Protestant (although I do not define myself by hatred for Catholicism) Evangelical who believes in the authority of Scripture, the necessity of Grace, and the gifts of the Spirit. The thing is, that the Protestantism and Catholicism that you and I know now are in neither case wholly the same as they were during or before the Reformation.

That's why I describe the historic Reformation as being "not benign". It's not remotely because I am hostile to modern Protestantism, but actually (at least to my understanding of it) because I'm trying to be consistent with it.

26 April 2014 02:41  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Unhappy Jack @ 02:00

Remember that Augustine drew a distinction between the visible and invisible (genuine) Church.

We are warned of the false prophets and false Christs that will arise.

The Beast that looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon, and diverts worship away from God to the first beast: ultimately, it ends up in the Lake of Fire. It's a perfect depiction of how the Church becomes the World when it compromises its beliefs, and of the malaise you are describing.

If that may help us, it is not much help to Muslims. For myself, I'm trying to do my bit to show them that the invisible Church, the faithful remnant, those who have not bowed the knee to Baal still has existence. I'm sure that you, and others on this Blog and beyond of like mind, are doing so too.

26 April 2014 06:50  
Blogger Len said...

Roman Catholicism is not a' benign' religion its history is written in blood.
It seems popular with The RCC to blame the reformers for all the ills within the church but this is to deny the responsibility of the actions of the RCC.Which brings us to the concept of' a Holy War'.
Muslims think they are fighting 'a Holy War 'much as the Catholics did/do.

I suppose what much of it comes down to is 'interpretation'. Imagine a Christian suicide bomber?.
People would say he cannot be a 'proper Christian' because he isn`t following the teachings of Jesus Christ.
So what it must ultimately come down to is we must look at the leader of each religion and their teachings.
In this case Jesus Christ and Mohammed.
What did they teach?.
Christianity (as taught by Jesus Christ) is totally of 'another World' his disciples did not fight but responded passively to persecution...Jesus message was basically one of love..for God and for one another.

Mohammed taught his followers to make all' submit' to his will by worldly means...fear and intimidation or promises to gain in another world all that was denied them in this world.. Mohammad's message was basically one of control and domination.

And what is a Christian?.
One who has seen the futility of this present world system and realizes that it only through the rule and reign of Christ in the heart of the believer and in the World that we have any hope at all of the World that God envisaged when He created it.





26 April 2014 08:33  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Happy Jack (22:28 on 25 April)—I’m a little confused. You begin by asking why Muslims would want a reformed version of their faith and then say that ‘Islam has to reform itself.’ Whichever it is, reform is not going to happen because Islam would have to alter or ignore substantial chunks of the Qur’an and other texts.

Alteration is absolutely impossible, the Qur’an being the word of Allah, and neither can Muslims pick and choose its teachings—see my comment at 15:18 above and The Explorer’s succinct observation that follows: ‘Christianity and Islam both consider themselves to be in possession of a divine revelation, and so are bound by their data.’

26 April 2014 12:23  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Len

I blame the Reformers for what they did, I blame the Catholic powers for what they did. It's really as simple as that: each man and woman to his own actions.

If you want to start blaming the excesses, lies, violence, anti-semitism and collusion with some very unpleasant worldly leaders of the day by the Reformers on Catholicism, then you are a mirror inversion of the very thing you purport to despise: the type of Catholic apologists who occasionally frequent this blog and who can find (or rather, will admit) no fault, error or imperfection that is rooted in the faith they claim to be a part of.

I don't imagine you would personally fabricate false testimony against your Catholic neighbour in order to see his possessions seized, or that you would go around beating up monks, or for that matter organise pogroms against the Jews. But that is part of what occurred during the Reformation: that you or I would refuse to engage in such unscriptural behaviour does not change the fact that, under the cover of opposition to Catholicism, our denominational forebears did. Don't apologise for ill deeds because of who did them - it's not worthy.

26 April 2014 15:30  
Blogger Len said...

AiB; I have said before I make no excuses for anyone who uses violence to further their ambitions whether these be religious or political.

26 April 2014 17:27  
Blogger Len said...

Catholics commit crimes, Protestants commit crimes, as do Muslims and other religions(I include secular Humanism as a religion ...of sorts)

What do we get from this ?.

When fallen men get hold of religion they will use it for their own ends.often violent.

The only person who has an answer to this situation is God who through Jesus Christ gives man a new nature who has no desire to kill steal or to destroy but displays the attributes of Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
This is why Jesus said "You must be born again" A direct command!.

26 April 2014 18:03  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Len, tell Happy Jack, do you believe the Church, as a physical organisation, has any part to play in bringing people to Christ and saving souls? If so, to what is it and how should it set about this task today?

Jack asks because your statements all seem terribly individually focused - ruling out the Church as having any active part to play in preparing people for the Holy Spirit and then keeping them on the path to salvation. You attack all organised Christian religion and one Church in particular.

What's doing Jack's head in is you appear to be adopting a prideful and presumptuous position. Jack may have misunderstood or over be simplifying it, but he understands you as saying "you are either 'born again', like me, or your off to Hell". It's simply a matter between the individual and the Holy Spirit once he has heard or read the Gospel. Then, once "born again" off one goes on one's own because one is "saved" and assured of Heaven.

Where does the Church come in?

27 April 2014 00:29  
Blogger Len said...

Jack, Where does the church come in?.
Indeed!.
I would have though you knew my contention with' the church 'by now as you have been a frequent commenter on this site over a period of.. hmmm.. time?.

'The Church' as a State controlled organization does not 'come in' at all and when it attempts to' come in' it is almost always with its own agenda(not God`s plan for humanity.)

You mention pride?. I would have thought the ultimate pride is when someone though they could save themselves through their own 'works'?.Perhaps you cannot see that?.
The State Church RCC or Protestant needs to 'validate its position so it has created a 'resurrection system' which doesn't need God(but pays lip service to Him)that is the prime reason why the Church is dying on its feet.The church has a 'form of godliness' but no power!.

The church (I prefer the term 'ekklesia ' as the Word of God never mentions 'Church 'as this is an invention of the State and infers State ownership)is doing its job when it points people to Christ but when the state Church usurps its position and proclaims itself instead of Christ it has failed in its function.
So I am not against the church as a gathering place for the ekklesia a base for reaching out with the gospel but the State Church has gone far beyond that.
When you have a sacramental system and a hierarchy of priests it is little wonder that Jesus stands outside knocking at the door for He is no longer required in the Church!.
Jesus says will He find faith when He returns the reason being it is faith in HIM which saves not faith in the religious system.

27 April 2014 12:02  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Len, never mind the state and state power. What role do you think the Church has in today in preparing people for the Holy Spirit and keeping them on the path to salvation?

Is Jack correct that you are saying "you are either 'born again', like me, Len, or your off to Hell"? That's where the pride and presumption comes in. All the Church does is "point people to Christ"? Is salvation simply a matter for each individual, bible in hand, once "born again" and off one goes to Heaven?

27 April 2014 12:44  
Blogger Len said...

Not me that said it Jack it was Jesus .Your argument seems to be with Him...

27 April 2014 13:58  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Len, well Jesus didn't actually say that was the end of the matter, now did He? And neither did He say just how one is "born from above".

Care to elaborate?

27 April 2014 18:32  
Blogger Len said...

Jack,
You need to ask God he He puts one into Christ...
I just simply respond in faith to what God says He will do...

27 April 2014 19:15  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Tsk Len, not much of an evangelist are we? Really, you don't know.

Jack will just have to check out what that chap you follow, Craig Winn, has to say.

27 April 2014 19:51  
Blogger Robert said...

Blair essentially signed the arrest papers for the fella who quoted Churchill the other day. Britanistan has sacrificed 10,000 little girls (and counting) to satisfy Britanistans purest of Islam, it was done knowingly so as to keep the peace. You are a dhimmified nation and like the frog in the ever warming water, you didn't notice it happening. You really are at the point of a nightmare scenario of extrication or pay the jizya or say the Muslim opening prayer. As has always been the case (except for polytheists), you get to pick one of the three. Time to choose.

27 April 2014 20:32  
Blogger Len said...

Jack, the problem is that man cannot change himself he can change the outward appearance(you are evidence of that) but cannot change what lies within.(You are evidence of that as well.)
Your true nature cannot be concealed.(not for long anyway).

I am not afraid to challenge my beliefs but you cannot.You cannot challenge any single part of your belief system because you know the whole thing is a pack of cards and will collapse if one single part fails.

So you are stuck with your religious system but I test every part of mine and God`s truth prevails and passes the test every time.
As the apostle Paul says;
' Test everything. Hold on to the good'
(1 Thessalonians 5:21)

You hang onto your belief system like a frightened child clutching a favourite toy afraid to let go in case something terrible happens..

I want to know the truth and if I am hanging onto anything which is not truth I want (indeed I demand that it goes.)

So your accusations do not bother me at all in fact they help me to discern truth as they cause me to reflect on what I hold as truth.

I have encountered some strange religious beliefs (Catholicism amongst them) but have rejected the error contained within them by the power of the Holy Spirit who is my guide.I trust Him and he has never failed me.
Craig Winn say some very powerful stuff but I reject what he has assumed about Paul.
So Jack man up and trust the holy Spirit to guide you into all truth.Of course that assumes that He is on board?.



28 April 2014 07:52  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Len, on what do you base the claim Happy Jack has never tested his faith? Presumably this applies to all Catholics, Anglicans and Orthodox Christians?

And now, not only do you claim an inside track on truth, completely outside of any church community, you also claim the gift of spiritually discerning the souls of others!

30 April 2014 17:06  

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