Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Christianity: Pros and Cons

The Fjordman Report

The noted blogger Fjordman is filing this report via Gates of Vienna.
For a complete Fjordman blogography, see The Fjordman Files. There is also a multi-index listing here.



The blogger Vanishing American continues what is gradually becoming one of the most important discussions of our age: What role does, or should, Christianity play in Western civilization? Is it the bedrock of our culture, as Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch thinks, and is our decline associated with abandoning it? Or is Christianity, as Derbyshire puts it, a religion for once and future slaves, an ideology that is now fueling globalist ideals and undermining our borders through mass immigration?

The Christian/Non-Christian divide is perhaps the most difficult divide to overcome within the West today. I’m struggling with this myself. Some of the criticism of Christianity, or at least the way many Western Christians are behaving now, is legitimate. I have heard Catholics claim that Multiculturalism and Political Correctness are tied to Protestant culture. I’m willing to consider that possibility. There are significant doctrinal differences between Catholics and Protestants regarding redemption and the sinful nature of man. Maybe some of this is tied to the Protestant concept of “salvation through Faith alone.” However, when it comes to just plain old-fashioned dhimmitude and abandoning national borders, Catholics are at least as bad as Protestants.

The Second Vatican Council from the 1960s was good for reaching out to Christians of other denominations, Protestant and Orthodox, and for reaching out to Jews. The problematic aspect is in relations to Islam. The big Achilles’ heel of Christians in general, and of Jews, when confronted with Islam is the idea of a “shared community of monotheists worshiping the God of Abraham.” As long as this myth is maintained, Christianity can actually in certain situations be a bridge for Islam to enter the West, rather than a bulwark against it. I have seen more than once Christians making common cause with Muslims as “men of faith” against the godless forces of secularism. I notice, however, that Christians hardly ever do the same with, say, Hindus, so it must have something to do with a shared sense of monotheism.

Christianity is growing fast in South Korea. It is interesting to see how newly converted Christians react in non-Western nations. I’ve been critical of Christianity sometimes because it is one of the impulses behind the Western inability to protect our borders, and it is. But it is Christianity within a specific cultural-ideological context that reacts like this. Koreans don’t have the same problem, as far as I know. Nor did we, until the 1960s and 70s. So what changed? It can’t all be related to Christianity, can it?
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Which Christianity? Part II

These days we hear so many arguments against Christianity, such as from the ‘proselytizing atheists’ like Dawkins and Hitchens, and then we hear the arguments from the secular right which attack Christianity for being too pacifistic. The atheists claim that Christianity fomented violence, and that it is as militant and bloodthirsty as Islam, or in fact worse, and on the other side, we hear that Christianity is a religion of slaves, which weakens and emasculates the West. So Christianity gets it from both sides; it’s too militant, it causes wars and persecutions, and at the same time, it’s a religion that turns men into milquetoast pacifists. Does this make any sense?

Christianity contains elements of both militancy and pacifism, but it is not one or the other.

[…]

We know that our forefathers did not believe Christianity commanded them to be pacifists, or to erase borders and nations. To assert that they, for centuries, were wrong and that we are the first generation to really understand Christianity and the Bible is arrogant in the extreme. If anything, we today, on the average, are far more ignorant than our ancestors where the Bible and the faith are concerned. If anybody is wrongly handling the word of God, it is likely to be us, not our forefathers. Their brains were at least not addled by nonsense and Political Correctness, and I trust the consensus of our forefathers through the centuries rather than the consensus among today’s compromised generation.

Which Christianity? blog comment


I used to be a devout, practicing Christian. Today, I cannot recognize myself in any brand of Christianity currently available. Nor am I alone. Many of my friends tell me: “I can’t enter any church now without having to leave my brain at the door.”

In this regard, the evangelist, fundamentalist churches are no better than the liberal ones. I once attended a presentation at a nearby Pentecostal church about Third World poverty. The cause? Lack of infrastructure. All we had to do was dig deeper into our pockets and the problem would be solved.

I’m sorry to say this but the cause is deeply rooted and largely intractable, at least in the short term. We will not help the world’s poor by welcoming them to our shores. We will simply destroy ourselves in the process.

John Derbyshire is more right than wrong. Yes, medieval Christianity had no qualms about resisting invaders, but medieval Christians (as Protestants love to point out) had adulterated their faith with pagan beliefs. Over the past few centuries, Christianity has stripped itself of its pagan accretions. In the process, it has become as much a threat to ourselves and our loved ones as Marxism used to be, if not more so.

That sounds like a harsh judgment. It is.

16 comments:

Geraldo said...

30 years ago Jean Raspail in his foreseeing book "Le Camp Des Saints" identified all the forces that favoured actual invasion of Europe.
Christians churches already were among them.

Charlemagne said...

I consider myself a Christian although not a particularly active one. Christianity in its effort to do good for the poor et al may have set the stage for the rot of multiculturalism so in a way the root of the current problems with PC is Christianity. However, it is also Christianity in my opinion that is the only thing capable of righting that wrong. I believe that man needs to believe in something and it is the stronger belief of the Muslims that has currently given them the upper hand in this enormous struggle. What do we in the West believe in? Doesn't appear to be much other than our comfort. Muslims are willing to forsake an easy life for what they regard as a larger struggle to dominate all others. We in the West are morally confused. If we follow the multi culti arguments of cultural relativism then why can't Muslims immigrate in large numbers? after all who says that Europe is reserved for Christians? It is that moral weakness and loss of historical memory that will doom Europe.
I may not be an active Christian but I am an active "Westerner" and will do anything required to ensure the survival of Western culture including waging the required ideological battles with the Liberal/Leftist enemies within.

Jauhara said...

The Sunday following 9.11, my husband and I went to a church I hadn't attended in many years. Since it was the only church I'd attended, I thought getting reacquainted with everyone during this emotional time would have been something like a comforting homecoming, but it wasn't. It was as if someone carted away the church and left in its place a marketing firm for the entertainment-minded Christians now attending. Not one word was mentioned about the Islamic attacks, not one word about Islam nor any references from the Bible about "those who believe that killing in the name of God have deluded themselves" no words of comfort from Thessalonians, nada, nothing, zilch. Instead, what we were subjected to was a fund raising pitch for a waterslide park in Hungary, and funds for the new church building...we left, spiritually empty and in shock. My husband won't ever go back to church for any reason.

Dymphna said...

Jauhara:

Making a decision to leave something you never really belonged to -- as your husband did -- sounds like a foreclosure...a decision made ahead of the fact.

For your sad experience, there were thousands of churches in the US who were doing exactly what you went looking for. And there were others where you could go and hear the US being blamed for the 9/11 attacks. The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the US proclaimed that he was ashamed to be an American. His comment made me ashamed to be an Episcopalian...

There is no perfection anywhere...as Leonard Cohen says "there is a crack in everything/That's how the light gets in...

One does not have to be a church goer to be deeply spiritual. But having a place and a structure helps one discern a path.

For elucidation on that theme, I recommend the novel "THE MAGICIAN OF LUBLIN" by Isaac Bashevis Singer.You won't see where he's headed with this till the end...magnificent writing and a good explanation of faith worked out on a daily basis.

turn said...

May I point out that, prior to the public sector (government) takeover of social services, the feeding of the poor, the building of schools and hospitals, and much else that the West depends upon now from secular sources were once almost exclusively the domain of the Church.

Not until the mid-19th century did individual philanthropy gain steam (the Smithsonian comes to mind).

It was only after the gradual takeover of traditionally church/community charities by government(s) that created a shift from benevolent giving to high-taxation social services.

The safety-net has been raised and reraised to the point that one can live in relative comfort without working--all at the expense of a necessarily increasing tax base. Hence uncontrolled immigration.

The people of the West have forfeited too much power to bureaucrats whose main purpose seems to be little more than personal and departmental 'empire building'.

Cal Thomas writes "Between June 2005 and June 2006 nearly 200,000 British citizens chose to leave the country for a new life elsewhere. During the same period, at least 574,000 immigrants came to Britain. This number does not include the people who broke the law to get there, or the thousands unknown to the government. Britain's Office of National Statistics reports that middle-class Britons are beginning to move out of towns in southern England that have become home to large numbers of immigrants, thereby altering the character of neighborhoods that have remained unchanged for generations."

There is no turning back from some of the blunders we have made but we have to draw a line somewhere.

This is another of fjordman's posts that I can't agree with--it's not Christianity or post-Christian ethos that drives unbridaled immigration. It's secular bureaucracy.

ZionistYoungster said...

I know it's cold comfort, but pacifism creep has hit all religions (except for the well-known offender, of course), including my own, Judaism, whose canon does not lend itself to it.

On the one hand, it's a positive development. On the other, it'd be perfect if it weren't for the one religion that doesn't play well with the others. The world really seemed poised for a settling of religious debates through peaceful means, but then came Islam with its resurgence and the party was over.

The reality of the Islamic threat has prompted religious theorists to search for ways for self-defense at the very least. Take the Hindus, for example: they're known to be devoted to ahimsa, but the leaders of the Hindutva movement have been digging up their scriptures for stories of brave warriors and mighty fighting kings who wouldn't take nonsense from anyone. If there's a will there's a way. It's regrettable, but it's not their fault, not our fault--it's Islam's.

Judaism is just recovering from 2,000 years of statelessness that put its more warlike laws in the freezer. Such a long wait can't thaw overnight, but progress is sure and steady.

Now Christianity... I don't know much. What I know, from the writings of James Arlandson of Answering Islam (who often posts at The American Thinker), is that "Turn the other cheek" applies only to individuals, not to states. It's something that even a lot of Christians are oblivious to. Pacifism in Christianity, therefore, ought to be a non-issue: no one said Christian individuals were being called to retaliate against Muslims, after all. But try telling that to the leaders, even those who profess to be beholden to Christianity. PC-tax is paid by all of them.

The question, then, of imposing border controls, is the same whether Christianity is involved or not, in my opinion. As one commenter on Hot Air said, the relaxing of border controls coincides with the liberalization of social values following the impact of the 1960's Counter-Cultcha (TM). The cause is PC, a.k.a. Cultural Marxism, not Christianity or any other religion. The empty-headed church that Jauhara describes is one that had been struck down by the Cultural Marxist storm. Even adherents of ahimsa can change when the circumstances (Islamic aggression) demand it; conversely, even Israel, with a religion that regards self-defense highly and comes with its very own set of rules of warfare, is paralyzed by the huge concessions its leaders make to the PC taxation system. So I say: don't look at this or other religion as a cause; moonbattery explains it all well enough.

Aunty Belle said...

The Catholic Church knows war is sometimes necessary --Pope Benedict said:

At Caen, France (Normandy) June 5, 2004, then Josef Ratzinger analyzed the morality fighting World War II. Ratzinger noted that life under Nazism as "a dominion of lies." "No one could confide in anyone else, because everyone, in a way, had to protect himself under a mask of lies that, on the one hand, served the purpose of self-defense but tended, on the other hand, to strengthen the power of evil....

Thus it was necessary for the whole world to intervene in order to break the cycle of criminality and to reestablish liberty and law. ..

"We Germans too give thanks that liberty and law were restored to us through that military operation. If ever in history there was a just war, this was it: the Allied intervention ultimately benefited also those against whose country the war was waged."

* * Cannot make it much clearer than that.

Blogger Charlemagne notes he is a "Westerner"--Amen.

But never forget that there is no such thing as "The West" without Christianity.

We cannot permit true Christian principles to be corrupted by PC ravings. While Christians are indeed obligated to charity for the sake of the poor and the oppressed it is the obligation of the Christian--not the state.

Jesus never taught the Apostles to lobby the Pharisees or the Romans for welfare programs, universal health care or pork barrel policies on behalf of the poor--in fact, the opposite. He told his Apostles, "Feed them yourselves."

Laggard modernist Christians prefer to "let the government do it" rather than address the legitimate needs of those poor within their communities. When the government does it, they become a vote buying monster--offering more free programs under the justification of multicultural programs.

The New Testament clearly states that a man ought to work for a living--earn his keep. Policies and philosophies that foster the welfare state or socialism are patently UN-Christian.

The basic Catholic principle is subsidiarity--that is, that problems should be solved at the lowest possible level--in the family (Your brother's out of work? YOU help him, not Uncle Sam), the neighborhood, (your neighbor's house burned down--the neighborhood
works together, not the government), etc. In this way, the STATE does not become your god.

As for war and the morality of fighting/soldiering .... please note that Jesus did not instruct the Roman Centurion to put down his
army commission and become a pacifist. No, Jesus admired the Centurion for his understanding of authority, and healed the Centurion's slave as requested by the Centurion.


The Catholic Church has always recognized the contribution of soldier saints-- St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Joan of Arc, St. Longinus, St. Sebastian, St. Ladislas, St. John of Capsitrano, St. Louis, St. George...and in honor of the title of this blog, let us recall the Catholic King of Poland who fought off the Ottoman scourge at Vienna, JAN SOBIESKI!

Recall also that the military orders of Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, Knights of Santiago, Knights Templar, Knights of Malta--all the military orders--were instituted to address in a military manner the injustices
heaved upon the West by Islam.

Resist the revisionist history that would denude Christianity of its rightful understanding of defending the defenseless from demonic evil ...such as jihad.

Pope Benedict on jihad:

""An absolute pacifism that denies the law any and all coercive measures would be capitulation to injustice, would sanction its seizure of power, and would abandon the world to the dictates of violence."


But ya' did not hear that on CNN did'ja?

rohan said...

The issue of christianity vs. islam is where I have a big disconnect with most bloggers. I was raised Roman Catholic but left the church long ago. Tried it again after my kids were born, but still didn't see the point in it. I have no problem with people who really get something from their religion, as long as they don't force their beliefs on me. I would describe myself as agnostic.

But, I don't need religion to tell me that islam is absolutely incompatible with western civilization. There is good and evil in this world and most religions tend to be on the good side. Not islam! That one is pure evil, no matter how they scream otherwise.

So, don't count us agnostics out. There are an awful lot of us, and we can be tremendous allies in the fight against islam.

turn said...

zionistyoungster and aunty belle-

Well said, indeed.

This European trend to somehow blame their troubles (and the US's) on Christianity (Catholic or Protestant) is just worthless hand-wringing.

If fjordman would spend 1/2 as much time reading the Bible as he does pondering how Christian faith has somehow diminished the role of the individual and empowered the coming hordes he'd be an even better writer.

pit5577 said...

The question christianity only avoids to rise the question of tribal descent: why do I not want immigrants? Not because they live on my expense, not because they are criminal. But simply because they are strangers.
It is simply my right as the owner of the country to decide whom I let enter and whom not. I do not need to justify my decision. My decision is based upon my wish to not change my environment rapidly. Therefore, I don´t want the composition of the people surrounding me to change rapidly.

Also I claim that the great christian love thy neighbor is only demanded by exactly those whose neighbors the immigrants will not be. Only thus they can claim this rule to be applied.

I think it´s much more a question of applying existing laws and allowing common sense to come into effect than theoretical questions about christianity that is relevant in this case.

We are the souvereign of our country, it is our country, and it is our right to decide who gets in and who not. But this right is not allowed to us.

Gringo_Malo said...

Take a look at the web site U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement. It's the government agency that wants to enrich your life by moving a pack of Somali refugees next door to you. Specifically, see the page that lists its voluntary agency partners. Be patient; it's slow to load, probably because they don't really want you to see it.

Four of ORR's ten voluntary agency partners are are associated with various Christian denominations:

Church World Service
Episcopal Migration Ministries
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

It seems that Christian denominations are doing their level best to move the third world in with us, even though it goes against their own interests. I once did a spreadsheet, long discarded, using statistics from a Catholic web site and showing that the U.S. supports three times more parishes and priests than Mexico, despite a smaller number of Catholics. Yet the Catholic Church in America is notoriously supportive of illegal immigration from Mexico.

Derbyshire is right.

livfreerdie said...

It seems the Christ of the Bible really has nothing to do with today's Christianity. He was for the poor, the sick, the children, etc. and hard set against money-changers and the Pharisees, the cardinals and bishops of Judaism. I heard tell the Southern Baptists were the second or third ones to arrive after Katrina, not with Bibles and hellfire and damnation sermons but supplies. I believe myself a Christian but tend to stay away from the Pharisees in the churches. And I have yet to read where Jesus said to lay down, rollover and die in front of those who would kill you. Kudos to the Koreans for their missionary work but they were sure crying to not be killed.

To me, the basic tenets of Christianity are to tend to the needs of your neighbors and keep your soul in shape for the time you meet God. Should tending to your neighbors extend globally? I don't know. It seems the proverb teaching a man to fish....would be the logic behind missionary work. If they fail to accept the Christian precepts, ideals or whatever label you put on them then the onus falls on them. Spoon feed them or give them a rod and reel.

In the end, it is Christianity that keeps the western societal fabric together.

Tom

Profitsbeard said...

Jesus:

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Mohammad:

"Strike at their necks!"

Next question.

The Buddha, Lao Tzu, Sappho, Socrates, Mencius, Patanjali, Jacob Boehme, and more recent freethinkers like David Hume and Mary Wollstonecraft, all bring brilliance to the defense of our liberty.

Islam is the end of it.

Christianity believes in the individual conscience.

Islam, in submission to the hive mind.

Only the suicidally naive and unhistorical can compare the two belief systems and not find Islam utterly wanting.

Prince of Peace versus Pedophile Warlord?

How is this even supposed to be a serious choice?

Are people pithed?

turn said...

"Prince of Peace versus Pedophile Warlord?

How is this even supposed to be a serious choice?

Are people pithed?"

Brainwashed.

I'm mighty pithed off.

Cathy said...

Jesus never taught the Apostles to lobby the Pharisees or the Romans for welfare programs, universal health care or pork barrel policies on behalf of the poor--in fact, the opposite. He told his Apostles, "Feed them yourselves."

In my mind, that really is the nut of it. How Christianity has twisted itself into believing that state governments should shoulder these tasks "in the Christian tradition" is what had led us down this road.

Camoes en Aguere. said...

The problem is Council Vatican II, an i could say even more the problem is Nostra Aetate and Pacem in Terris, even if all encyclical of Juan XXIII is no more than a bunch of infinite Kindcrap, the surrendering of Church to the post- modern relativistic culture.

I cannot agree with the words of Fjordman where he says that Catholic church has been stripped of its pagan base, as the whole structure of the Church its a pagan cage where the indoeuropean cultures keep the God of the East, with all its Saints, Virgins, Clerical Hierarchy even the Trinity seems to be an adaptation of the TriFunctional systems of Indoeuropean religions the Dumezil studied about, a "new" Odin, Thor, Freijye or Jupiter, Mars an Quirinus.

Maybe a brutal decosntruction of Vatican II, retaking latin as liturgical language anywhere (if u try to reconstruct the identity of west, give them things to be linked) forgeting about ecumenalism and "kindoverall" crap.And over all being the guide when the crisis arrives (and it will)might be a way for the Church and the Christians to make alive again the spirit of a not castrated apostle wich its the patron Saint of Spain (my country, so excuse my English):

Santiago the Moorishkiller (yes it is hes name). Church must have its place in the West War , it will be forced to do so.

PD. Last interviews of the secretary of the Pope , he talks so clear about Eurabia, Islamization of Europe,and not allowing it so, have faith, we shall overcome.