Resurrection - Can Christianity Arise Anew to Save the West?
Cross posted from Churchill's Parrot - March 23, 2008
“In history every nation that watered-down it’s Judeo-Christian heritage was taken over by Islam. Every single one.”-Walid Shoebat, former Islamic terrorist, on The Gathering Storm Report 3/14/08
Christendom - the concept of nations or families of nations united through their mutual devotion to the teachings of Christ and thus comprising a formidable foe to the forces of evil - is a concept which no doubt strikes terror in the hearts and minds of secularists and multi-culturalists presently at the helm of Western Civilization (and driving it straight into the wall.) For to them, if “evil” exists at all, it comes in no greater form than Christianity. In part, we feel their pain. The prevailing caricature of Christianity is that of a vapid, bubbleiscious, painted-smile cult offering all the spiritual depth of an Osmond family reunion on the Lawrence Welk show. To this we would most assuredly say, "no thank you." We would also say to secularists as well as to Christians who have helped facilitate this caricature, this is NOT Christianity. Even more terrifying for non-believers are proposals for the formation of some kind of structured world body defining and defending an official Christendom. "The Global Christian Alliance" as illustrated by Mr. Timothy Furnish, or the "Shire Strategy" of Mr. James Pinkerton. Both strategies, these gentlemen propose, would redefine the Judeo-Christian heritage shared by the vast majority of the free world and better enable it to defend itself against enemies of that heritage, most particularly Islam.
Again, unfortunately, we must side with skeptics and withhold our support for these proposals. Our parrot-senses are always set a-tingling when e’er such “organizing structures” are conceived on so massive a scale, for it is our experience that such efforts, no matter how well-intentioned, are doomed to balloon into behemoth, ineffectual, ripe-for-abuse bureaucracies which at present are far more problem than solution (i.e. The United Nations, The European Union, NATO et al.). Besides, for Christianity, such an organizing structure already exists: it’s called The Church.
The world seems possessed of a kind of redefinition fever at present. In Britain we are redefining “Citizenship.” In America we are redefining “Conservatism.” And here we are, in effect, seeking to redefine the Church in terms of Her role of checking evil in the world. In all cases, we would argue, what is called for is not redefinition, but rediscovery.
At one time, not very long ago, men could write passages in regards to Christianity, such as the following by Sir Winston Churchill, and not be the laughing stock of the literary world nor required to spend the remainder of his career apologizing for his “unfortunate remarks”:
“And wherever men are fighting against barbarism, tyranny, and massacre, for freedom, law, and honour, let them remember that the fame of their deeds, even though they themselves be exterminated, may perhaps be celebrated as long as the world rolls round. Let us then declare that King Arthur and his noble knights, guarding the Sacred Flame of Christianity and the theme of a world order, sustained by valour, physical strength, and good horses and armour, slaughtered innumerable hosts of foul barbarians and set decent folk an example for all time.”How did we get from “guarding the Sacred Flame of Christianity and the theme of a world order” to the Archbishop of Canterbury? How did we get from “slaughtered innumerable hosts of foul barbarians and set decent folk an example for all time” to “Who Would Jesus Bomb?” This question was answered thoroughly and eloquently by Pope Benedict the XVI in his address at the University of Regensburg on 12 September, 2006. In short, the Pope explained that what is weakening Christianity and so perverts Islam is the degree to which both have divorced Faith from Reason.
Islam by its foundational theology, the Pope points out, has never claimed nor desired a relationship with rationality.
“But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practise idolatry.”
Islam is pure passion and, as such, subject to all the perversions man is capable of when not obedient to Reason.
By contrast, Pope Benedict instructs, Christianity is literally founded upon Reason.“Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, the first verse of the whole Bible, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: 'In the beginning was the λόγος'. (In the beginning was the Logos, the Word.) God acts, σὺν λόγω, with logos. Logos means both reason and word - a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist.”
Now is that not something one can sink one’s beak into? Is this not the “Sacred Flame of Christianity and the theme of a world order” of which Sir Winston spoke; which motivated men to fight “against barbarism, tyranny, and massacre, for freedom, law, and honour?” What need have we of a “Global Christian Alliance” or a “Shire Strategy” when for the better part of 2000 years this has been the essence and motivation of Christianity: Logos – the communion of Faith and Reason?
Western Civilization owes its all to this communion. The faith that there exists a Logos, an Absolute Reason (God) which precedes everything, transcends personal interpretation, is accessible to and comprehensible by all, and to which all are morally and practically beholden, has enlightened the foundations of Western Civilization from Magna Carta through the Declaration of Independence. Indeed is not the history-altering power of the latter drawn from its authors' defiant appeal to truths endowed by the Creator which they declare to be “self-evident?”
But the Lefterly winds of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have worn down our understanding of Reason and reduced its scope in our eyes. As a result, the Church and Western Civilization are weaker for it. Founded as we are, where Reason retreats, evil advances.
“This is a dangerous state of affairs for humanity, as we see from the disturbing pathologies of religion and reason which necessarily erupt when reason is so reduced that questions of religion and ethics no longer concern it. Attempts to construct an ethic from the rules of evolution or from psychology and sociology, end up being simply inadequate.”
For the survival of Western Civilization, a rediscovery is needed; a rediscovery of the Church’s original mission to spread and defend the Word of God, the Logos.“The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur – this is the programme with which theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time. ‘Not to act reasonably, not to act with logos, is contrary to the nature of God,’ said Manuel II (14 century Byzantine emperor), according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian (Islamic) interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures.”
But, of course, as you may recall, instead of dialogue, this invitation compelled practitioners of the Religion of Peace to hold massive protest rallies across Indonesia and Iran, force the closure of Christian seminaries, attack seven churches in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and shoot an Italian nun to death in Somalia. The Pope – and thus the Church’s - response? Complete and utter surrender.
What hope can there be for a civilization whose very foundational institutions have not faith in its reason for existing? Little. On this Easter day, however, let us hope and pray for the wisdom and courage to witness the resurrection of Logos from the midst of this cowardly, souless, bureaucracy we have made of the West, so that we might restore her to honor and resume our duty as guardians of the Sacred Flame.
A blessed Easter to all!
Photo credit: Nathalie Korpix