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Preview: RealClearPolitics - Articles - Bruce Thornton

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Bruce Thornton

Last Build Date: Wed, 01 Mar 2006 08:27:37 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2007

Absolute Certainty and the True Nature of Islam

Wed, 01 Mar 2006 08:27:37 -0600

The problem with Islam, however, is not a lack of self-esteem but too damned much. This is a faith fanatically certain of its truth and righteousness, the culminating vision of God’s relations with humanity, the ultimate meaning of human existence on every level, including the social and political. As such, its destiny is to spread over the whole world until the benefits, both in this life and the next, of submission to God are bestowed on all humans, and the dysfunctional man-made values–– including democracy, materialism, “equal rights,” and freedom–– are swept away. For however alluring, these do not deliver true happiness or true freedom, but mere hedonism and license that create misery and degradation in this world, and put the soul at risk in the next. If, then, you are in possession of this truth that you are absolutely certain holds the key to universal happiness in this world and the next, why would you be tolerant of alternatives? Why should you tolerate a dangerous lie? Why should you “live and let live,” the credo of the spiritually moribund who stand for everything because they stand for nothing? And why wouldn’t you kill in the name of this vision, when the infidel nations work against God’s will and his beneficent intentions for the human race? This is precisely what the jihadists tell us, what fourteen centuries of Islamic theology and jurisprudence tell us, what the Koran and Hadith tell us. Yet we smug Westerners, so certain of our own superior knowledge that human life is really about genes or neuroses or politics or nutrition, condescendingly look down on the true believer. Patronizing him like a child, we tell him that he doesn’t know that his own faith has been “hijacked” by “fundamentalists” who manipulate his ignorance, that what he thinks he knows about his faith is a delusion, and that the true explanation is one that we advanced, sophisticated Westerners understand while the believer remains mired in superstition and neurotic fantasy. And of course, it doesn’t help that the Westernized Islamic apologists and propagandists, having taken the measure of the West’s own superstition and fantasy, speak in our terms and manipulate our materialist causes. So we hear that Western support of autocrats is really to blame for terrorist discontent — but overthrowing Saddam Hussein, one of the most brutal murderers of Muslims ever, and creating for the Iraqi people an inclusive, law-based government, earn us absolutely nothing other than more hatred and murder. Ah, but the neo-colonialist Zionists are responsible, we are told. Yet billions of Western dollars given to the Palestinian Arabs, decades of obsessive, fawning attention on the part of the Western media and the U.N. even as millions have suffered and died elsewhere, have not moved us one inch closer to resolving the crisis or removing the existential threat to Israel. Give us jobs, we are told, an excuse echoed recently by Thomas Friedman, and we will be happy. Yet the terrorists in the main are not poor or dispossessed. Their leaders are billionaires, surgeons, engineers, and the college educated. But the West disrespects Islam, they cry, all the while our apologetic gestures of admiration for Islam do not stop the persecution and murder of Christians, do not elicit reciprocal apologies for the vile insults to Judaism that appear in state-run media throughout the Muslim world. Meanwhile, all our attempts to bolster Muslim self-esteem, our desperate protestations of respect for their wonderful religion, our groveling apologies for exercising our own rights and values, our donning of the hair-shirt of racist, colonialist, or imperialist guilt, do nothing more than convince the jihadist that his spiritual superiority is justified. He looks at our appeasement, our fear, our rationalizations, our self-doubt, our unwillingness to defend the values we preach to the world, and sees the craven inferiority of the dhimmi, the conquered infidel who must acknowledge by his public actions the superiority of Islam, and who[...]