March 27, 2006


The West in an Afghan mirror (Spengler, 3/28/06, Asia Times)

Death everywhere and always is the penalty for apostasy, in Islam and every other faith. It cannot be otherwise, for faith is life and its abandonment is death. Americans should remove the beam from their own eye as they contemplate the gallows in the eye of the Muslims. Philistine hypocrisy pervades Western denunciations of the Afghan courts, which were threatening to hang Christian convert Abdul Rahman until the case was dropped on Monday. [...]

The practice of killing heretics has nothing to do with what differentiates Islam from Christianity or Judaism. St Thomas Aquinas defended not just the execution of individual heretics but also the mass extermination of heretical populations in the 12th-century Albigensian Crusades. For this he was defended by the Catholic philosopher Michael Novak, author of learned books about the faith of the United States of America's founding fathers (see Muslim anguish and Western hypocrisy, November 23, 2004).

Western religions today inflict symbolic rather than physical death. One's local priest does not like to preach such things from his post-modern pulpit, but the Catholic Church prescribes eternal hellfire for those who come into communion with Christ and then reject him. Observant Jews hold a funeral for an apostate child who is spiritually dead to them (retroactive abortions not being permitted).

The last heretic hanged by the Catholic Church was a Spanish schoolteacher accused of Deist (shall we call that "moderate Christian"?) views in Valencia as recently as 1826. Without Napoleon Bonaparte and the humiliation of the Church by the German and Italian nationalist movements, who knows when the killing of heretics would have stopped?

"Where are the moderate Muslims?" sigh the self-appointed Sybils of the Western media. Faith is life. What does it mean to be moderately alive? Find the "moderate Christians" and the "moderate Jews", and you will have the answer. "Moderate Christians" such as Episcopalian priests or Anglican vicars are becoming redundant as their congregations migrate to red-blooded evangelical denominations or give up religion altogether. "Moderate Jews" are mainly secular and tend to intermarry. There really is no such thing as a "moderate" Christian; there simply are Christians, and soon-to-be-ex-Christians. The secular establishment has awoken with sheer panic to this fact at last. In response we have such diatribes such as Kevin Phillips' new book American Theocracy, an amalgam of misunderstandings, myths and calumnies about the so-called religious right.

It's hardly a coincidence that the decline of Europe began then.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 27, 2006 3:33 PM

Spengler usually writes cogent essays but this one has got problems. He's cited an example from 180 years ago in order to draw immoral equivalence between Christianty and today's Islam.

Posted by: rick at March 27, 2006 4:04 PM

Yeah - and how dare us condemn slavery in Niger and the Sudan - after all we had a slave culture at one time too!

Posted by: Shelton at March 27, 2006 4:12 PM



The point is that tolerant Europe isn't more moral, but less.

Posted by: oj at March 27, 2006 4:23 PM

We all knew this was coming.

It's just peachy for the RoP to persecute converts and missionaries in 2006 because other religions did so a thousand years ago.

Nor should we be swayed by accept the story about the Spanish schoolteacher, Cayetano Ripoli. I must say that no source I have examined is clear about what happened to this man, but we already know that the Inquisition did not kill people. This was left to civil authority.

But assume the worst about Spain. The World Goverment brought reformation to Spain 1n 1898 and we shall continue the great, good work now.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 27, 2006 4:51 PM


Look at Spain today. How did ending persecution help?

Posted by: oj at March 27, 2006 4:55 PM

How did beginning persecution help? Maybe Spain is a mess because of a long history of error and injustice.

Posted by: pj at March 27, 2006 5:39 PM

Spain became a great nation as it persecuted--enforcing a sense of what it was to be a Spaniard.

Posted by: oj at March 27, 2006 5:46 PM

Spain became a great nation by looting the treasures of the New World and faded in to obscurity when that gold was spent.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at March 27, 2006 6:20 PM

It turned and looked for new worlds because it had become a great nation. The re-unificatiom of Spain, the Inquisition, and the age of exploration are all inextricably bound up together in one big package.

Posted by: oj at March 27, 2006 6:27 PM

I'll say this much for the Inquisition: Orrin would have lasted about five minutes under it. There's also such a thing as immoderating yourself into oblivion.

Posted by: joe shropshire at March 27, 2006 6:48 PM



Posted by: oj at March 27, 2006 7:04 PM

For you personally? Any place where being able to keep your mouth shut for five minutes at a stretch is a prerequisite for survival. Trust us, you'd have found a way to get barbecued.

Posted by: joe shropshire at March 27, 2006 7:16 PM

No, where has intolerance towards those who deviate from Judeo-Christian norms been a detriment?

Posted by: oj at March 27, 2006 7:22 PM

Immoral equivalence? Read again: I draw a bright line between Islam and Christianity. But the death of faith IS death in both religions, indeed all faith, whether it is inflicted by a hanging court or by spiritual decree. However distasteful the persecution of Rahman may be, the spiritual crisis of Islam also has lessons for our own spiritual crisis, and whatever we may think of Islam, we should not be so arrogant as to despise these lessons.

Posted by: Spengler at March 27, 2006 8:25 PM

Mr. Judd;

Maoist China. Ba'athist Iraq. The Saudi Entity.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at March 27, 2006 8:34 PM

No, where has intolerance towards those who deviate from Judeo-Christian norms been a detriment?

Europe, for a couple of centuries after 1620. Intolerance toward those who deviated from Judeo-Christian norms was a prime reason many Europeans came to the New World.

Oh, and since you claim Spain went downhill after they stopped executing apostates, that must mean the US has always been decadent, right? Because we've never executed apostates, as far as I know. So that must mean our Judeo-Christian heritage is very weak, correct? By OJ's standards, the Founders were practically secular Europeans, the wimps!

Posted by: PapayaSF at March 27, 2006 8:37 PM


Their problem wasn't intolerance but what they required.

Posted by: oj at March 27, 2006 8:43 PM


So you're picking Europe during the years of its ascendancy to world dominance?

No one has been more ruthless towards deviants than the US which has persecuted heathens, witches, anarchists, communists, white separatists, etc.

Posted by: oj at March 27, 2006 8:48 PM

Just came from a website that discussed the nature of measuring time, and had a sudden blinding glimpse of the obvous: Spengler is ASKING US TO IGNORE THE FACT THAT WE HAVE IMPROVED IN TIME. He takes examples of ANOTHER COUNTRY 130 years ago, OVER FOUR GENERATIONS AGO, and conflates them with what Islam is doing Today, and asks us to believe we are the same.

What is one apple and one orange? Two fruit, obviously. What is NOT so obvious is that, in order to add them, you must change the units, and thus IGNORE THE ESSENTIAL INHERENT DIFFERENCES BETWEEN APPLES AND ORANGES. To force the euqation of Islam with Christianity, Spengler MUST IGNORE THE ESSENTIAL INHERENT DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THEM TO MAKE THE EQUATION WORK.

So WHY, Mr. Spengler, SHOULD I ignore the essential and palpably obvious differences?

Posted by: Ptah at March 27, 2006 9:45 PM

"...but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed'nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnez'zar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."--Daniel 3, 15-18

Mr. Rahmen seems to have this kind of faith.

Posted by: Noel at March 27, 2006 10:18 PM


Exactly wrong. Tolerant Europe has degraded over time, not improved. A cetain level of intolerance of apostasy is a vital element to a coherent society. Losing it has made the secular states incoherent.

Posted by: oj at March 27, 2006 11:34 PM

The last heretic hanged by the Catholic Church was a Spanish schoolteacher accused of Deist (shall we call that "moderate Christian"?) views in Valencia as recently as 1826.

My mistake: 180 years, not 130. SIX generations, not four. SPAIN, not the United States. Differences, that Spengler wants his readers to ignore. Differences that DISTINGUISH me from them. In erasing those differences, Spengler ERASES ME. A different kind of death, wrapped in a denial that embodies a lie.

Another thing: BEING ALIVE defines death. Death is not a result of following or not following a religion: death happens to ALL of us because we are alive. A religion that insists on killing apostates NOW is a religion whose leaders judge people NOW, while a religion that insists that apostates will go to hell AFTER THEY DIE, is a religion whose GOD judges people when their life is over and ALL the evidence is in. Apparently, Spengler's beef is with a religion that believes that he WILL NOT GET AWAY WITH IT. Thus, he indulges in Straw Man construction to obscure the fact that there is a difference between a religion whose leaders kill apostates NOW to validate itself, and a religion that already feels itself so validated that it is content to let GOD take care of apostates. Excommunication is the church attempting to purge itself of hypocrites, who claim membership, but do not meet the qualifications: A man who complains that the Church is full of hypocrites shouldn't complain if the Church says, "You're right", and rids itself of them by telling them to go away. Sure, the Church used to kill them, but a lot has happened since then: happenings that created differences that Spengler, in erasing to make his case, erases who and what It is today.

Posted by: Ptah at March 28, 2006 8:45 AM


Yes, there's a difference. The question is whether you're right that it favors us. Europe suggests not.

Posted by: oj at March 28, 2006 9:04 AM

If intolernce is a necessity for greatness than Nazi Germany and the USSR represent the pinnacles of European civilization.

Posted by: control group at March 28, 2006 6:26 PM


It's not the only requirement, just a requirement. That which you require conformity to must be good.

Posted by: oj at March 28, 2006 7:53 PM

Is Kevin Phillips as repellant as he seemed in that C-Span interview?

Posted by: ratbert at March 28, 2006 10:31 PM

That which you require conformity to must be good.

The Nazis and Communists required conformity, does that make them or what they "required conformity too" good?

Posted by: control group at March 28, 2006 11:16 PM

No. They required conformity to evil.

Posted by: oj at March 28, 2006 11:19 PM

If both the Inquisition and the Gestapo/KGB used the same methods are they not equally evil?

Posted by: control group at March 29, 2006 5:22 AM

No. The means don't matter. The ends do.

Posted by: oj at March 29, 2006 6:45 AM

No. The means don't matter. The ends do. oj

That's it. This blog is only good for links, but the host has lost my respect.

Posted by: Ptah at March 29, 2006 8:52 AM

Even when the means are in direct violation of the precepts and teachings of Christianity's founder?

Would Jesus approve of the Inquisition and witch burnings?

Posted by: control group at March 29, 2006 12:24 PM

Yes, He is. He's down with Hiroshima. A decent world won't come just because you act good--that's the lesson He took from the Cross.

Posted by: oj at March 29, 2006 1:24 PM

So did Jesus tell ou this personally or did you figure out the Prince of Peace was in favor of incinerating Japanese women and children on your own?

And how can an omniscient God learn any lesson. What coul God have to learn?

Frankly Mr. Judd you have a sick, twisted and evil view of Christianity.

Posted by: control group at March 30, 2006 12:48 PM

God had to learn what it was like to be a man, that's the whole point of Christ. We started surprising Him in the Garden.

Posted by: oj at March 30, 2006 12:51 PM

Being omniscient he already knew what it was like to be human. The purpose of the incarrnation was to sacrifice Himself ofr our sakes and our sins.

So you don't believe in an omniscient God? If so, that's a pretty weak and pathetic God you believe in. One not worth worshipping.

Are there any other religions or believers that share your views? What denomination do you belong to? Are you a Christian or just a troll out to make Christianity look foolish?

And how do you know Jesus approved of Hiroshima?

Posted by: control group at March 30, 2006 2:02 PM

An omniscient God can't be squared with the Bible.

Posted by: oj at March 30, 2006 2:14 PM


Posted by: control group at March 30, 2006 3:00 PM

Eloi, eloi, lama sabacthani, just for starters. An omniscient God would not have had to ask that question. Also the whole what the heck are you doing in the bushes naked scene in Genesis 3:8-13. There are plenty of others.

Posted by: joe shropshire at March 31, 2006 2:26 PM


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