A three front war

Much has been made about the clash between Islam and Western civilization. This has been brought to the fore by the riots spreading throughout Europe, fueled by unassimilated, rage-twisted, mostly Islamic immigrants. But, after much thought, I would like to advance another thesis: that we are in a period in history where three groups are mutually in conflict. Yes, there is a clash between Islam and the West, but this does not take into account that the West is divided and attacking itself, between those who would maintain Christendom, and those who would send us into a materialistic abyss. Islam is antithetical to both factions in the West, Christendom is opposed to both Islam and liberalism, and liberalism loathes both Islam and the soil from which it grew. All three conflicts are critical for the eventual outcome of this odd conflagration.

Obviously, Islam cannot abide with either the secular or the religious West, but often today, we focus on Islam’s opposition to secularism. I suspect that this opposition fuels much of the visible conflict today: the disaffection that many Muslims have with the corrosive effects of Western society is almost entirely due to the noxious materialism that seeks to destroy their faith as it almost has ours. We mustn’t, however, minimize the antipathy that Islam has toward Christianity. The wounds of the Crusades and the economic and political oppression of the past several hundred years are still festering. But, right now, those wounds are in the background, laying dormant. I don’t think they will rise to the surface other than in rhetoric, unless the other fronts in this war change position. Today, I say that the best thing we can hope for in the unending war against Islam is for materialism to be successful in its advance into Muslim society. As Hilaire Belloc argues in The Great Heresies, Islam has proved almost impervious to Christian mission work. This is due to many factors, not the least of which is the death sentence with which apostasy is greeted. However, if the acid of liberalism and materialism can eat into that great wall of “intolerance,” to allow Muslims freedom to leave without fear of death, then nothing but good can result. A tolerant Muslim from a tolerant family is the only sort that could then be open to Christianity.

That, of course, presupposes that we are a little more successful in our own fight against our prevailing culture. And I think, despite all we read and hear in the media and in our little echo chamber, that we are making solid inroads. The decadent West is spiritually empty, and knows it. We offer something they desperately need–a purpose for their lives. I know at least as many agnostic converts to Catholicism as Evangelicals. But, even if we only breed them out, which will happen if the culture of death isn’t reversed (not likely), we will eventually win this battle. In the meantime, however, can we enjoy the way that secularism incites Muslims? It weakens both our enemies quite dramatically.

In the end, I think that the three front war will be reduced to two, because the current Western culture is dying. From its ruins will reemerge two old foes: the Church and Islam. The question is: on what footing will the two stand? Will liberalism eat into Islam enough that we can start to win converts before it dies? Will liberalism continue to erode our foundations until only a small remnant of our own remain? Only time will tell.

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