Whither Islam?

Unlike the Catholic religion, Islam has no central authority, no pope who can make definitive rulings on what’s orthodox and what’s not. With regard to orthodoxy, Islam is more like Protestantism, which has hundreds of competing sects and denominations, all of them claiming to offer the “true” version of Christianity.

At least this is how it used to be in the Protestant world, up till about a hundred years ago. With the coming of ecumenical Protestantism, however, a large portion of the Protestant world – the non-Fundamentalism portion – decided that all versions of Christianity are approximately equal in truth. The Islamic world has not yet arrived at such broad-minded ecumenism. Muslims still insist that this is the true version of Islam or that is the true version of Islam.

ISIS (or ISIL, as President Obama prefers to call it) holds that itself is the true version of Islam. In other words, the true version of Islam is a form of the religion that establishes (or re-establishes) the Caliphate; that attempts, using military violence, to conquer the world; that pressures Christians and other non-Muslims, through the use of persuasion and persecution and terror, to accept Islam. This is a present-day version of Islam that mimics early Islam, which, coming out of the Arabian peninsula immediately following the death of the Prophet, quickly conquered the Persian Empire plus a very large section of the Roman Empire from Syria in the East to Spain in the West.

Most Muslims, including the great majority of Muslim scholars, would of course say that the ISIS version of Islam is not the true version. They may not agree among themselves as to what the true version actually is, but they are agreed that, whatever it is, it is not ISIS.

But to this objection ISIS has two replies. One is a rhetorical reply: “Our aims and practices resemble, much more strongly than yours do, the aims and practices of the early caliphs, those who immediately succeeded the Prophet. Like them, we are militant Muslims. We are warriors for Allah. We are jihadists. You on the other hand are pussycats. You’re not willing to kill and die for our holy religion.”

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The other reply is not given in action. ISIS is having success. It has established a state (or quasi-state) in Iraq and Syria. It has established alliances with similar militant Islamic organizations from Indonesia to Nigeria; in effect it is now the president of a worldwide jihadist federation. It has struck blows against infidels in France and Russia and elsewhere, and will very probably strike more blows in the near future. For the first time since the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the West fears militant Islam. “You can’t argue with success,” ISIS can say, “and we are successful, not you.”

There is, as I said, no Islamic pope who can say, “ISIS does not represent true Islam.” The true definition of Islam will be decided in a kind of informal referendum conducted over the next 50 or 100 years by the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims. If ISIS continues to be successful, and grows to be even more successful, it is very conceivable that a majority of the world’s Muslims will eventually decide that the ISIS version of Islam is the true version.

This would be the real justification for using massive military force, including a few hundred thousand “boots on the ground,” to snuff out ISIS before it gets any larger and has any more successes. The great problem is not that ISIS may kill a few hundred people in Paris and a few thousand more in places like London, Rome, Berlin, Madrid, Moscow, Washington, and Las Vegas. We can tolerate a few thousand murders. Here in the United States we tolerate more than 10,000 murders every year. What we cannot tolerate is a redefinition of Islam according to the ISIS model – an Islam that mobilizes one-fifth of the world’s population to conduct holy war against the other four-fifths.

In snuffing out ISIS, we’d be doing ourselves, or at least our great-great-grandchildren, a great favor. But we’d be doing an equally great favor, perhaps even a greater favor, to the majority of the world’s Muslims. Clearly the Islamic world is at a crossroads. It senses that it must make a definitive response to the culture of modernity that comes from the United States in particular and from the West generally, a culture – quite incompatible with the traditional Islamic way of life – that is relentlessly enveloping the world and transforming it.

One possible response is the one ISIS is proposing: a return to the militant Islam of the first century after Muhammad. Another possible response is to modernize Islam so that it will be able to embrace many of the less noxious elements of modernity. If ISIS is effectively eliminated, the Muslim world will have no alternative but to turn to the modernization response.

That’s a big “if.” When predicting the future to my students, I always add this caution: “While it is quite possible to predict the movements of the sun and moon and planets, it is virtually impossible to predict the human future.”

David Carlin

David Carlin

David Carlin is professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America.

  • Dear Sir, I am curious on where you detect or have observed that Islam sees itself at a crossroads and or senses it needs to modernize? I fail to see that. I see western civilization as having rejecting it’s Christian values and replacing it with humanism. This has greatly weakened our defense against an imposition of Islamic “values” of shariah and demands that we give up our beliefs for their sake. I see also as are many people now that the supposed Christian faiths both protestant and Catholic are a huge part of the problem. Over one billion dollars in 2014 being funneled via government “refugee resettlement” to charities Catholic and otherwise that are supporting lawbreakers entering the country illegally as well as mass numbers of muslims (hand picked by the UN purposefully over persecuted Christians) from Syria. Not a peep out if these supposed charities that Christian peoples are being left out of the process and opportunity to seek safe haven. That is pure greed and I do not think God approves.
    Islam will never change, it is a totalitarian ideology. What needs to change if it is not too late is western civilization and a return to strong Christian belief and value system. Otherwise we should be prepared to face another Dark Age, how tragic and frightening.

    • berryf

      Agree.

    • Bro_Ed

      I read that a group of Muslim scholars is trying to get a study group together from the various Muslim sects to clarify certain parts of the Koran that seem to be driving people to these outrageous acts of violence. The premise is much like our own experience where the Old Testament is filled with violence and extreme measures while the New Testament modifies all that and preaches the love of Christ. I hope these Muslim scholars succeed over time. It would be no short term solution but if the children coming along received religious training in these clarified concepts, perhaps generations further down the trail will benefit from it. If we can hold out until then..

      • RainingAgain

        One needs to distinguish passages descriptive of violence from those which are prescriptive. Why must we be so defensive. It is Islam that is wrong, not Judeo-Christianity.

      • John II

        Have you ever studied the Qur’an? If not, why are you writing about it?

      • JaneSeymour

        You seem to be very optimistic. These radical young Muslim men are the children of liberal parents. If you look at the photos or films from Middle East in 60’s and 70’s, you would think it was Europe.

  • RainingAgain

    Modernity or Islam? What a choice. Perhaps it would be best if both annihilate one another?

  • PCB

    It seems all the pundits are in agreement, or at least moving towards the broader consensus, that more “boots on the ground” is what is needed to defeat the ISIS(L) threat. In addition, that these boots, under the best scenario, should derive from the region of conflict (vs. from U.S. and Western Allies). It’s curious to me, why no one is suggesting the obvious source of these additional boots should come from the refugee population itself. I read it is estimated that “only” approximately 2% of the potential refugees slated for the United States are of “combat aged” single men. I can only surmise this percentage would also be somewhat (more or less) equal for the entire refugee population, which would translate to tens of thousand “combat aged” young men originating from the region; a sizeable military force.
    I question, what’s to lose (besides the obvious answer, human casualties, usual to every military action), by recruiting these young men as soldiers into an “under-ground” or “liberating” force, which could be well equipped, trained, and supported by the U.S. and Western Forces in much the same way the Poles, the French, and Jewish, etc.(the list is long) under-ground forces were organized and employed during World War II?
    Perhaps it is just a perplexing to my (Western) mind, that this refugee population would not have apparently a natural sense of patriotism for their countr(ies) of origin considered worth fighting (and dying) for. I understand the complexities of the Post-WWI externally imposed border/nation building following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, along seemingly arbitrary if not contrary lines, irrespective of the many finer nuances of factional Islam and of extreme historical tribal identification. Again, to my (perhaps naïve) western thinking, you would think the refugees would be volunteering or self-organizing such “under-ground” movements on their own, and/or at least actively seeking western support for their organization, vs. apparently only seeking to become protected wards of the western states.
    Yes, we (the West) should receive them in their desperation to secure the lives and safety of their families, but we should also demand that they see it as a temporary condition, a condition contingent upon their wiliness to fight for the restoration of their home-lands, whether they identify with the arbitrary borders and nations imposed on them nearly 100 years ago, they cannot dispute their very long historical ties and origins to the land/region.

    • craig

      It’s a fallacy to think that the “refugees” coming here are interested in liberating their own lands from ISIS et al. There are a few, no doubt, who are genuinely fleeing calamity. Far more of them are rent-seekers, or the equivalent of 1960s draft-dodgers, fleeing toward perceived comfort and away from any responsibilities toward their homelands. And the remainder, which is some non-trivial percentage of them, are knowingly carrying out the Moslem imperative of “hijrah”: slow jihad by immigration, to be followed by conquest when numerical advantage is obtained.

    • RainingAgain

      Most of the young men of fighting age seem to have come to Europe, which tells us they had no qualms about abandoning the more vulnerable of their people. They would be worse than useless in warfare. As for their nationalism or love of their land, Arabs are historically tribal nomads-such notions are utterly alien to them.

      • ZZMike

        First, family (at least, the males); second, tribe. “Country” is a vague and changeable term.

        “… in warfare”, they would be more likely to fire on us (the infidel) as on what we consider an enemy soldier.

      • Ana

        The influx of young Muslim men into Europe is not a refugee crisis. This is a hijrah, a migration to Islamize a new land.

  • Michael Dowd

    If they could be converted, Muslims would make excellent orthodox
    Catholics–the kind that actually believe what the Church teaches. The
    problem is there are so very few of these around anymore. Listening to
    Pope Francis one would think he prefers Muslims to Orthodox Catholics.
    Such is the state of affairs in the Church today.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Over half the world’s population lives in just three states: China, the Russian Federation and the United States. The first two have shown themselves more than capable of dealing with their Muslim minorities and the number in the US is trivial

    • Alicia

      Isn’t India’s population more than twice that of the US’ ?

    • ZZMike

      It’s hardly trivial. It may not be as great as China’s or Russia’s, but there are a few large American cities that have significant Muslim populations, and of those, a few really feel that they should live under Sharia law. (Needless to say, Sharia law is 100% incompatible with our values of freedom and liberty.)

    • Noah_Vaile

      Your population statement is utterly wrong.

  • sw

    I agree with your thesis, except I would replace the word “Muslim”
    with “Catholic”. ISIS has, to quote Jacob, made Muslims to stink. But so have
    militant Catholics made Catholics to stink. Every day Catholics join the US
    military agreeing to murder people their government tells them to murder,
    believing that government orders can trump the fifth commandment. For over 40
    of the past 50 years the US government has been at war and not one could be considered a “just war” even by the most malleable imaginations.

    Muslims don’t have a Pope. Catholics do, but, in the United States, from their enlistments and the writings of their intellectuals, it is clear that they do not listen to them. When the popes clearly condemned the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, US Catholics ignored them. When the popes clearly condemned pre-emptive attacks (i.e. “snuffing out” those who newspaper promote as scary but have never attacked the US), US Catholics ignored them.

    US Catholics need to spend less time reading articles in US Catholic magazines recommending the “snuffing out” of others and need to spend more time
    listening to Gospel non-violence teachings of Father Charles Emmanuel McCarthy.

    • JGradGus

      Catholic teaching recognizes a state’s right to protect its citizens, defend itself, and wage ‘just’ war. While Paul VI and St. JP II (and Benedict) voiced strong opposition to the Viet Nam and Iraq wars, neither war was condemned as an unjust war. The taking of a life in war is not murder and those Catholics who enlist in the military do not do so intending to commit murder but to defend their country from those who would attempt to do us harm or destroy us. The U.S. has never set out to conquer or take over another country. Our military actions have always been in self-defense or to assist others in the defense of freedom or democracy.

      Technically one can say we are still at war in Korea since a peace agreement has never been signed, but in all fairness, the U.S. has not “been at war” for 40 of the last 50 years. U.S. direct military action in Viet Nam was from 1964 to 1973, the Gulf War lasted for 7 months, and the Iraq War lasted from 2003 to 2011. All other military actions we have been involved in have been policing actions. The world is not a peaceful place and there are a lot of bad guys in it. Unfortunately the world does need a policeman. Because of world politics the UN has so far shown it can’t do the job, so that role has fallen to the U.S. Maybe with ISIS things while finally be different.

    • RainingAgain

      You are unfairly condemning the military for the decisions of the politicians. A military that itself decided what it should do would be either a dictatorship or utterly useless. How can one expect an ordinary soldier to know the truth of a political situation with the limited data available to him? He has to operate on duty, obedience and trust, the lot of most of us in our daily situations.

      Our Lady of Victory, please instill within us the spirit of Lepanto.

    • gubllod

      Very interesting thoughts, sw. However, they are, unfortunately, incorrect. Why? Because Islam is the only religion of any international significance in all human history which is based upon murder, rape and robbery as a matter of course. Mohammad’s pronouncements set forth by his followers in the Qoran some twenty years after his death make this very clear. Arabian tribal practices form the basis of Islam and, while there are different segments of Islam, e.g. Sunni, Shiite, etc., all are agreed on the Qoran. The Judaeo-Christian tradition is not so founded, though you have the freedom of choice to attack it in any manner you choose. Christ stands quite apart from everything Islam espouses and I doubt that you will find any thinking person to disagree with that idea.

      We grant Christianity is split generally into the Catholic and Protestant sides, some of this reflecting human nature just as we see with Islam. Beyond this, Christ is still the Lord, the King of kings, because it pleased God the Father to make Him so. Your apparent distaste for all things military has led you to equate Christianity, or at least the Catholic side of it, with Islam which, in light of Islam’s professed beliefs and goals, is simply impossible. The wars in Vietnam and in Iraq were clearly inspired by Communism in the case of Vietnam and by a militant Islamic dictator in Iraq whose real goal was complete hegemony of the Near East and control of world trade as he saw it. In either case it was evil raising its ugly head. Christ’s handling of Satan was never “nice” in your terms. I am not equating the USA in that respect at all, but I am suggesting that the USA, as a Christian nation, was intent on protecting those less fortunately than it.

      From your commentary, sw, it would appear that you do not have the slightest idea of what Islam really represents and what it is prepared to do against all those outside its sanctimonius confines. If you were to check out its history over the last 1,400 years, that should tell you something.

    • ZZMike

      Nice try, but your target is off in some other direction. You’ll have to provide, at least, instances of “Every day Catholics join the USmilitary agreeing to murder people their government tells them to murder”. I rarely hear of our soldiers marching off to war singing hymns. In fact, Army chaplains have been castigated and ordered not to preach.

    • Chris in Maryland

      sw

      It is a fact of Catholic faith that the Church holds that there are just causes for waging war. Pope John Paul II’s Catechism teaches that, as has the Church through history, beginning with St. Augustine.

      It seems you may actually be uncertain about whether you admit to the just war principle, as you didn’t condemn the war in Afghanistan. Do you know whether or not you hold to the just war principle?

      St. Thomas Aquinas states that soldiers fighting justly in a just war are doing an Act of Love…by your words you have condemned all such soldiers as murderers.

      May such young soldiers, living and dead, who have suffered the ravages of war, be committed to the mercy of the God, and not to the mercy of you or the Rev. McCarthy.

      May the poor suffering Christians and others in the middle east who are being brutally tortured, murdered, raped and sold into sex slavery be rescued by such soldiers, rather than left with the emptiness of your best wishes…and those of Rev. McCarthy.

  • Howard Kainz

    If a caliphate is effectively restored, Islam will have a “central authority.” In Islamic tradition, the caliph has much more power, religious and political, than the pope; and commands obedience from all Muslims.

    • ZZMike

      That may well be true, and if it does come to pass, the Caliph will not resemble Pope Francis.

  • BXVI

    More boots on the ground may be necessary, but they would be a short-term solution at best. We can wipe out ISIS (and perhaps we should) but moderate Muslims will never be able to solve this problem for us because the evil seeds lie at the core of Islam – in the biography of the “Prophet” himself.

    Muhammad was a profoundly evil man. He orderd executions, assasinations and torture. He took sex slaves from among the women of defeated enemies and he allowed his warriors to do the same. He supposedly received special permission from “Allah” to have an unlimited number of wives, and to take his nephew’s wife as his own. He “married” a 6-year old girl. He died rich and fat from the booty he took in battle and the taxes he extracted from defeated enemies. And he is the “perfect” man whom all Muslim men are expected to emulate. Because of this, the Islamists will always have the upper hand against the moderates. Their brand of Islam is more “authentic” and closer to the original faith. This is why Islam itself must be discredited and defeated – not just “radical” Islam. The core is rotten; therefore the entire apple is bad.

    We must realize that we are in a global civilizational struggle with Islam, and that we are currently losing. We must also recognize that neither secularism nor “progressive” forms of Christianity are capable of defeating Islam. Only authentic Christianity can defeat this demonic evil. And yes, it is demonic. Muslims are operating under a delusion and need the light of Truth revealed to them. If we would realize this and start acting like authentic Christians, Islam would crumble quickly because it is a theological house of cards. Alas, we are not currently capable of this because, as a civilization, the West no longer believes in authentic Christianity. For this reason, I expect things to get much, much worse before they get better.

    • John II

      There is a grave imbecility at the very heart of Islam that the secular West cannot, or perhaps will not, fathom. And any serious Christian who has actually read and studied the Qur’an cannot but recognize the mark of the Cosmic Imbecile himself.

      The illiterate Muhammad very likely did have regular converse with an angel who dictated the manic suras of the Qur’an to him. But the angel wasn’t Gabriel.

  • Tamsin

    Abstract theology matters. Allah is a different conception of God than the Trinity. If Muslims want to believe in God, they need the Son too, and they don’t have Him and can’t have Him while remaining within Islam as set forth by Mohammed, in which Jesus was a lesser prophet. A nice Jewish boy.

    So now that I’ve written that out, I see that Muslims do have something in common with our Modernists and the Humanists.

    The only way to mend Islam is to end Islam in Dieu ou rien.

    • dave399

      If any human thing is impossible, it is ending Islam.

      • kathleen

        God can do all things. He wants to convert them. Keep praying the Rosary. Our Lady’s intercession is very powerful. We know that from two wonderful, and Church approved apparitions, Lourdes and Fatima.

  • Manfred

    May I presume to go back to basics? Allah does not exist. God is Triune. Islam is a heresy with Jewish, pagan and Catholic origins. Abraham, Mary, Jesus and the Angel Gabriel are mentioned in the Koran.The only two Faiths in the history of the world which had Divine influence were Judaism and Catholicism, which was begun by Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. As Christ was the long awaited Messiah whom the Jews of His day rejected, Judaism’s role no longer fit in the Divine Plan.
    So, moving forward, may we think of ISIS as the Comanches, Sioux and Iroquois all of which had to be put down by force of arms and settled on reservations?
    Many if not most of the jihadis are mere criminals and not pious Muslims.

  • Robert A Rowland

    There is only one God, and his name is not Allah. All violence and in the world comes from Islam, and there can be no dialogue between good and evil.

  • Francis Miller

    I don’t know enough about Islam other than it is full of conflicting proponents. It appears to me that ISIS is very willing to kill Muslims as well as non-Muslims. That is a very difficult enemy. It seems to me that if our past and more traditional enemies had been willing to engage our armies in battle and then obliterate bomb all combatants, the idea of traditional battle would lose much of its preference. Our enemies in the past seem to have an attachment to their soldiers and citizens at least most of the time. ISIS has no such compunction. They know, and Obama and his sympathizers seem to ignore, that there is no exhausting the willing martyrs for Islam. We are growing many now here in America. Their view is there are no innocents. You are a follower of Islam, so dying of the faith is a honor or you have turned your back on Islam and your death is justified. I do appreciate the Muslims who extol Islam as the religion of peace. It makes me feel better but I don’t believe it.

  • Robert A Rowland

    They don’t both believe in the same God.

  • monica

    Why don’t Saudi Arabia and the other Muslim countries accept any of the refugees? Surely some of them believe the same brand of Islam that the Saudi’s believe.

    • ZZMike

      One theory I heard is that the other Muslim countries want their countries free of the refugees – among them, Christian – leaving only the militants.

      It’s a bit like the reason Muslim countries won’t take the Palestinians, or give them a little bit of their immense territory. In that case, they use the Palestinians as a wedge to use against Israel.

  • maxmarley

    Germany/ Europe generally is demographically challenged. And to aid its demographic recovery, it invites in those people, at best, antipathetic, at worst, determined to destroy its very existence.
    And this is the typical mindset of europe’s elected elite along with mr Obama who are in total denial that there is a serious existential threat to western civilisation. So Kafkaesque.

  • ZZMike

    The “L” in ISIL is for “Levant”, and area that includes Israel, which the Islamic State wants to conquer. On the other hand, the last “S” could stand for ‘al-Sham”, which includes a large territory besides Israel. Defeating ISIS is going too be a long and dreary task, and unless the rest of the world joins forces against them. a long and hopeless task.

    • Benedetti

      I don’t know about the S in Isis, but the current resident of the White House could appropriately be titled ‘al-Sham’.

  • Tom Brennan

    Prof. Carlin: Interesting point that the rest of the Muslim world would be taking a wait-and-see attitude but might join in with ISIS if they appear to be succeeding. That’s a pretty scary thought.

    I’ve been thinking along the lines you started with, that the question of authority within Islam is similar to the one we know all too well between Catholics and Protestants, and main-line and fundamentalist Protestants. ISIS would be equivalent to our snake-handling brethren on this question of authority to interpret the Scriptures (strict literalists).
    Unfortunately, as we are too sadly aware, if our Christian divisions reflect universal human sinfulness, then there’s very little hope that having any group of Muslims, no matter how large, determine that Islam should not be interpreted and practiced as ISIS sees it will have any significant effect on ISIS’ present or would-be adherents.

  • Omnia Vincit Veritas

    Islam qua Islam enjoys various universal doctrines and/or beliefs that cut across all divisions, including ISIS (which has NOT redefined Islam as wrongly claimed/suggested by Mr. Carlin), like the following ridiculous ones (and there are many more):

    1. Muhammad is Allah’s prophet. This is a mainstay of Islam despite the reality of Muhammad’s life that violated God’s basic laws in numerous ways (murder, rape, torture, marriage to a child, etc.), yet all Muslims irrationally revere Muhammad as the “ideal human being.” Even worse, all Muslims are commanded to emulate Muhammad.

    {Very sad to see that Mr. Carlin refers to Muhammad as “the Prophet.” What a slap in the face of God to consider this despicable warlord to be “the Prophet,” and just being polite to Muslims or some other excuse for so referring to him doesn’t work when truth is denied in the process. On the other hand it is politically correct, so perhaps it is more important to Mr. Carlin to refer to a man who violated God’s laws on a regular basis and who advised others to do the same as “the Prophet.”}

    2. Sharia Law should be the law of every land. Sharia law denies basic human rights in many ways.

    3. Death is the punishment for apostasy from Islam.

    4. Muslim husbands are commanded to beat disobedient wives.

    5. Muslims are commanded to wage jihad against non-believers in Islam. This includes killing them, torturing them, and humiliating them…unless they convert to Islam.
    ________________________________________________

    Mr. Carlin proclaims: “If ISIS is effectively eliminated, the Muslim world will have no alternative but to turn to the modernization response.”

    Incredible. It appears that Mr. Carlin ignores his own advice he gives his poor students about “it is virtually impossible to predict the human future” since he definitively predicts that “the Muslim world will have no alternative…if……” 🙂

    Most unfortunate indeed. Does Mr. Carlin believe that groups like Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hamas, Hezbollah, Taliban, Muslim Brotherhood, et al. will magically disappear if ISIS goes away? This alone betrays a woeful lack of knowledge of the factual history of Islam that has always had various groups within Islam rise up time and time again who are willing to wage the commanded jihad in a more militant fashion than many or even most of their fellow believers are inclined to do even though they are commanded to support the warriors of jihad.

    For an objective view and factual understanding of the Muslim world and Islam, much more scholarly research of its 1,400 year history and what it actually teaches via the Quran, the Hadith, and the Sira is necessary to avoid accepting and perpetuating many popular myths in the portrayal of Islam. As always, only the Truth sets people free.

    • kathleen

      Why don’t Catholics and other Christians think about what St. Paul said, and I paraphrase, if anyone should come preaching a Gospel other than that of Jesus Christ, let him be anathema. Isn’t that what Muhammed did six hundred years after Christ? I just don’t understand how Islam can be considered on of the world’s great religions. Archangel Gabriel did not come to Muhammed with the Koran. Not Archangel Gabriel, maybe another “angel”.
      And yet some of our popes have referred to Islam as a great religion??? Would someone explain, please.

      • Omnia Vincit Veritas

        Hi, Kathleen:
        I share your frustratio, and it boggles my mind as well, but false ecumenism punctuated in recent years by political correctness and historical revisionism appear to be at the root of the willful blindness regarding the history and basic teachings of Islam as well as the status of Muhammad.

        Moreover, in the Quran (chapter 4, verses 157-158), it is flat out denied that Jesus was crucified, plus it is claimed that Allah deceived certain people into believing this. As such, Islam in and of itself has no respect for the highest of Christian beliefs, and it presents Allah as a deceiver. As you alluded to in your comments, who do we know from the spirit world who is indeed the great deceiver of mankind?

        Also, everybody should be able to criticize/question/challenge any so-called religion or ideology based on what is presented by that ideology. In a saner time we had no problem calling out and fighting against false, anti-human Nazism and anti-human Communist Marxism, but in today’s world, waging the same kind of fight (even just intellectually) against false, anti-human Islam is considered to be a form of bigotry because way too many people who should know better actually believe or deceive themselves into making the ridiculous claim that “Islam is a religion of peace.” They confuse the existence of peaceful and lax Muslims (in terms of not doing their Islamic duties as commanded in the Quran and Hadith and Sharia Law) with the religion itself that is extremely violent and not capable of being legitimately interpreted any other way. Of course, in a world where men can claim to actually be women and vice versa despite objective biology to the contrary, Pilate’s question regarding what is truth is now answered by the relativistic “truth is simply what we say it is” even if it has no basis in reality.

        Stay strong in objective truth and keep fighting the good fight, Kathleen.

        • kathleen

          Thank you for all that. I often recall the words of that wonderful Saint, Padre Pio: pray, hope and don’t worry. I am so grateful for the graces God has given me – faith in Him, and in His Church. So much to be thankful for – Our Savior, Jesus Christ, His Blessed Mother, our Guardian Angels, the Saints in Heaven – all helping us on our journey back to the Father. I pray for holy perseverance for myself and for all of us in these perilous times. St. John Paul II pray for us, and for the Church. Holy Mother of God, and Mother of the Church, pray for the Church, pray for the Pope.

        • mcblanc

          RE: “…everybody should be able to criticize/question/challenge any so-called religion or ideology based on what is presented by that ideology.”

          True That.
          So–We, too, should be more open to the criticism/questioning & challenges that’ve come Our Way to the Catholic Church’s beliefs & practices from both within & without. They’re As Good For Scouring Out What Has Become Sclerotic IN Our OWN Cultural/Institutional Thinking & Habits–As For Anybody ELSE.

          • Omnia Vincit Veritas

            The Catholic Church always takes on challenges to the faith, and so it is more open to criticism, etc. Check the history of all challenges from the beginning councils to the Reformation to modernism, and note the reasoned responses by the leadership.

      • maxmarley

        Appeasement

      • Ana

        According to Muhammad, he told his wife he was possessed by demons. It was she who convinced him that it wasn’t demons but actually the Archangel Gabriel.

        • Phil Horaia

          Not quite. It was Waraqa, I think his wife’s cousin, who told Mo that it was Gabriel who had throttled him in the cave of Hira. Waraqa was an Ebionite who was likely looking for a Messiah figure. Note that ‘Gabriel’ didn’t bother to identify himself.

  • maxmarley

    Mandatory reading for the inept western political elite should be be centred on Charles Martel, John of Austria and Jan Stobieski.
    As well there was a pope Pius V whose compass was well calibrated.
    Alas that was centuries ago.
    The enlightenment changed a lot of things, not for the better.

  • Chris in Maryland

    When men from so-called “Christian” countries commit atrocities, everyone who knows what’s in the Gospel knows that these men are disobeying the Gospel.

    The problem with Islam is different: When Moslem men commit atrocities, everyone who knows what’s in the Koran knows that these men are obeying the Koran.
    The Koran is an engine that teaches each new generation of its people to wage war to spread Islam. That is why Islam has waged war for 1,400 years.

  • Observe&Report

    Islam cannot be modernised, the proof of this can be seen in the Middle East today as one Islamic society after another disintegrates into tribal and sectarian warfare. Europe went through a similar process that took almost two centuries, but thanks to a cultural bedrock of rational inquiry and scientific innovation, it more or less made it through its phase of fundamentalist slaughter.

    Islam, on the other hand, is going through the same process in less than a generation, and has no tradition of rational inquiry (at least none that survived the Reconquista or the sacking of Baghdad) to get it through such a phase. Even the wealth of the Islamic World (the Arab and Iranian part) comes pouring straight out of the ground.

    Islam is rooted in primitive Arab tribal culture; it cannot survive long in contact with the forces of the modern world, let alone harness the kind of brainpower or creativity that would allow it to carve out a place for itself in the modern world.

    Islam is dying a slow and messy death. Were it not for the presence of large (and growing) Muslim immigrant communities in Western countries, we could sit just back and watch it burn.

    • Omnia Vincit Veritas

      On the contrary, O&R, Islam is thriving and growing in both the East and West while much of the modern world capitulates and grows weaker in its embrace of destructive relativism and subjectivism throughout. In fine, the West used to have a healthy respect for natural law and universal human rights but no more thanks to bogus modernism that even supports Islam as a “religion of peace.” Also, Islam adopts as much of modernity as it chooses to wage jihad, organize countries, recruit newcomers, and so on. Note its use of advanced weaponry, advanced technology in general, social media, and so on.

      Modernity as the silver bullet to eventually destroy Islam has been touted by many for hundreds of years, but Islam continues to grow. As such, “modernity as the great destroyer of Islam” is just another form of wishful thinking.

      • Observe&Report

        Islam’s greatest weapon against the Western World is certainly the West’s own apathy and squeamishness, which is why there has yet to be much pushback against its advance, but that does not mean it is thriving. Most of the victims of Islamic violence in the past few decades have been other Muslims, and trend that will likely continue for the forseeable future. That’s not a recipe for long term growth and power.

        As for the second part of your response, it is true that ISIS followers are skilled users of social media, and that their members include Muslims born in the West with expertise in computer programming and engineering. But the kind of society they seek to build could never produce people with such skills. Parasiting off the fruits of modernity (especially Western modernity) is one thing, creating a society that can produce similar fruits is entirely another.

        The native Americans, for example, acquired guns from the White settlers they fought, but their own semi-nomadic societies could never have manufactured similar technology. Although it was disease that killed off most of them, they might have had a fighting chance if their own societies could produce similar innovations.

        The Taliban drove around in SUVs when they were in power in Afghanistan, but what passed for an education system under their rule was incapable of producing people with the knowledge and skills to build their own cars.

        My point is not that modernity will be the great destroyer of Islam, per se. Rather, Islam will be the great destroyer of Islam. Modernity is merely the catalyst as different strands of Islam fight to the death over how to confront a world in which their is no real place for values and practices best suited to 7th century Arabia.

        The great task of the West, if we have the stomach for it, is to ensure that as Islam tears itself to shreds, it does not drag us down with it. That would mean expunging the Islamic fifth columns we have allowed to germinate within our borders.

  • AugustineThomas

    We’re going to be plagued with this and other issues until we make true societal shifts that encourage Christianity and Christian populations and discourage Islam and other false religions. Anyway, I think most thoughtful Christians are now preparing themselves for a relationship with the secular world that is much more similar to that of the early Christians with the Roman Empire than of the triumphant Christians, who made Europe a fortress, outflanked the Muslims and essentially conquered the whole world for the first time in history, with the states they ran with a much higher degree of harmony with the local bishop or ranking Protestant clergyman.

  • Baron Kaza

    ISIS is Islam

  • Howard

    The true definition of Islam will be decided in a kind of informal referendum conducted over the next 50 or 100 years by the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims.

    Likewise, the true definition of the Harry Potter universe will be decided in a kind of informal referendum conducted over the next 50 or 100 years by the millions of fans of the franchise. The difference is that you would probably not bother calling the “canon” of Harry Potter fiction — or even Star Wars fiction — true because it is, after all, fiction. Of course, to any real Catholic, Islam is just as fictional as Harry Potter, only with much more negative spiritual consequences. (There are negative consequences for people’s bodies, too, and for society as a whole, but the worst consequences are spiritual.) It is pointless to talk about “the true definition of Islam” unless you believe that such a thing even has real existence.

  • Alex

    THE FATAL FLAW IN ISLAM

    “Is the Islamic religion, taken on its own terms, compatible with the values and institutions of Western culture?”

    The simple and stark answer is: NO.

    Islam’s fatal flaw is its erroneous idea of the nature of God. In the very warp and woof of Islam there is a voluntarism which is embedded in Islam itself, in the very Book of the Quran, a voluntarism that crushes reason. Voluntarism is the doctrine that the will is the fundamental or dominant factor in the universe. This theory, which conceives God as some form of will, prioritizes the will over reason or emotion. Allah is considered to be pure will that can do evil or good according to his needs.

    The God of the Muslims wills; he commands; he is the Judge. Because He is God, He can command what is contradictory and make it non-contradictory. He can will, for example, that homicide and adultery not be evils, because He so wills it. The God of the Muslims is a God who does not obey reason and logic, precisely because He is the all-powerful God. Things are true because He so wills it. Being the almighty One, He determines the truth of things—not reason.

    If the God of the Muslims is Will and not Reason, the God of Christians is the Logos [the Word]. For Christians the second person of God is the Logos: reason, thought, word. “In the beginning was the Logos [the Word]; and the Logos was God; and the Logos became flesh and dwelt among us.” Hence, Christians reverence both “ratio et fides”—faith and reason.

    A good Muslim doesn’t reason with God. Using reason with God is an affront to God. One simply obeys Him. In fact, the word Islam means submission, and submission to Allah is the highest human good. Don’t try to reason; you’ll get into trouble and “lose your faith.” Just close your eyes and obey blindly and follow orders. No discussions.

    The problem is that people who don’t use reason become dangerous fanatics. They go on feelings and emotions. For them God is God and, as such, doesn’t tolerate insolent reason.

    Islam has existed vibrantly for 1300 years. How else can we explain the magnetic hold this doctrine has had on the minds and hearts of Muslims of all races and ethnicities for 13 centuries if not by appealing to their “erroneous” idea of God, an idea found in the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

    A few years ago Pope Benedict XVI stated in his now famous Regensburg address that the separation of faith from reason “will lead inevitably to violence.” How much harm this separation of faith and reason has done to the human race throughout these many centuries!

    “Is the Islamic religion, taken on its own terms, compatible with the values and institutions of Western culture?” The answer is: NO.

    Islam will need to change radically. It needs a deep-rooted reformation. But if Islam were to renounce its long-held idea of the nature of God, it would no longer be the Islam that has been handed down to us for1300 years. It would become something entirely new and liberating.