Category Archives: Paul Merkley

THE CONFRONTATION BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM

We present this new essay reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work.

Some Historical Perspective.

There is no escaping the conclusion that before Islam began bringing Christians to their knees throughout most of the Middle East in the 7th and 8th centuries most of them had lost vital interest in their inherited faith.

Over the three centuries since Constantine had set Christianity on the way to becoming the only legal religion (Edict of Milan, 313 AD) serious Christians in the eastern parts of Rome’s Empire had been divided into mutually hostile camps by bitter doctrinal disputes. Then as intellectual commitment to the creeds succumbed to a secular spirit among the ruling elites, residual loyalties kept these divisions alive, so that what had begun as a partisan spirit had become a tribal  sprit (as in Northern Ireland in our own time.) This partisan tribal spirit prevented the taking of united measures of moral and intellectual defense when the existential challenge emerged from the deserts.

Intellectual vagueness made for easy compromise on the teaching of Scripture. Pride in “openness” to alternative religions added to weakness for religious novelty and superstition characterized the nominally Christian world precisely as the rigorous unbending doctrines of Islam appeared in their midst.

MUHAMMAD AND NIETZSCHE

We present this new essay reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work.

The Flight from Church.

When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Luke 18: 8b.

In the wake of the nerve-wracking catastrophe of 9/11 a pall of anxiety set in  – causing  some to imagine that a dramatic increase in church attendance was on the horizon. It did not happen. Instead, the mind of the world has become more escapist and more frivolous by the day. The amount of space given to world news in my newspaper, the Ottawa Citizen, has dropped – typically, to four or five abbreviated items – one half of one full page.

The descent of the popular mind into frivolous and escapist entertainments, including professional  sports,  and the decline of church attendance — both follow from the feeling that everything that is comfortable and agreeable in one’s life depends upon resistance to larger meanings. Nothing in the present culture serves to validate a visit to church on a Sunday morning. Any grown up person who prefers church to golf has a lot of explaining to do.

POPE FRANCIS’ DEVOTION ON BEHALF OF RELIGION

We present this new essay reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work.

On July 26, two Muslims slit the throat of a French Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Jacques Hamel, 85, while he was saying Mass before a typically small group of locals in his village church.

“I Do Not Like to  Speak of  Islamic Violence.

The assailants  were well-known to police as Islamic radicals with connections to ISIS; in fact, one of the two, born in Algeria, was required to wear an electronic surveillance device intended to thwart anything along the line of what he accomplished that day.

A journalist working for a French Catholic news agency sought the insight of the Pope. (Who better, after all, to explain definitively what an assault upon a Catholic priest must mean?) “Four days ago,” the reporter noted, “you told us once again that all religions want peace… When you speak of these violent acts, why do you always speak of terrorists but not of Islam?”

The Pope replied:

“I don’t like to speak of Islamic violence because every day when I open the newspapers I see acts of violence, here in Italy, someone kills his girlfriends, someone else his mother-in-law… If I spoke about Islamic violence I would also have to speak about Catholic violence …. Terrorism is everywhere…Terrorism increases whenever there is no other option, when the global economy is centred on the god of money and not the human person, men and women. This is already a first form of terrorism. You’ve driven out the marvel of creation, man and woman, and put money in their place. This is a basic act of terrorism against all humanity. We should think about it.”

It is certainly an inventive argument — that “terrorism increases whenever there is no other option” — but it builds (dare I say it) on a desperate, bottom-dragging morality.

WIDENING DIPLOMATIC HORIZONS FOR ISRAEL

***The History of the State of Israel: A Brief Version.

In this essay,Paul’s updates Israel’s options in the Middle east in light of recent geopolitical developments. We present this essay reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work.

In May of 1948 the newly-proclaimed State of Israel was forced to defend its right to life as its neighbours, the five Arab nations of that time, assisted by volunteer legions from around the Muslim world, invaded it with the purpose of strangling it in its cradle.

With the exception of Egypt, the Arab nations of that day were not significantly older than Israel was. They had come into the world in consequence of the withdrawal of Britain and France from the responsibilities of imperialism. Egypt had of course been around for a very long time; but the last King of Egypt (does anyone here remember King Farouk?) lost the last few shreds of his dignity when his armed forces failed to crush the Jewish state and he was quickly overthrown (1952.) As for the other Arab nations, the Kingdoms of Iraq, Jordan and Syria,  all had been in effect colonies of either Britain or France until granted independence:  Iraq in 1932, Syria in 1945, Jordan (then Transjordan) and Lebanon in 1946.

ISRAEL’S CAUSE IS THE CAUSE OF CIVILIZATION

Viewing the history of Israel, Paul notes the contrast between the idealism that created the state and the widespread antisemitism that imbues western academia, the MSM and the UN. We present this essay reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work.

The Creation of the Modern State of Israel.

Israel was a brand plucked by the United Nation General Assembly from the wreckage left behind by Europe’s second failed suicide. CF

The decision to Partition the Palestine Mandate, carried by a two-thirds majority of the members of the United Nations General Assembly (November 29, 1947), was in fact the first matter of substantial geopolitical significance made by the brand new organization that called itself “The Parliament of Mankind.”Realistically speaking it was made possible because a commanding portion of the leadership of the United Nations was held, in those earliest days, by nations of the West, most of them democracies, and the most important of these ribs-out-of the side of the British Empire.

THE ERADICATION OF WESTERN CIV AND THE TRIUMPH OF MINDFULNESS.

Paul discusses the dumbing down of university arts curricula and the eradication of Christian values. We present this essay reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work.

How Mindfulness  Replaced Christian Faith.

Up until about sixty years ago, all Universities in our part of the world regarded themselves as the ultimate custodians of the best parts of our intellectual tradition. Another way of saying the same thing was that they embodied Western Civilization. 

One way in  which most of them discharged their responsibility (or so they thought) was to impose a required core curriculum, in which a fixed component was the course in History of Western Civilization.

AUTONOMOUS ASSYRIA: The Only Possible Solution to the Arab World’s Terminal Disorder.

WHY THE MIDDLE EAST IS FLYING APART

In this essay Paul returns to the topic of the Middle east. We present this essay reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work.

Who can doubt that the entire Middle East is getting closer every day to the brink of chaos?

The Syrian Arab Republic. .

Inevitably, some parts of the Middle East are closer to that day than others. But to get some sense of how rapidly things move from apathy to chaos in that region, we recall that when, back in December 2010, the presenters on global television news-shows discovered  the arrival of the Arab Spring,  all the experts to whom they turned agreed that the most secure regime in the region was that of the Bashir al-Assad in Syria. American governments going back at least to Nixon and including the current Obama government had publicly declared their confidence that the Assad regime was making a deliberate and cautious transition to democracy – very soon. Even as the first signs of “Spring” were appearing in Damascus, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a statement of March 27, 2011, expressed agreement with “many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months [and] have said they believe he[Bashir al-Assad] is a reformer.” (“The Impending Implosion of Syria,” August 12, 2012.)

WHERE DID AMERICAN POLITICS GO BAD?

Moving away from the geopolitics of the Middle east, Paul, in this essay, outlines the American electoral process. The key to understanding the nature of any democracy lies not in how voting is conducted so much as how candidates are chosen. We present this essay reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work.

***A Brief and Inadequate History of the Primaries.

Throughout most of my adult years I earned my bread teaching the History of the United States — in California for four years (1964-1968) and thereafter in Ottawa at Carleton University. I have always prided myself on my knowledge of the American political system — how it works now and how it worked in the past. But now there has come a moment of panic-fear that I never understood it at all. Perhaps it serves me right. 

THE IMMINENT GENOCIDE OF THE CHRISTIAN PEOPLE OF THE ARAB WORLD

In this essay Paul documents the current program of genocide practiced by Islamic authorities in the Middle East. We present this essay reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work.

The Birthplace of Christianity. 

For perhaps a decade or two following the Ascension of Jesus Christ, all of the people who accepted the Christian message were Jews – most of them living in Jerusalem. But then missions, headed originally by surviving apostles, went out beyond Judea and Samaria and sought converts among the many neighboring kingdoms that were, like the Jews of Judea,  subject to Roman rule. Among the first of these Kingdoms to accept Christian faith as its national faith was Armenia — a prosperous Kingdom in part of what is today Turkey. Nearly six centuries later, Islam came into the world. 

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