Daily Archives: September 19, 2016

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.

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