Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"That's our dragon! He'll protect us from other dragons!"

Hannu's and Pasi's recent comments on my blog made me think:

It is fairly common nowadays among the anti-jihad bloggers, both religious and secular, to partially blame the current problems with islamism on secularism, and to believe that a new rise of Christianity would help us against it. (The issue of other religions is usually best left unmentioned in this context.)

That seems somehow very wrong to me. Usually I prefer not to write about the issue, because I have a very strong prejudice against religion and am aware of it. But OTOH a lot of people are quite prejudiced one way or another, and most of what can be said about this, especially with regard to the future, is just guesswork.

The question is not whether or not Christianity is nicer than Islam. It is rather self-evident that it is. It's not whether or not it has always been nicer than Islam, either. The problem with such thinking is that the current versions of Western Christianity are obviously insufficient to keep the unwanted influences of any other religion out, and the versions that were in force during the times of Charles Martel or Isabel la Católica are unacceptable to us. (OK, to me, anyway - it might be acceptable to you, but that just means that we want very different things.) I am not convinced that there is any usable version of kinder, gentler but tougher Christianity between the two.

The other problem is that I, sorry, just don't trust the fuckers. (Not the Jewish ones either.) There is a lot of perfectly nice members of clergy, but in general I don't trust clergy as potential defenders of religious freedoms. Think about all the Islamic trouble is the last few years, starting with the blasphemous cartoons. Some of the clerical voices rose in defense of the secular society and the freedom of speech, but there was just too many of "respect for religion? yes, yes, please, us too!".

When the Archmoron of Canterbury called for use of Sharia in the UK, there was a lot of angry voices reminding him that he is, basically, arguing for empowering imams and disempowering, for example, 18-year-old Pakistani girls brought into the country for marriage with some relative. I wonder whether he envisions a similar power for himself, and whether the natural next step after Halakha and Sharia courts would be the courts where Christian clergy could decide on the affairs of Christians in a Christian way, whatever that is.

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