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Conservative confusion of Western civilization, vs Islam

July 20th, 2009 · 2 Comments

History, and histories, of Islam
The problem with many of these critics of Islam, such as Spencer, mentioned in one of the comments, is that they drift into a right-wing perspective and then become proponents of ‘Western Civilization’ (whatever that is) and defenders of Christian traditionalism and religion against Islam, the status of secularism remaining confused.
The issue in criticizing Islam is not the Western tradition or some debate between Christianity and Islam.
The issue is the emergence of a new secular modernity, potentially global, in a ‘European context or matrix’, proceeding swiftly toward a transcultural context or matrix’. The emergence of modern freedoms is the great moment of this modern transition.
Muslims give themselves away as lacking in historical comprehension in their rejection of this aspect of modernity.
For Europeans bemused by a spurious latecomer consisting of postmodern multiculturalism and the rest of it to throw away their emergent heritage for an Islamic restoration of reactionary premodern culture is almost beyond belief, incomprehensible.
It is the emergence of modern secular culture in a Western source area, not Western Civilization, that is important. The reflexive focus on the West confuses the whole critique of the retrograde Islam, now most tragically threatening to overtake Europe.
Conservatives making a fetish out of the ‘West’ and Christianity are part of the problem and are inhibiting secular liberals from taking up the critique of Islam. Here the radical left with its idiotic alliance with Islamic culture has missed the point and is threatening to precipitate still another cultural tragedy, sharia in Holland. That is simply beyond belief. And no part of the legacy of Karl Marx, for crying out loud.
I recommend a careful look and study of the eonic effect to see the way in which emergent civilization transcends its source areas, and the dilemma that Muslims must face, with respect to the relatively weak basis for a world culture in Islam.
I don’t wish to be unfair to Islam, whose study I find of great interest, and in fact it is not unfair. Islam has exactly the potential that emerged with Protestantism from Catholicism to be a secular religious matrix in the context of modernization. In fact, it might be too fair to hope for such an outcome in what seems a religious culture stuck in the past. The same was said of Catholicism (now a variant of Protestantism).
Westerners, so-called, need to grasp the reality of their situation, which cannot be Christian culture vs Islamic culture. It can only be globalizing secular culture, born in the ‘west’, but rapidly globalizing on the way to a new oikoumene of secular entities.

For Europe to succumb to a retrograde phase of Islamic restoration is a recipe for total catastrophe, and it is irresponsible for any secularist to contemplate such an outcome. The radical left now abetting such an eventuality is in the midst of still another screw up, in the long list of many since the nineteenth century.

The eonic effect is a good guide to the larger dynamics of religions in world history.
Islam and Christianity/Judaism, for all their claims to spiritual foundations are in fact medieval distortions in all cases. The true moment in the Axial Age of the Greek, Israelite, Indic, Sinic (et al) intervals of transformation are lost to us now, and none of the world religions that find their sources in that era have any real connection to those periods, least wise any claim of ‘revelation’.
We should note that Axial Age Greece gave birth to secularism, and much else, and the modern transformation echoes much of that.

Thus the rise of modern secularism has a far better claim for a spiritual foundation than the medieval distortions of Christianity and Islam. Strange to say, but the facts of history in the large show the reality.

We tend to think of ‘Western Civilization’ in terms of Judaic, and Greek, sources, but that isn’t European! So why the exclusive focus on Europe. It is confusing the issue.

Look at the facts of the case with Islam: it is a most remarkable cultural matrix, but its basis is not adequate for a future global culture. This reality has to be faced, as the sentimental distortions of culture and history are set aside for a more realistic appraisal of Islamic history in light of the facts.
Christians and Moslems are full of themselves as they flaunt some special relationship to the sacred or to god. Such claims are without merit and are blinding millions to their real needs.
One of the problems is that secularism is misunderstood by its proponents, as scientism, darwinism, atheism, and a host of lesser episodes of modernity rise to claim the whole. The real significance of the secular has yet to manifest itself, and remains a project of the future.

Tags: globalization · History · Islam · secularism · The Axial Age · The Eonic Effect

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 James // Jul 20, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    ” Islam has exactly the potential that emerged with Protestantism from Catholicism to be a secular religious matrix in the context of modernization. In fact, it might be too fair to hope for such an outcome in what seems a religious culture stuck in the past.”

    Actually, I hope the Islamic world doesn’t have to go through what Europe had to go through to overthrow its theocracy. Who wants to see a Thirty Years War carried out with modern weapons?

  • 2 Darwiniana » Islam, Protestantism, and secularism // Jul 20, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    […] Comment on Conservative Confusion of Western Civilization…. James said, July 20, 2009 at 5:53 pm · ” Islam has exactly the potential that emerged with Protestantism from Catholicism to be a secular religious matrix in the context of modernization. In fact, it might be too fair to hope for such an outcome in what seems a religious culture stuck in the past.” […]

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