By Tim Heydon.
The Contribution of Islam to Western Civilisation has been ‘Huge?’
Richard Dawkins, the monomaniacal Atheist, has as is usually the case, got himself into hot water with and described as a ‘bigot’ by the usual suspects for stating an obvious truth about Islam, in this case that Islam has contributed virtually nothing of importance to Scientific endeavour in seven centuries. As has already been pointed out, when Dawkins or others of his ilk and those who wish to traduce Western Civilisation disparage Christianity, there is no such outrage.
It is one of the more comical aspects of the ignorance of Dawkins and those like him about Christianity that without the latter, the modern science and ‘progress’ they treat like a substitute religion would not exist. Indeed, without Christianity modernity, indeed Western Civilisation itself, would not exist.
Dawkins’ ‘crime’ in the eyes of the Cultural Marxist Establishment is that he is even handed in his campaign against religion. That Establishment however, whilst itself on the whole anti-religion, is profoundly biased against Christianity because it has indeed shaped the West. At the same time, it tries to deny that it has done so. The so –called ‘Enlightenment’, they say, is what defines the West. Anti-Christian, anti- West bias manifests itself in the routine denigration of the achievements of the Christian West. It smears its role in history whilst talking up those of Islam. For example, the Crusades are routinely depicted as pure Christian / Western aggression, whilst the fact that they followed three centuries of aggressive Islamic expansionism across previously Christian lands is not mentioned.
This article explores the actual contributions of Islam to Western Civilisation and so to the world and throws the failure of Islam into relief by contrasting it with the glittering achievement of Christianity and the West.
Charles Murray and Human Accomplishment
What has the contribution of Islam to Science and to the modern world in general actually been?
In his book, ‘Human Accomplishment’ Charles Murray, co-author of ‘The Bell Curve,’ has identified those individuals in history who have been engaged in ‘the pursuit of excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 BC to 1950’ and have contributed the most, not just to Western Civilisation but to the World.
Murray’s Empirical Approach
In order to do this, Murray adopts the refreshingly direct, empirical methods of a political scientist which minimise the tendencies to bias or undue emphasis evident in other approaches. He bases his assessment of human accomplishment on those individuals who have appeared in major reference books and studies, world –wide. These works can be used, first, to identify those people who are worthy of study, and second, to calibrate their eminence. Murray does not include every single individual who is mentioned in all the reference books. That would include the merely excellent as opposed to the indispensable. He has a cut-off point of 50%: anyone who is mentioned in at least 50% of his qualified sources is designated a significant figure, and enters his samples for analysis.
Significant Figures in the Major Branches of Learning
Murray deals with such matters as whether importance equals excellence in scientific accomplishment and the question of taste in the judgement of excellence in Art. He heads off, in persuasive fashion, the anticipated accusations of various ‘isms’; ‘ Eurocentrism,’ ‘Sexism,’ ‘Racism’ ‘Chauvinism’ and ‘Elitism,’ by, for example, pointing out that Japanese studies give much the same results as his own. The result of all this is a series of lists, graphs ands bar-charts depicting the most influential figures in the various major branches of learning:-
Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Physics, Mathematics, Medicine, Technology, Combined Sciences, Chinese Philosophy, Indian Philosophy, Western Philosophy, Western Music, Chinese Painting, Japanese Art, Western Art, Arabic Literature, Chinese Literature, Indian Literature, Japanese Literature, Western Literature.
Murray lists 4002 significant figures in these lists, that is, individuals of whatever ethnicity/cultural background who are significant in world terms. Of these, just 568 or 14% are not Western, and 82, or a tiny 2% are Arabic/Moslem.
Significant Events in the History of Science
Murray also presents a list of significant events in the history of science since about 500 BC by combining events in nine chronologies such as that by Bernard Grun, ‘The Timetables of History.’ In astronomy there are 57 such events. Only one, the Chinese description of sunspots in 165 BC, is not Western. There are two significant events ascribed to the Arabs / Islam in Chemistry among the 70 listed; Jabir ibn Hayyan’s preparation of acetic acid in AD 750, and the first production of concentrated alcohol by the distillation of wine in AD 900. There is no Arab / Moslem or non-Western contribution to the 47 significant events in the Earth Sciences, none in the 147 of Physics, none in the 64 of biology and none in the 68 of medicine.
Who did What?
In mathematics, of the 102 central events, three are connected to Persia but are not necessarily Islamic. For example, Omar Khyayyam who was the first to solve some cubic equations, was hostile to Islam. Taking into account Chinese and Indian contributions, only six central events in total are not Western. The Chinese figure in the early history of technology: they are responsible for 9 of the 119 central events. The rest, apart from the first known use of glass blowing in the Levant in 245 BC and of parchment in Asia Minor in 200 BC are Western.
European White Males : Responsible for the Overwhelming Majority of Human Accomplishments in the Arts, Literature, Sciences and Technology
Murray points out that whether measured in terms of people or events, 97% of accomplishment in the scientific inventories occurred in Europe and North America. Speaking as an American, and delivering an uppercut to militant feminism – and others who for ideological reasons prefer to talk down their achievements, Murray comes to the conclusion that ‘not only does Europe dominate the narrative of human accomplishment, so does the minority that has become known in recent years as ‘white males.’’ So we can conclude from Murray’s analysis that the influence of Islam on Western culture has not been significant, while the influence of the West on the world has been overwhelming.
Islam’s Contribution is more than the Sum of its Parts?
But, (it will be argued by Cultural Marxists and other progressives of every stamp in the cultural and political elites, led by the anti-British, anti West BBC, Murray’s approach only describes the influence of Islamic individuals up to the recent past. It does not describe how Islam has collectively influenced the West in history as a religion and a culture. Wasn’t there a time (it will be said), when Islam, flushed with the confidence and conquest of the new faith, went through a period known as its ‘Golden Age’, when the aggregate of individual contributions (even if separately these were in Murray’s terms merely excellent rather than significant) together and because of the circumstances – the so-called European ‘Dark Ages,’ were indeed of the highest significance to the development of the West?
The Islamic Golden Age …….
Well, there was a period when civilisation in Islamic lands flourished, and It should be acknowledged that the West does owe something to Islam for helping to pass on Greek learning and for adding to it. But this contribution has been greatly overvalued . The recent scholarship of the French medievalist Sylvain Gouguenheim ( “Aristote au Mont Saint-Michel: Les racines grecques de l’Europe Chrétienne” (2008) comprehensively demolishes the idea that the ‘Dark Ages’ were devoid of Greek learning and that what li acquired it owed to Islam. Gougenheim shows that Greek authors were translated directly into Latin for the benefit of later Western thinkers like Aquinas by a monk in the St Michel monastery 50 years before Arab versions appeared in Spain.
Murray however is generous. He writes, ‘For a few centuries at the turn of the first millennium Islam presided over a burst of exuberant scientific and philosophical enquiry. It began with the translation of the Greek and Roman manuscripts which had lain forgotten for centuries. It then went beyond translation, producing a large body of original work in mathematics, chemistry, astronomy, optics and philosophy, among other fields.’
……….….Was not so Golden
The Islamic ‘Golden Age,’ says Serge Trifkovic, a scholar who is hostile to Islam (The Sword of the Prophet’) was ‘golden’ only on its own terms.’ that is, in comparison with the rest of Islamic history. But ‘no self-respecting Western Islamophile would ever admit to this.’ Trifkovic goes on, ‘Whatever flourished, it was not by reason of Islam, it was in spite of Islam… In Islam’s Golden Age’ there was a lot of speculation and very little application; and for a thousand years, even speculation has stopped.’ While ‘a number of medieval thinkers and scientists living under Islamic rule, by no means all of them Muslims either nominally or substantially,…contributed in making Aristotle known to the Christian Europe …they merely transmitted what they had received from Christian sources and moreover the Aristotle who finally gained recognition in Christian Europe was not the Arabian Aristotle but the Greek Aristotle, who came to Western Europe by way of Constantinople, largely by Byzantine Greeks fleeing the (Muslim) Ottoman onslaught.’
The Views of a New Labour ex- Minister
Further, in their book ‘The Suicide of the West’, Richard Koch and Chris Smith (the erstwhile New Labour Culture Minister), whilst acknowledging the beauty of Islamic cities like Granada with the exquisite courts, pools and paradisical gardens of the Alhambra and their roles as centres of learning, quote the ‘devout’ scholar Caesar E Farah, ‘ The early Muslim thinkers took up philosophy where the Greeks left off..in Aristotle the Muslim thinkers found the great guide..Muslim philosophy .. in subsequent centuries merely chose to continue in this vein rather than to innovate.’
Philippe Nemo and ‘What is the West?’
And Philippe Nemo, Professor of Philosophy and the History of Ideas at the ESCP-EAP European School of Management and a leader in this field tells us (‘What is the West?’) that the West’s debt to Islam is not great, at least with regard to values. He writes that, ‘Undeniably, Islamic philosophy received stimulating nourishment from Greek philosophy, but its interest was more for metaphysics and mysticism, neither of which in my view played a very important part in the shaping of modern Western values.’
The Dark Ages were not so Dark after all. The unmatched Glory of the Book of Kells.
Nor were the Dark Ages from which Islam is claimed to have rescued the West as dark as they have been painted. In his ‘Civilisation’ TV series, Lord Clarke pointed out that there is nothing in Islamic Art to compare with the glories of illustration and adornment in the Irish ‘Book of Kells’ (c. 800 AD). Rodney
Rodney Stark, at the time Professor of Social Sciences and Comparative Religion at the University of Washington, pointed out (‘For the Glory of God’) that while Europe’s leading scholars were not well versed in Plato and Aristotle, they were not barbarians.
Christian Europe rejected Slavery. Islam embraced it
He tells us that for example, during the ‘Dark Ages’, Europeans rejected Slavery, which in the circumstances of the time meant universally. Feudal Serfs were not slaves: they had rights and we have records of their being asserted against the Lords. This could not occur to Islam, since Mohammed, the ‘perfect man’ and model for Moslems himself captured, owned, bought and sold, slaves.
The ‘Dark Ages’ – A Great Era of Invention
‘Machinery was developed and put into use on a scale no civilisation has previously known’, says Stark . One such invention was the proper harnessing of horses where a rigid, well-padded collar puts the weight on a horse’s shoulders rather than the neck, enabling a horse to pull as much as an ox and twice as fast, greatly increasing productivity. The harnessing of horses in teams enabled them to pull great loads.
Inventive Europeans also improved the Inventions of Others
‘Dark Age’ Europeans also developed iron shoes for horses, effective watermills, camshafts, mechanical clocks, the compass and so on . Many of these were original inventions, but what was remarkable was the way in which Europeans realised the full potential of inventions even when they were imported. Gunpowder, for example, first seen in Europe in 1300 or so was Chinese, but where the Chinese for a long period used it for only fireworks and as an incendiary, the Europeans immediately saw its application in gunnery. By 1325 guns existed all over Europe. Another example is the compass, invented simultaneously in China and Europe. Where the Chinese merely floated a magnetic needle on fluid, and used it mainly for purposes of magic, the Europeans added a card and sight which enabled them not only to identify North, but their precise heading. This, along with numerous other innovations such as the rear-mounted ship’s rudder, greatly assisted the great European era of sea-borne discoveries.
European Inventiveness saved us from Islam
European inventiveness saved Europe from Islam in the end. In 732, Charles Martel led a Frankish army in the battle of Tours (or Poitiers) which decisively defeated the Moslem Saracens. His army was better armed and armoured than any the Greeks or Romans had fielded. The lightly armed Saracens could only dent the chain-mailed Frankish infantry square and were put to the rout with ‘the first ever appearance on a major battlefield of knights in full armour’ made the more formidable with stirrups, and the Norman saddle with its very high pommel and curved cantle. These inventions enabled the knight to brace against the shock when his lance struck home and to withstand it.
The Islamic ‘Golden Age’ withered because of the West?…..
Why did the intellectual activity of the Islamic ‘Golden age’ wither? The knee-jerk reaction of the BBC and the rest of the political class who are extremely embarrassed by the overwhelming success and influence of the West because it denies their fatuous, nihilistic ideas of ‘equality,’ is, yes, to blame the West. Ignoring the fact that following the example of Mohammed, Islam expanded from the first by aggression and conquest, the glorious Islamic civilisation was, they say, brought to decline by the oppression of the West whose aggressiveness stultified it. But this idea, like much else in leftist thought, is pure ignorant, biased fantasy.
……No, because it was not Islamic
While explanations for the decline of Arts and Learning in Islam differ, the core of them is the faith itself. Like Christianity, Islam had access to Greek learning, but it was unable because of its nature to make full use of it in the way the West did. The Turkish Historian Aydin Sayili (The Causes of the Decline in Scientific Work in Islam) says that Islam was unable to reconcile itself with the Greek philosophical heritage in the way that Christianity achieved.
Islam looked upon that heritage with suspicion from the beginning. Robert Spencer (Islam Unveiled) acknowledges the debt of the West to the philosophers Averroes, Avicenna and others, but remarks that Avicenna’s views according to the Historian of Philosophy Wilhelm Windelband, were ‘regarded with jealous eyes by Mohammedan orthodoxy and the scientific movement experienced such violent persecutions in the tenth century that it took refuge in the secret league of ‘Pure Brothers’’. Avicenna himself was also persecuted.
Death for those who cast doubt on the Tenets of Mohammed’s Revelation
When the Islamic religious reaction set in, articulated by Al Gazali’s ‘Incoherence of the Philosophers’ in which he recommends death for those who argue against the tenets of Islamic theology, it was directed primarily against Greek philosophy, not science, but the linkage was strong, and science was dragged down as well. H. Floris Cohen says of Islamic science (The Scientific Revolution), ‘the root cause of (Islam’s) decline is to be found in the faith and in the ability of its orthodox upholders to stifle once-flowering science.’
To Islamic Scholar G E von Grunebaum (Islam: Essays in the Nature and Growth of a Cultural Tradition), Islam, unlike Christianity, was never able to accept that scientific research was a means of glorifying God. ‘Islamic’ achievements occurred in periods and in places where orthodox Islam was relaxed. The misgivings of the scientific elites that their researches were impious led them to acquiesce in Islamic objections. Again, Phillippe Nemo says that ‘ the scientific tradition never took firm hold on Islamic societies. The reason must be sought in religion and the strong grip it has on the muslim mind and muslim presentations of the world.’
Islamic Literalism Closed off Islam
Islam took the view of philosophy and science that it did because of the literalism demanded of its adherents. The Qur’an is claimed to be the literal word of God as dictated to Mohammed. The second verse of Surah 2 declares,
|2:2||‘This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah’.|
There could be no doubting the Qur’an. Everything worth knowing, it was, and is thought, is to be found in it. As noted above, the period of the flourishing of Islam occurred after a period of huge Islamic territorial gains which brought together learning from a wide variety of non-Islamic sources, including that of the Greeks. It also allowed or forced a temporary relaxation of Islamic attitudes. When this vast area ruled by Islam, stretching from the Atlantic to China began to consolidate to Islam, there was a reversion to the explicit dictates of the religion and the arts and learning withered. Thus, the so –called ‘Golden Age’ of Islam was the product, not of Islam, but of its absence. Islam’s only real contribution was its aggressive expansionism which has characterised it since Mohammed.
The absence of any significant Islamic contribution to the Civilisation of the West is underlined by the actual contribution of Christianity, without which indeed there would be no Western Civilisation, at least as we know it.
Unlike Allah in Islam, Jesus wrote nothing. His message as to who he was lies in the story of his life including his teachings and his ministry, not in anything he wrote.
The Christian Scriptures are not the writings of Jesus but an anthology of his remembered sayings and doings. St Paul was the first to state what this meant when he said, ‘For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesy is imperfect.’
So from the first, the church fathers were forced to mull over the implications of the Scriptures, as indeed the writers of the Gospels themselves had done, about who Jesus was in the light of his Resurrection.
Christianity’s First great Gift to Western Civilisation: Faith in Reason.
This led to a theology of inference and deduction – of Reason. ‘While the other world religions emphasised mystery, from the first, Christianity alone embraced reason and logic as the primary guide to religious truth. Christian faith in reason was influenced by Greek philosophy. But the more important fact is that Greek philosophy had little impact on Greek religions. These remained typical mystery cults. Similar assumptions concerning the fundamental inexplicability of the gods and the intellectual superiority of introspection dominated all the other world religions. But from early days, the church fathers taught that reason was the supreme gift from God and the means to progressively increase their understanding of scripture and revelation….. Encouraged by the Scholastics and embodied in the great medieval universities founded by the Church, faith in the power of reason infused Western culture..’
– Rodney Stark, ‘The Victory of Reason’
The Christian Belief in the Rationality of a Personal God and the Goodness of his Creation led to Modern Science in Europe
The Christian faith in reason, coupled with the natural abilities of the peoples of the West, has led to many intellectual undertakings, not least the rise of Science. ‘It is indisputable that modern science emerged in the seventeenth century in Western Europe and nowhere else ‘ – Edward Grant 1996:168.
Why was this?
‘My answer to this question is as brief as it is unoriginal: Christianity depicted God as a rational , responsive dependable and omnipotent being and the universe as his personal creation, thus having a rational, lawful and stable structure, awaiting human comprehension’. Stark, ‘For the Glory of God’ 2003:147.
Alfred North Whitehead, co-author with Bertrand Russell of Principia Mathematica said in a Harvard Lowell lecture in 1922 that shocked Western Intellectuals that the modern scientific method arose in Europe
‘because of the widespread faith in the possibility of science…..derivative from medieval theology….To search into Nature could only result in the vindication of the faith in rationality.’
Whitehead grasped that Christian theology was essential to the rise of modern science in the West, just as surely as non-Christian theologies had stifled the scientific quest elsewhere. As he explained,
‘The greatest contribution of medievalism to the formation of the scientific movement was the inexpugnable belief that… there is a secret, a secret which can be revealed. How has this conviction been so vividly implanted in the European mind? …it must come from the medieval insistence on the rationality of God, conceived as the personal energy of Jehovah and with the rationality of a Greek philosopher. Every detail was supervised and ordered: the search into nature could only result in the vindication of the faith in rationality.’
Further, Non- conformist Christian attitudes in Britain to manual labour as a noble calling from God in contrast to the disdain for it elsewhere by educated people greatly assisted the transformation of science into hands-on technology. Christian attitudes to money and to freedom provided the capital without which the Industrial Revolution would have been impossible.
Christianity’s Second Great Gift to Western Civilisation: The Assumption of Progress
After faith in reason, which Stark calls ‘the most significant feature of Western civilisation,’ a second great gift of Christianity to the West is its assumption of progress, which Stark says ‘may be the most critical difference between Christianity and all other Religions.
For Islam, the World is in Decline, not Progressing
With exception of Judaism and Christianity, all religions and systems of belief have held the world to be subject to eternally recurring cycles or to a state of sameness. The Greeks thought of the world as at a point in a cycle where it was in decline from a long ago Golden Age. Mohammed is reported to have said, ‘The best generation is my generation, then the one that follows that, then the ones that follow that.’
In contrast Judaism and Christianity conceived of history as culminating in the Millennium. However the Jewish idea of history stresses not progress, but procession, while the idea of progress is profoundly and uniquely manifest in Christianity. That we think of progress at all shows the extent of the influence of Christianity upon us.
Without the idea of progress, it is hard to see how it can be encouraged or perhaps even exist in any fundamental way beyond the outcomes of mere accident. Further, the Christian commitment to rationality made progress possible, and not only spiritual progress through an increasing knowledge of God either. St Augustine celebrated not only theological progress but earthly, material Progress too.
Christianity’s Third Great Gift: Individualism
A third great gift of Christianity to the West was the rise of individualism.
Individuals have of course, always thought about themselves and had their hopes, their fears and everything else that goes to make up an individual. What Christianity gave is the Western sense of individualism, based on the concept that an individual has free will to make choices, including moral choices.
Educated Greeks and Romans were not unfamiliar with the concept of free will but freedom of the will is uniquely fundamental to the Christian faith.
Yes, some Protestant sects accepted predestination – that God has foreordained what we do- but for the most part, in Christianity every person is responsible for his or her own soul. St Augustine stressed again and again that while God knows what we freely decide to do, he does not interfere. It is up to the individual freely to accept or reject Jesus’ injunction to ‘Go and sin no more.’
‘InshAllah’. The Christian idea of the Freedom of the Will is Incompatible with Islamic Fatalism
Freedom of the will is a concept which is incompatible with fatalism of the kind to be found in Islam, where everything, including whether or not an individual sins and is doomed to hell or to paradise, or is afflicted, is decreed by God in advance. This fatalism is a source of the dreadful inertia to be found in Islamic societies.
On the other hand, the Christian faith in progress through reason towards the better world of the Kingdom of God activated by love for one’s fellows as equally loved by God, underlies the uniquely Christian activism evident in the social and political spheres. This has been responsible for innumerable social and political advances now taken for granted. These include Western Democracy itself, based on respect for individuals and their freedom of conscience. It has been responsible for the fast disappearing particular flavour of social interaction in Britain and elsewhere in the West, where love of neighbour and forgiveness are ideals which have been prized, though often forgotten or ignored.
Allah is Loveless
Despite Qur’anic statements to the contrary, this book makes it clear that Allah is effectively loveless. There is little that is genuinely ‘compassionate’ or ‘merciful’ about Allah ‘the compassionate, the merciful’ as he is depicted in the Qur’an.
Summing up the development of Western Civilisation
Western Civilisation may be summarised making use of the scheme adopted by Philippe Nemo in his ‘What is the West ?, ie an evolutionary unfolding based on its key historical periods or elements:-
1) The ancient Greek invention of the Polis – the City as a sovereign political entity; liberty under the rule of law, critical enquiry, education. Islam of course could contribute nothing to this.
2) The Roman invention of law, private property, the individual, humanism. Again, Islam could contribute nothing to this.
3) The revolution of the Bible in ethics and its founding role in the idea of History and Progress. Islam’s contribution was of course again nil.
4) The achievement of the Middle Ages in synthesising Greece, Rome and Christianity. Scholars in areas ruled by Islam had a role, but not a unique or essential one, in transmitting Classical Learning to the West. While it developed some individual points of philosophical, scientific and mathematical advance it added very little that was fundamentally innovative. Further as has been shown, it was not Islam which was responsible for the ‘Golden Age’ in territories ruled by Islam, but its absence.
5) The great revolutions fostering liberal democracy which liberated the domains of science, politics and economics, allowing the West gradually to achieve the unrivalled development which gave birth to modernity. These achievements were of and belong to the West and to nobody else.
Islam has contributed nothing of Real Significance to the West except its Aggression
As we can see from the above, with one exception Islam has contributed little of real significance to the evolution of the West and therefore of the world.
That exception is the aggressive expansionism which is inherent in this Religion. Islam’s role as the perpetual aggressor and rival of the West has helped the West to define itself. Like other civilisations which are supposed to ‘enrich us’, Islam has otherwise contributed little of real importance because it had and has little to contribute that is worth having in the cause of human flourishing.
What we can learn from Islam
Is there anything at all that the West can learn from Islam? Yes, there is. While Islam is advancing on all fronts including in Europe, the heartland of its ancient rival and enemy, Western Civilisation is in plain decline. The lesson is that Islam’s focus on the spiritual gives it a determination not just to survive but to overcome and dominate – it believes in itself, notwithstanding its utter failure socially, politically, economically, intellectually and artistically.
Stripping the West of its spiritual Core
The West seems set to disappear as a civilisation, notwithstanding its incredible success. Essentially this is because it has lost faith in itself and this in turn is because it has lost faith in its Religion. The very success of Christianity in bringing material blessings to the West has at least for the foreseeable future encouraged a materialist attitude which has stripped it of its spiritual foundation. Western intellectuals who worship in the cult of equality are embarrasses by the success of the West and seek to deny and undermine it.
Secular Extreme Liberalism: Cancerous Cells
Now the great gifts of Christianity from which Christianity has been removed; Faith in Reason, the idea of Progress in History and Individualism, are called Liberalism. Unrestrained by religion and tradition, these are in the process of destroying Western Civilisation. It is disintegrating before our eyes like a once vital body whose organs are being eaten away by once healthy but now cancerous cells.
A Materialist Nightmare
Unrestrained Reason and Individualism in the service of ‘Progress’ are producing a materialist nightmare, denying people the sanctity and dignity of their humanness and their special dignity as being loved by God as his children.
This dehumanising is evidenced by for example in the drive for the legalising of euthanasia, by the way abortion on demand is encouraged; by the use of humans as raw material for the genetics industry and in the destruction of the communities and nations in which individuals feel rooted, comfortable and at home.
The Way to Totalitarianism
That way lies totalitarianism and human beings as expendable slaves of the state. Unfettered individualism has transmuted into deep self – centredness, helping to produce sordid amorality and social alienation whose moral and spiritual vacuity is ‘filled’ by a nauseating, showy, shallow sentimentalism which outsources real compassion to the state and to charities, and by guzzling consumption.
T S Eliot and what makes a Culture / Civilisation
The dazzling rise of the West under the influence of Christianity, and its decline as its grip has been loosened, points to a highly significant truth seen by T S Eliot (Notes Towards the Definition of a Culture), who linked a Culture (or Civilisation) with its religion. Eliot said, ‘No Culture can appear or develop except in relation to a religion… One cannot be preserved without the other’. For that reason, he added, secularism and ‘cosmopolitanism’ are doomed to failure.
Jurgen Habermas, the leftist guru, stunned an audience quite recently when he said;
‘Christianity and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights and democracy, the benchmark of Western Civilisation. To this day we have no other options. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is Post-Modern chatter’.
Let us pray that Islam is not our Future
There has never been an exclusively secular civilisation of any significance, not excluding Confucian China, since Confucianism is the working out in moral terms of ancestor worship. Nor can there be one worthy of the name. So what religion or spiritual course will the civilisation of Britain and the West be based on in the future?
Let us fervently hope (and pray) that, notwithstanding the deep stupidity, ignorance and treachery of our self-hating rulers and people like Dawkins, it is not as it promises to be, Islam.
(Tim Heydon is the holder of a First Degree in Humanities and Social Science, and Post – Graduate degrees in Religion / Philosophy and Theology).