A few months ago I finished reading ‘The Great Heresies’ by Hilaire Belloc. Belloc was both a contemporary and friend of G.K. Chesterton who I have long admired and I can’t believe I was until recently unfamiliar with him. I’ve since bought another of his books and I imagine I’ll be working through them fairly quickly over the next few years. Despite admiring Chesterton, I’ve only read two of his books as of writing along with an autobiography and his classic, ‘Orthodoxy’ deserves a re-read.
‘The Great Heresies’ details five heresies in Christian history beginning with Arianism, Albigensians, Protestantism and Modernism. The fifth heresy not mentioned comes after Arianism and is discussed in the chapter headed ‘The Great and Enduring Heresy of Mohammed’. I was introduced to this book while reading a series of blog posts by Edward Feser and reading this very interesting article on Islam written in 2004 but still well worth reading. I spent a lot of time copying quotes throughout the book which I may use in other posts but I want to draw specific reference to some of his observations on Islam.
Something I have noticed about Islam is that it’s most ardent defenders (who aren’t themselves Muslims) don’t actually know anything about it. Not only do they not know anything about it, they seem not to want to know. Not Islam’s history, not it’s practices or actual beliefs. Nothing about the life of Mohammed himself. I know this in part because I used to be like this. During University where I found my own beliefs constantly under attack I found myself sympathetic to the attacks on Islam and Muslims and wanted to defend them too. I did so after doing no more than a brief reading of the Koran and without really familiarising myself with the beliefs and practices of the religion. Consider then that what I did is almost certainly more than most people who metaphorically cover their ears at any criticism or prejudice towards Islam.
I eventually realised I had been greatly mistaken only after losing my own faith (now restorerd) and soon seeing just how different Islam was to Christianity in belief and practice. What had never occurred though and what wouldn’t have seemed reasonable until recently was that Islam was actually a perversion of Christianity that denied Christ and simplified the tenets and practice. This post isn’t really intended to discuss this though and the Commentary article I linked to above is the best place to start for those interested. What I want to show are some of the prescient observations made by Belloc when the book was published back in 1938.
Until the World Trade Center attack on September 11th, 2001, most people knew little to nothing of Islam. It was a religion largely confined to and associated with the impoverished, dysfunctional and violent Middle East. Almost fifteen years later, the Middle East is if anything more impoverished, dysfunctional and violent. It is very easy to dismiss the religion which was birthed in and conquered this region as nonthreatening to the outwardly powerful, techinically advanced and peaceful western societies.
Those who know better realise that while outwardly weak, Muslims are spiritually strong and the lands where Christianity continues to die are spiritually weak. At the time Belloc was writing, Europe and most Western countries were still strongly bound by Christianity and the vast majority of the people were believers. It was at the eve of perhaps the most ruinous and costly war in human history which most European countries and certainly the United States would still come out of much stronger than was so for countries bound by Islam.
Belloc didn’t underestimate the enemy:
Millions of modern people of the white civilization—that is, the civilization of Europe and America—have forgotten all about Islam. They have never come in contact with it. They take for granted that it is decaying, and that, anyway, it is just a foreign religion which will not concern them. It is, as a fact, the most formidable and persistent enemy which our civilization has had, and may at any moment become as large a menace in the future as it has been in the past.
And here is something I am finding myself reminding people more and more:
Less than 100 years before the American War of Independence a Mohammedan army was threatening to overrun and destroy Christian civilization, and would have done so if the Catholic King of Poland had not destroyed that army outside Vienna.
The West is spiritually weak and Belloc thought as much even prior to World War II:
Cultures spring from religions; ultimately the vital force which maintains any culture is its philosophy, its attitude toward the universe; the decay of a religion involves the decay of the culture corresponding to it—we see that most clearly in the breakdown of Christendom today.
Or as Tom Kratman put it:
Even so, never go to a gunfight without a gun and, if you intend to win, never go to a religious war without religion. You’ll lose.
It seems at least to me that people are starting to wake up to this. I pray that enough do before it is too late. It is easy to focus on the cultural Marxists wrecking our society who are doing so in part, by actively encouraging and facilitating Muslim immigration. The higher ups expect they can control them and the useful idiots are like I did, live in blissful and often deliberate ignorance of the nature of Islam. Without Christ, we are sure to lose. Hilaire Belloc knew this even when Christendom was still spiritually and corporeally powerful.