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Saturday, March 07, 2015

The Emptiness of the West

In a post entitled “ISIS and the Missing Christ”, Andrew Klavan points out that in the post-post-Christian western world, there’s no “there” here:
“As much as I believe in capitalism as a method of economic development, a capitalist life is empty without spiritual content. Indeed, as much as I believe in individual freedom as the only worthwhile goal of any political system, individual freedom too is empty without spiritual content.

It is in that emptiness that militant Islam grows like the cancer it is.”
Pundits outside Christian circles have also noted the bankruptcy of a system that touts tolerance as its chief value (and a very arbitrary and inconsistently-applied tolerance to boot). Jonah Goldberg refers to the gaping hole in our society’s heart as a lack of “civilizational confidence”. Mark Steyn talks about “cultural confidence”: Islam has it, the Anglosphere does not.

The Problem is Spiritual

But the root cause, Klavan says, is not merely civilizational or cultural. It is spiritual, and comes directly out of an absence of certainty about truths that at one time at least merited lip service, and may even have been more generally believed:
“Whenever I hear someone announce that “All religions are a path to God!” I wonder how it would work if you applied such “tolerance” to, say, medicine or science. “All medicines are a path to health! You take antibiotics, I cut the head off a chicken and dance under the full moon, really what’s the difference as long as we both believe it will make us well?” Or “All science is a path to progress! You invent an iPhone, I invent a weaponized disease, it’s all science, man, it’s all great!”

When you put it this way, it becomes clear that the idea that all religions are equally worthwhile is essentially an atheist creed. To say All religions are a path to God is really saying, No religion is a path to God.”

Missing Schoolgirls

Three missing schoolgirls from Bethnal Green Academy in London who flew to Istanbul in the hope of joining ISIS were, as of last week, believed to have crossed into Syria. Family and friends are left baffled at what drew them there. The families are presumably comfortable in the UK, and find no appeal in the murderous internet violence of the Islamic State.

But an increasing number, especially among the young, are attracted to conviction, even conviction expressed in bloody excesses.

I don’t know the girls and it appears even those who thought they knew them … didn’t. But it may be that in their naivety, like so many others, they want to be part of something that “matters”.

In that department, western civilization can’t compete.

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