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Friday, February 24, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Different Ways to Die in the Dark

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Islamophobia is the hot topic of the day. Once again Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is breaking new legal ground. Motion-103, introduced by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, is allegedly intended to combat religious discrimination, often referred to in the media as Islamophobia.

Its detractors claim Motion-103 would make for bad law: too broad, too specifically focused on Islam rather than religious discrimination generally, too confused between racism and religious discrimination.

Tom: First of all, are we “phobic”, Immanuel Can?

Gettin’ Phobic With It

Immanuel Can: Well, a “phobia” is a very specific thing, isn’t it?

Tom: It surely is, but most people who talk about “Islamophobia” are not aware of the etymology of the word. Nor, I think, are they remotely interested in what it actually means. It’s purely being used as a pejorative, and to establish the Leftist/Islamic ideological frame. The idea is to portray those who object to the practices of Islam as fearful and suffering from a specific pathology, rather than as having intelligent, principled objections to a false theology and an established pattern of dyscivilizational conduct on the part of many of Islam’s adherents.

IC: Right. A “phobia” is specifically an irrational fear, and one that proceeds from mental illness … like arachnophobia (fear of spiders) or agoraphobia (fear of open places). Using this label implies there can be no rational critique of Islam, and all fears regarding it are deranged.

The Islamist propagandists learned their lesson well from the gay lobby (“homophobia”), as they did from the feminist lobby (“sexism”).

Tom: “Isms” and “phobias” are everywhere.

Orwell Was Right

IC: They adapted their language manipulation techniques from the Nazi propagandists, the Soviets and the post-war advertising industry. As Orwell also told us, if you can take control of the language, you can steal the posture of moral superiority and use it to cut off any fair debate. You can manipulate a “win” without even allowing the enemy a voice in protest. That’s what they’re seeking to do.

Tom: Without a doubt. So we’re better off to reject their frame. But we have to bear in mind that in Canada almost nobody is listening to the counter-arguments. Last I could see, Lauren Southern and Ezra Levant of Rebel Media have approximately 200,000 YouTube followers that can be counted on to show up when they say something that is not culturally Marxist or in accordance with current Canadian government policy. So the number of Canadians that will question the complete misappropriation of the English language is very small. We have to recognize that this is how anyone who objects to Sharia law, including Christians, is going to be labeled, like it or not.

So … are you afraid of Islam, IC? Do you quake in your boots? Are you triggered, and do you need to see someone about this problem?

Religions and Races

IC: I’m going to shift ground here, and reject that “frame”, to borrow your word.

Tom: Okay.

IC: I don’t want to focus on the idea of “races” (like Arabs, say).

Tom: Fair enough, because Islam is a religion, not a race, so nobody can be “racist” for rejecting Islam.

IC: I don’t even want to prevent people choosing to be Muslims, if they truly believe that’s what they have to do. After all, we each answer for our own actions and consciences before God. For years now, we have lived in a society wherein there are not only Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Catholics, but also atheists, agnostics, nihilists and folks who have no interest in any of that.

Tom: And secularists. Let’s not forget that religion.

IC: Yes, okay.  Now, while I would wish all men to be saved, just as the Lord does, and I would contend for them to be saved, I simply cannot force them to be saved.

Tom: Agreed.

Freedom of Conscience

IC: A person who does not freely choose to believe cannot be saved. Ultimately, God himself does not force men to be saved. So it’s just wrong to force people. Wrong, And self-defeating: for a man forced to convert is not really converted at all.

But this is also why I focus my critique on Sharia (Islamic politics). Sharia is what denies everybody else the right to live according to their consciences before God. I think it’s a common cause for everybody — that is, everybody but Sharia Muslims.

Tom: Correct. Here’s the problem as I see it: immigration of Muslims from wherever — the particular country doesn’t matter — is a problem not because Islam is yet another religion in a country that prides itself on granting freedom of religion to all, but because Islam is unique among those religions in that it comes complete with an embedded form of government that is inherently in conflict with democracy, and in a democratic country the confrontation between the will of Sharia-compliant Muslims and Canadians is absolutely inevitable.

IC: Yes, I think so.

Folly and Pride

Tom: Christianity doesn’t provide that same conflict of interests, no matter what the media may tell you. Christians may not like the way you’re running the country, but they are duty-bound to accept your rule in every area except those that directly confront Heaven. Sharia, on the other hand, is a ticking time bomb. This is where Prime Minister Trudeau is not only missing the boat, he’s not even aware there IS a boat.

IC: I’m afraid he’s afflicted with the disease of virtue-signaling. There are a lot of people who are so proud of preening themselves as “tolerant”, “open-minded”, “inclusive” and whatnot, that they would literally rather let Sharia Islam take over Canada than admit that there are some people in the world who believe intolerable things, who have no interest in open-mindedness themselves, and who are exclusive of everyone else’s right to disagree with them. But Sharia Muslims seem to know how to take advantage of the prideful folly of liberals in the West.

Tom: Yup. They’re doing an exceptional job of running their scam at the expense of Canadian taxpayers.

Micro and Macro

Let’s see if we can sum up what I think is a reasonable Christian perspective in the midst of this debacle:

On the Syrian refugees PM Trudeau loves to leverage for his photo-ops: If you put a family of Sharia-loving Muslim Syrians next door to me, as a Christian I have an obligation to love them, and I absolutely will. If you make them my neighbours, I will treat them as Jesus Christ instructed me. I will show them the love of God and preach the gospel to them as I have opportunity.

On how I will vote in the next Canadian federal election: I will absolutely and unequivocally vote AGAINST importing any more of them. Why? Because if my neighbours to the left are Justin’s “refugee” imports, my neighbours to the right have lived in Canada for three generations, and I have a moral obligation to them too. My obligation is to ensure that, insofar as is possible, I try to protect them and their unsuspecting children from an invasive ideology that will eventually plunge this country into civil war, or may well take it over.

Does that sound nuts to you? Or inconsistent?

IC: No. Here’s the thing: we need to hold the door open for the sharing of the gospel. As long as Sharia is not granted, that is possible. But let Sharia reign, and it’s seriously inhibited. If we approve the idea of allowing even just the Muslim immigrants to live under governmentally-approved Sharia, what we are really conceding is that we have no right to preach the gospel to Muslims. We are saying that Muslims are different — that they and they alone are to be denied any chance for salvation. And we are siding with the government in enforcing rules to make sure they never get such a chance. Now, how therefore can a Christian ever tolerate Sharia, even just as a cultural thing, and even just for Muslims? That’s wishing people to a lost eternity!

We should vote against ANY policy that inhibits the gospel. It has nothing to do with migrants per se, but it has everything to do with the right of every person to hear the gospel. And if any right is sacred, that right is sacred.

The Religion of Pieces

Tom: Absolutely. But I’m curious: What would you say to the very popular argument that militant, terrorist Islamists form only the tiniest percentage of the Muslim world? That Islam is (primarily, and for all practical purposes) a religion of peace, regardless of what a literal reading of the Koran would actually tell you.

IC: Well, of course not every individual Muslim is violent. That’s easy to show. But anybody who knows Islam at all knows that many are, and that it is not a religion of peace, but of pacification — meaning that it doesn’t matter one jot to Islamists if you submit willingly or by conquest, but you will BE submitted … by the sword if by no other means. Violence was both modeled and preached by Mohammed himself, and is enjoined in the Koran. As for how many Muslims are genuinely peaceful, this is a pretty good indicator.

What’s amazing to me is that there is no set of facts, and no evidence even of their own eyes that seemingly will convince Western liberals that this is so. They are just utterly uninterested in knowing the truth, probably because the truth doesn’t give them any chance to signal their virtue.

Incompatible Values

Tom: It’s not just liberals, IC: it’s conservatives and even Christians who cannot seem to get a handle on what we are being confronted with. The fact is that some religious values and cultures are simply incompatible. A culture that celebrates homosexual unions, transgenderism and feminism cannot indefinitely and peacefully coexist with one that values the polar opposite — and is ready and willing to fight about it.

IC: Well, that’s true, of course: Lady Gaga is no closer to heaven than the Imams. Islam and hedonism are just two different ways to die in the dark. But there is one advantage of the latter over Sharia: it’s not as restrictive. The gospel can still go forth unimpeded by force, and so far, nobody’s throats are being slit by the hedonists. That’s something.

Tom: So it’s really irrelevant how many Muslims are peaceful and how many are inclined to violence. In a democracy, a sufficient number of peaceful Muslims having children, voting in Canadian elections and spreading Sharia into the non-Muslim population will eventually accomplish the same thing as a small number of violent Muslims. So the question for Canadians as they set about protecting Muslims from nonexistent “Islamophobia” is really what kind of a society do you want to live in twenty years from now when the demographics no longer favor the secularists — or the hedonists, for that matter? And if you don’t think that’s possible, check out Justin Trudeau’s long-term immigration plans.

Pick Your Poison

It’s sort of a pick-your-poison thing for us, isn’t it? Which sort of anti-Christian society would you prefer, IC?

IC: Well, if you look historically, you’ll see that the current permissive values of the West are actually Christian values distorted. So, for example, liberal brainless “tolerance” today is actually a distortion based on the Christian idea of the primacy of human conscience. Or liberal “openness” is simply the virtue of intellectual humility, the willingness to admit you are sometimes wrong, taken to a relativistic extreme that says you can’t ever be right. 

Our society may be foul, but it still doesn’t quite feel comfortable with itself in that state. I think its conscience is badly seared, but not so entirely seared that it cannot still occasionally sense it is sinful ... at least from time to time. So I would rather have the society that has at least the wretched, tattered remnants of a Christian conscience in it, rather than the one that advocates oppression and violence without any compunction. I think the former is more likely to leave space for the gospel — and isn’t that our only hope between the foulness and the fatwa?

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