This article first appeared in the Standard Bearer, for original source link click here
Mr. Kalsbeek is a teacher in Covenant Christian High School and a member of Hope Protestant Reformed Church, Walker, Michigan. Previous article in this series: September 1, 2006, p. 475.
"And the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment."
The West is dying!
At least that is Patrick J. Buchanan's assessment as presented in his book The Death of the West. Buchanan bases his case primarily on three factors. In the first place he demonstrates that the West is dying physically: while the world's population has doubled in the last forty years, reproduction among the European peoples is declining. As a result, according to Buchanan's calculations, over the next fifty years one hundred million people of European ancestry will vanish from the earth. Second, Buchanan believes the West is dying because of immigration. Europe is being inundated by an Islamic-Arab-African invasion, and the United States now harbors "a nation within a nation." His reference here is to the influx of a large Hispanic contingency that has no desire to assimilate into American society. Third, the West is dying morally because it is being de- Christianized. Christian values have been undermined, leading to the influence of a culture of death in American Society.¹
Buchanan's assessment is worthy of Issachar's consideration. Especially is this true when one considers the impact that this has had on the West's response to Islam and how as a consequence modern-day Issachar should respond to Islam.
The Consequences of Multiculturalism
The adoption of anti-Christian values by many in positions of influence in the West has had a significant impact on the West's reaction (or should we say, non-reaction) to Islam. In fact, as its affinity with Christianity is more and more rejected, its ability to confront Islam is more and more compromised. Amazingly, the increasingly secular West appears to be discovering that it is more closely aligned with Islam than with Christianity.
This becomes clear when one considers the "doctrine" of multiculturalism as it is preached in the West. Multiculturalism is the view that all cultures are morally equal. This presupposition is based on the relativistic belief that man is basically good, and that the good people in each society have discovered what is best for them. Multiculturalism promotes "... the idea that no one culture is better than any other, and no culture should enjoy the preferential support of public opinion or government. They oppose integration and assimilation of immigrants. Each immigrant group should keep its own identity."² Consequently, one must not pass moral judgment on any society or culture. Under this way of thinking, one may not pass moral judgment on Islam as compared, for example, to Christianity. Interestingly however, multiculturalism as preached by the Western media and on the Western college campuses is not an unbiased acceptance of all cultures as morally equivalent. Western culture is held by them to a higher standard: the standard of perfection. Thus the West's failures with regard to slavery, colonization, capitalism, etc. lead to the "politics of guilt" and the need for the West to atone for past "sins." As a result, the West is viewed as the cause of the problems that develop in the world, particularly those involving the West's conflict with Islam.
Consequently, while the West is taken to task for its past and present failures, Islam is accepted without question. In fact, Islam often is permitted to promote its ideas in the schools of the West (see Standard Bearer, Dec. 1, 2005 pp. 107-108). A most glaring example of this has been reported and evaluated inFree Inquiry as follows:
In December 2005, Georgetown and Harvard Universities accepted $20 million each from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal for programs in Islamic studies. Such money can only corrupt the original intent of all higher institutions of education, that is, the search for truth. Now, we shall only have "Islamic truth" that is acceptable to the royal Saudi family, a family that has financed terrorism, antiwesternism, and anti-Semitism for over thirty years. Previous donations from various Saudi sources have included gifts of $20 million, $5 million, and $2 million to the University of Arkansas, the University of California at Berkley, and Harvard, respectively.³
Strikingly, it takes a magazine devoted to secular humanism to identify this incongruity for what it is. Others have pointed out where this timidity to speak against Islam is leading the West. Gene Edward Veith pointedly exposes and chastises American educational institutions and media for their refusal to expose Islam for what it really is. Veith demonstrates that these institutions are quick to offend Christianity but out of fear treat Islam differently. Veith writes: "On university campuses, Christianity is routinely criticized, while Islam is treated with kid gloves. The Jesus Seminar casts doubt on the Bible, but there is no Muhammad Seminar to cast doubt on the Qur'an."4
Veith goes on to address the dire consequences of this approach for the West, which in his opinion is tacit acceptance of the status of dhimmis. Islam reserves for "people of the Book (Christians and Jews)" who do not convert to Islam the opportunity to retain their religion—but only in the way of accepting the status of dhimmis. "This entailed paying a special tax, which was really tribute money to Islam, accepting second-hand citizenship, and following special laws limiting the practice of their religion and keeping Islam as supreme." 5 Veith suggests that this is exactly what is happening in Western societies: "...Muslims, empowered by democracy and multiculturalism, are implementing the principles of dhimmitude in their new homelands."6 In Veith's view then, out of fear the West refuses to challenge the teachings of Islam, with the consequence that Islam is becoming a kind of privileged religion, while the West is left with dhimmis status in its own society.
Islam as the Savior of the West
Which is exactly what Islam believes the West needs. In Islam's view of things, the West needs to be delivered from its decadence. Islam will save the West by bringing the chaotic West under the order of Islam (ultimately in the form of Shari'a).
Little wonder that the disciples of Islam would think this way. They are right! The West is on the verge of complete moral collapse. Like a vulture, Islam is hovering over a dying West. Muslims are ready and eager to offer their faith as the remedy to the deplorable moral condition within their host countries. In the words of Wolfhart Pannenberg:
If Western freedom in fact means no more than individual license, others do well to try to defend their communities and spiritual values against the encroachment of Western secularism. Beyond the defensive mode, Islamic missions in Western societies express a strong sense of missionary vocation aimed at liberating Western nations from the materialism and immorality associated with secularism. These Muslims view Christians as having failed in the task of the moral transformation and reconstruction of society. Such criticism is a serious challenge to traditional Christianity and to Western culture. A culture devoid of spiritual and moral values is not equipped to meet that challenge, and is bound for disintegration and decay.7
Furthermore, Muslims believe that in the Qur'an theyposses God's final and complete revelation. According to their doctrine of abrogation, the Qur'an trumps all previous revelations from God, which, of course, includes the Bible. Consequently, in Islam's view, the West must convert to Islam. After all, their Qur'an is God's last word to mankind, and it contains God's instructions both religiously and politically. As former missionary to Muslims Bassam Michael Madany expresses it:
Since Islam is religion, politics, and culture, in one entity, Muslims carry with them, consciously or unconsciously, the ideal of establishing ultimately an Islamic regime where the rule of Allah takes a concrete shape, in the here and now. When circumstances are favorable, Muslims are bold enough to advocate and proclaim their political philosophy in Western lands, as they have done recently in the United Kingdom.8
Some Things for Issachar to Consider
Taking into consideration the moral decline of the West and Islam's attempt to fill the vacuum leads one to ponder: Is it possible for the West in general and the United States in particular to fall under Islamic rule? History has the answer! History demonstrates the rise and fall of nations. No exceptions. Even Rome, the so-called "Eternal City," fell to the barbarian tribes of the north and east!
The occasion of Rome's fall led Augustine to write The City of God, in which he answered the critics of the Christians who were blamed for its fall. In response to the complaint that because Christians had forsaken the Roman gods calamities had befallen Rome, Augustine presented the case that there is no "Eternal City" in this world. Rather, the city of God is the church. All other cities and civilizations are doomed, only the church endures.
In fact, history also demonstrates that the fall of kingdoms and nations serves the church in a very special way. Rome's fall, for example, did not result in the fall of the church. Rather, Rome's fall exposed countless pagans to the penetrating, irresistible power of the Word. As a result, the barbaric peoples of the north and east became subject to the gospel. With this light from history, Issachar can look forward to the sometimes fearful unknowns of the future in comfort and confidence: our body is being gathered, and God's kingdom is being established. Foolish speculation as to whether or not the West will fall to Islam as a means of God to gather His people from the Muslim peoples will profit little. Nevertheless, it certainly would be a just judgment on the West for God to do so. "How ironic it would be that a European culture that demanded unlimited personal freedom might wind up living under the repressive heel of Muslim totalitarianism. Or that a culture that rejected its Christian heritage might, instead, be subjected to Islamic fundamentalism."9
While modern-day Issachar has no reason to fear the possibility of the fall of the West, neither does it have any reason to desire the postmillennial dream of its own earthly kingdom. All things considered, that too would be a nightmare. In fact, if one would desire to know what such a kingdom would be like, he need only consider being under the rule of Islamic Shari'a. Those dreaming of an earthly kingdom under the Old Testament law should explain how their dream would end up any different from what life is today for the Iranians.
To be concluded
¹ Patrick J. Buchanan, The Death of the West (St. Martin's Press, New York 2002).
² Johan D. Tangelder, "Islamisation of Europe (4) The West's self-imposed identity crisis" Christian Renewal, 21 June, 2006: 4.
³ Ibn Warraq, "The Need for Qur'anic Criticism, Part 1" Free Inquiry April/May, 2006: 60.
4. Gene Edward Veith, "Dhimminized" World 6 May, 2006: 32.
5. Veith 32.
6. Veith 32.
7. Wolfhart Pannenberg, "Christianity and the West: Ambiguous Past, Uncertain Future" December 1994 First Things.
8. Bassam Michael Madany, The Bible and Islam: Sharing God's Word with a Muslim,http://www.levant.info/ BAI-O.html (online book) Chapter 8.
9. Ed Vitagliano, "Europe's Chastisement?" AFA Journal April, 2006:16.