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Islam Is Not Medieval

By Jonathan David Carson

Please do not call Islam "medieval." Islam never made it to the Middle Ages, and if it is stuck in the past, it is stuck in the ancient world from which it arose, the decadent Hellenism it ill understood.

Calling Islam medieval is a vicious form of moral equivalency that equates medieval Christianity and "medieval" Islam. It is a piece with blaming the Crusades for attempting to retake Christian lands conquered by the warriors of Islam. Medieval is too good a word for Islam.

When pundits attempt to denigrate Islamofascism by calling it medieval, they tell us as much about their attitude toward Christianity as about Islam. They wish to blacken the names of Bin Laden, Zawahiri, and Zarqawi, which are black enough already; they end up blackening the names of Saint Augustine, Saint Francis, and Saint Thomas, who, whatever their deficiencies, never hijacked airplanes and flew them into skyscrapers or beheaded hostages. If we call Islamofascism medieval, we call the Middle Ages fascistic.

Most commentators who call Islamofascism medieval simply employ the word as a general term of opprobrium, as when people speak of "medieval torture," when, alas, torture is as characteristic of the ancient and modern worlds as of the Middle Ages.

Other commentators use the term more advisedly, in which case they say much about Christianity, including much that is false, and little about Islam. Some argue that Islam, unlike Christianity, has not had a Reformation, others that it has not had a Renaissance or Enlightenment. In the first case, Protestants take advantage of the Islamofascist threat to settle scores with Catholicism; in the second, modernists take advantage of it to settle scores with Christianity in general.

Benjamin Franklin said that we could hang together or hang separately. Today we can stick together or be blown apart, vast heaps of our rent flesh mingled with bloody and quivering bits of our killers. Do these settlers of scores not know that the terrorists are equal opportunity severnecks, who kill black and white, male and female, young and old, Christian and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, liberal and conservative, gay and straight, rich and poor, stoned and sober, right—handed and left—handed, religious fanatic and fanatic atheist, cat—person and dog—person, indifferently?

They kill more Muslims than anyone else—for God's sake.

The Middle Ages, by which people mean the Christian Middle Ages, the European Middle Ages, had their faults, like any other epoch, but to call Islamofascism medieval is to equate medieval Christendom and the medieval Islamic world, a religion that gained adherents through persuasion and a religion spread almost entirely by the sword, a civilization that abolished slavery and a civilization that propagates it, a society that began poor and ended rich and a society that began rich and ended poor, a culture that was backward in the beginning and enlightened in the end and a culture that was enlightened in the beginning and backward in the end, a polity that was weak and divided and became strong and, well, divided, and a polity that was strong and relatively united and became weak and divided.

Iraq was the cradle of civilization, Persia the rival of Rome, Asia Minor as intellectual as Athens. Look at them today. Europe was a land of isolated settlements, ignorant and superstitious, the haunt of wolves and ghastly spirits, America a thinly settled land of warring tribes. Look at them today, though not too hard. The Holy Land gave us Moses and David, Isaiah and Jesus; it gives us Hamas and Hezbollah.

"Medieval" is pejorative today because Christianity dominated the European Middle Ages. So great is the regnant animus toward Christianity and thus to the Middle Ages that the most hideous of the alleged crimes of the Middle Ages—the Spanish Inquisition, the great frenzy of witch burning, and the persecution of Galileo—did not even take place during it, but during the Renaissance of renown, an age of progress and paranoia similar to our own, where geometry and genocide walk hand in bloody hand, and Nazi Germany, which arose inside the most advanced culture and science of the modern world, of Bach and Beethoven, of Goethe and Einstein, is seen as medieval.

Contact Jonathan David Carson, Ph.D.  For more information, see his website Make Haste Slowly.

Printed from: American Thinker  July 20th    2006.




Version: 15th January 2009

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