As we have said, we follow the policy of both our last two presidents, and consider the matter to be quite obvious, that we are not at war with Islam, but with the faction pretending to be based on Islam that is Al Quada or the “Islamic State” that arose out of Al Qaeda. These have declared war on us, and so we are at war with them: one cannot, apparently, always choose peace, because others may choose war and attack you. We of course invite ISIS to just un-declare war on us, return these nations to their people, and the drone strikes etc. will stop. But this is the same as the condition between Israel and the Palestinians. If the Palestinians would follow Martin Luther King Jr, protest peacefully, and agree to live as good neighbors with their neighbor, they would quickly find that Israel would even help them, most likely, and, as George Bush famously said, they could replace teaching their children the bloody things of hatred, and watch them go to school in the morning, go to work, come home to their wives, and pursue happiness in peace. Why would one rather have this horrible war? Apparently they do not have access to this teaching of Dr. King, and others, other Palestinians, most likely in exile, who do wish and try for peace, must simply take over governing their people.
Islam is a religion of Abraham. Following Abraham, they believe in one God, the most High, the same God that the Christians and Jews believe in. Mohammed has the harshness of a legislator, but is not much different from Moses in this regard. Islam teaches justice, charity, chastity, kindness, and like the Jews will bring almost anyone home to celebrate Sabbath, they too will help non-Islamic neighbors. We do wish they would allow Christians to preach, or at least live in peace, though that has not been the rule in Islamic nations. The history of the West, though, makes us more “open,” allowing Islam a liberty and freedom of religion that Islam in general has not allowed the Christians. We ask then only that the Christians be allowed to live in peace, and, failing that, to emigrate.
The idea that Islam has more against the U. S. than against the Russians is absurd. Russia is recovering slowly from atheistic Communism, and their new nationalism is really a sort of tyranny. Russia too may recover their Greek Orthodox faith, and it would be a great help in this if the Pope would continue toward the recognition that the division between Western and Eastern Churches is a political not a religious division. The idea, for example, that the two churches not recognize on another’s Eucharist is equally absurd. It is logically possible for both to be successors to the apostles, and the insistence of Rome on supremacy and obedience is about to destroy Rome, and lose an opportunity, perhaps, to prevent a third world war. We are not supposed to be divided in this way when he comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead. What good is a Church that cannot repent?
But presently, atheistic Communism is much more opposed to all three Abrahamic religions than any of these are to one another. Mohammed taught the Arabs to worship one God rather than many. Incidentally, this is much better for the soul, and all polytheistic religions practice abominations, apparently according to some very ancient customs. The Homeric Greeks would on a rare occasion practice human sacrifice, to which Abraham, or rather God, put an end, on Mount Moriah. Islam teaches that this occurred on the very threshing floor of Ornan where the Dome of the Rock and the wailing wall stand today. Now, Christians, do note that when Paul was about to turn southwest, apparently to bring Christianity to the Arabs, the Holy Spirit turned him North (if I remember correctly), as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. So, to say the least, Christendom ought be very glad that Mohamed brought monotheism to the Arabs. It is apparently much better for the integration of the soul to believe in one God than to believe in many. This is a subtheme of Plato’s Euthyphro, when Socrates refutes the definition of piety proposed by Euthyphro because what is dear to one god or loved by one God may be not dear, or might be hated by another God. The whole Trojan war was based on a disagreement between Zeus and Hera, a marital squabble between beings who are more like people than divinities.
Radical Islam, though, does not have an Islamic source. Its diabolic hatred of their brother Abrahamic religions could not come from Abraham. We doubt seriously that the defense of the faith taught by Mohammed has anything to do with the offense of ISIS, though it is not impossible that the faith inherently seeks to take over the world not by persuasion but by force and destroy their brethren Abrahamic faiths. We will have to read more of the Koran, which we will do, but one wonders what father Abraham would think of the quarrel of these half brothers in his bosom. One suspects that one of the brothers would get grounded or something. We suggest he, father Abraham, would not be happy.
Which leaves us to question where radical Islam, in its diabolic aspect, came from. When the U.S. sought to stop the Soviet expansion into Afghanistan, the U. S. did arm the people who later became Al Qaeda. Conspiracy theorists, like my friend Bill, accuse the CIA of being behind the origins of Al Qaeda, but we think this theory is absurd. They were once our allies, and became our enemies, and that is all. “Ockham’s razor,” (a famous late medieval philosophic theory) suggests that the simplest explanation is the most likely, and this is often, though not always, a good rule.
We suspect that the Russians are behind Al Qaeda or radical Islamic theory, just as if Hitler were in power in Germany we would suspect that the Nazis were behind radical Islam: At least we would have two theories. Some sort of Western diabolism, some secret “Satanism” would be a third possibility. Marx and Hitler have this in common: they teach that some utopian condition, utopian in their terms of a racial or economic atheistic paradise, is attainable if only we kill a huge segment of the people, their own people, when no civil war is occurring. For the Nazis, this was of course the Jews, seconded though by anyone not racially German. For the Marxists, it was a certain economic class, called “Bourgeoisie,” and then after Lenin did some mischief to adjust the theory to fit Russia, where there was no industrial proletariat at all, this became simply the many poor, who are to kill the few rich to perform their diabolic inversion of baptism projected onto the polity, a diabolic or inverted purification. Both these theories, the extreme left and the extreme right, have this in common, simply shifting the particulars, so that for the Nazis it is race based and for the Communists it is class based, for the Nazis biology and for the Marxists economics, but both are “reductionist,” reducing all ethics and all human things to one or another relatively small part of the human phenomenon.
Our theory, then, is that radical Islam has a source not in Mohammed, but in Western diabolism, just as Marxism or communism has its source not in anything native to the Russia, but has its source in German Philosophy. A patriotic Russian might expel this foreign garbage and return to the Greek Orthodox Church. Similarly, a patriotic Mohammedan, with any concern at all for the common good of his people or the good of any one of the Persian or Arabic nations, would expel this foreign garbage. And ditto for China: the idea that the German Marx is in any way remotely superior to their native Lao Tzu is simply absurd. But is apparently only in the West that we are allowed the liberty of study needed to see these things.
German philosophy degenerated into diabolism as a shadow of the Roman Church. This was a working out of Church History that resulted, as we say, from the Church or the West making a law out of the light, and committing the sin of the Inquisition. As a result, Western thought from Machiavelli through Nietzsche became a shadow, inverted, of the artifact made by Rome, a man made thing, a convention. In hared of this artifact, the shadow comes to be cast onto Western philosophy and then politics. We say Jesus was not a legislator at all, but the Savior. That is why he teaches peace, (which incidentally is another word for Islam), and does not commit the violence of the circumcision of a people needed to expel idolatry and human sacrifice. It is only against this background of idolatry, now gone from our world and incomprehensible, that the violence of Mohammed and Moses makes any sense. The legislators prepare the character of a people for the savior, the law being artificial, but like a trellis, somewhat as Homeric civilization prepared the Greeks for Socrates, perhaps. Socrates, of course, is not the savior, but a regular man, if one sent by the divine as a gadfly to Athens. That, at any rate, is the philosophical thought on what it is that underlies modern politics, the basis on which I try to see the circumstance of impending world war and what might be done to secure peace.