When even the Pope has to whisper -- Islam is not reformable
In an absolutely must-read column, Spengler lays out the coming inevitibility of civilizational war with Islam because of the basic fact that Islam is not reformable. As I have also said many times, Islam's problem is that its foundational text, the Koran, is not subject to reinterpretation or even retranslation. This fact was recently stated by Pope Benedict in a little noticed exchange in a private seminar.
Basically the situation is this: according to Muslim tradition the Koran is the very word of God as dictated through the Archangel Gabriel to Mohammed. Since it is the actual dictated word of God, there can be no interpretation. As the Pope says, the Hebrew and New Testament Bible is a bible of revelation of God's truth to mankind, and as such is subject to reinterpretation and reunderstanding. Lacking this, Islam can never resolve itself with the West or with the 21st Century.
There's so much here that you simply must read the entire thing.
Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs
Islam is the unexploded bomb of global politics. US foreign policy - the only foreign policy there is, for the United States is the only superpower - proceeds from the hope that a modern and democratic Islam will emerge from the ruins of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Through democratic institutions, Washington believes, the long-marginalized Shi'ites will adapt to religious pluralism. Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's Islam, fixed in amber since the High
Middle Ages, will metamorphose into something like American mainline Protestantism.
Alas, the available facts suggest that the opposite result will ensue: more freedom equals more fundamentalism.
[...]Later in the same essay, Benedict takes up a theme I have addressed over the years, namely the moral cause of Europe's demographic implosion (see Why Europe chooses extinction, April 8, 2003), writing:
Europe is infected by a strange lack of desire for the future. Children, our future, are perceived as a threat to the present, as though they were taking something away from our lives. Children are seen - at least by some people - as a liability rather than as a source of hope. Here it is obligatory to compare today's situation with the decline of the Roman Empire.
My investigation of the causes of Europe's present decline was inspired by comments of then-cardinal Ratzinger in a book-length interview with the German journalist Peter Seewald published in 1996 as The Salt of the Earth. Nothing is really new in Benedict's present formulation except, perhaps, his sense of urgency as the hour grows late and the moment of truth approaches. In the cited essay, Benedict excoriates the pessimism of Oswald Spengler, who claimed to have discovered a deterministic pattern of rise and fall of civilizations. Instead, he argues that "the fate of a society always depends upon its creative minorities", and that "Christians should look upon themselves as just such a creative minority".
I agree with the pope, not with my namesake. My choice of nom de guerre is ironic rather than semiotic. The fact that the West still has such a leader as Benedict XVI in itself is cause for optimism. It might be too late for Europe, but it is not too late for the United States, and that is where the pope's mustard seeds may fall on fertile ground.