Is the enemy of our enemy our friend?

That is, are orthodox, anti-modernist Muslims, to use a bit of Leninist jargon, “objective allies” of the Orthosphere right? I previously thought they were, but I’ve now increasingly come to think that any kind of alliance with Islam would be neither pragmatically useful nor morally acceptable. Here, in relatively succinct form, are the four main reasons for this change of heart (I will probably return to this subject in greater detail later):

  • As conservatives (or reactionaries, or whatever you want to call us), we are not just for traditional gender roles, established religion, distinct cultures, and so on in the abstract. We are also for a particular religion—Christianity—and a particular civilization—European Christendom. And while orthodox Muslims are enemies of the modern, liberal West, they are also enemies of Christianity and European Christendom, as Medieval history amply attests. In fact, in the short term they should really prefer the former to the latter, since a re-christianized, de-modernized West—unlike the current, liberal West—would be willing and able to mount a solid defense against Muslim aggression. Thus, Muslims may have no rational reason to cooperate with us, and every rational reason to defend the current order.

  • Islamic theology, at least in its current form, is not philosophically sound, even if it sometimes arrives at conclusions we like. On the contrary, it consists of exactly the sort of nominalism and voluntarism that got us into trouble in the first place. That Islam is also a false religion hopefully goes without saying.

  • Islam, unlike Christianity, commands continuous violence against unbelievers (Sura 2:191: “Slay them wherever ye find them and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter.” Sura 9:5: “When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them.“) Unlike, for example, the slaughter of the Canaanites, these Koranic injunctions do not appear to be the exception, but the rule. Thus, in Islam the routine killing of unbelievers who refuse to convert is at the very least permitted. None of this, of course, means that every Muslim—or even most Muslims—would support or engage in such genocidal activities, though I do remember having seen some poll numbers from Europe indicating that a pretty large percentage of European Muslims would. (I’ve lost the link, though: If someone has it, I’d be grateful.) But if I (and Lawrence Auster, and Serge Trifkovic, and Fjordman, and…) am right, it does mean that a correct interpretation of Islam would seem to endorse, for example, the attacks that have taken place in New York, Madrid, London, and most recently France during the last decade and change.

  • It may also be worth noting that Islam endorses deception (taqiyya) as a weapon in the war against unbelievers, making any potential alliance treacherous and uncertain.

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15 thoughts on “Is the enemy of our enemy our friend?

  1. “That Islam is also a false religion hopefully goes without saying.”

    I wouldn’t be surprised if comments will show that, no, it doesn’t go without saying.

    If orthodox Christianity is true, however, Islam is a false religion from the get-go.

    1.Christians know that “God is love,” Non-Christians like the sound of that until they are brought to realize that it is a meaningless statement if God is not the Holy Trinity. Love exists between persons. Love is not a sort of radiation emanated into space like solar rays. Love eternally exists between the Three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. God had no need to create human beings or angels in order to have something to love.

    But Islam rejects the Trinity.

    2.Just as God cannot be love if He is not Triune, He cannot save us from hell if He is not Triune. The Father must give His Son to die for us as the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2, also Ephesians 1:7 etc.). The Old Testament points to this, the New reveals it. Islam “corrects” this.

    Islam thus cuts the very heart out of Christian faith and hope.

    It must be added, though, that Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. Any decent and just earthly kingdom does not enforce nominal Christian faith upon its subjects, threatening them with civil penalties and death for non-compliance. There could be a “Christian” version of sharia only if Christ’s kingdom WAS of this world after all. Islam intends the extension of a kingdom of this world, that everywhere shall be the Dar al-Islam and less and less, to the vanishing point, shall be the Dar al-harb.

    It is better if the power of the state is used on behalf of good order as revealed by the Natural Law (what C. S. Lewis called the Tao, in The Abolition of Man — a little book indispensable for the Orthospherical, I should think). The decent, honest, and peaceable and their families are to be protected; the wicked are to be restrained and punished. Man’s fallible reason must be used e.g. in jury trials or other attempts to ascertain culpability and to assign punishments, etc. But the state does not regulate and enforce religious faith, cult, etc.

    • I meant that it goes without saying in the context of this blog, the vast majority of whose readers are presumably Christians. You put it better than me in writing, “If orthodox Christianity is true, however, Islam is a false religion from the get-go.”

      Also, thank you for noting some important things that I glossed over or didn’t mention, like the role of the Trinity and the differences between Christian and Islamic views of the relationship between divine and earthly law.

    • I should add to my point #2 that the salvation of mankind requires the Holy Trinity because the Third Person of the Godhead must apply to the sinner the saving work of the Son that was carried out in obedience to the Father.

      The saving work of the Son is not effectual for the individual sinner until it is appropriated by faith, and that faith is worked by the Holy Spirit. Without such faith it is impossible to please God.

      I would add that the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth. Whatever else this may mean, it must mean that he works savingly for us only through what is true. If He sometimes, as we may hope, works savingly where the Gospel hasn’t been proclaimed and the Sacraments are not available, still we must believe that He works through such truth as is available in that time and place. Similarly, though He is the Spirit of Truth, we are not obliged to believe that only those who can understand the truth well enough to assent to verbal propositions can be saved; otherwise we would have to assume that the profoundly mentally handicapped cannot be saved.

      But we must also maintain that the Spirit of Truth does not work savingly through religious tenets that are presented in refusal of the proclamation of the truth. So while we need not believe that no one living in a Muslim culture can be saved, we must maintain that what is distinctively Islamic over against Christianity can never quicken or nourish saving faith.

      We hear of the “three Abrahamic religions.” The faith of Israel is fulfilled in the Christian gospel of Christ and the Church; Jesus said that the Old Testament was about Himself (St. Luke 24:64ff.) and that Abraham rejoiced to see His day (St. John 8:52ff.). See also Romans 4. Islam renounces the Christian Gospel, as we see, thereby renouncing also the faith of Abraham.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if comments will show that, no, it doesn’t go without saying.

      I don’t understand this snark. This blog draws readership from a broad array of un-left sources. Just saw a trackback from In Mala Fide (if you have too look that one up, you probably don’t want to). This blog exists in part to create a larger umbrella under which Christian reactionaries might gather, a coalescence of Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestants. But that coalition is itself attached, sometimes more sometimes less tenuously, to a yet wider variety of anti-leftist thinkers and writers with particular interests like anti-feminism, human biodiversity, defenses of European colonialism, climate skepticism, Austrian economics, anarcho-libertarianism, localism, anti-statism, and anti-democratism. In a word: anti-revolutionism, aka., Reaction® unites an incredibly diverse swathe of people, who, while they disagree (sometimes wildly) on specifics, are united against the Moloch, the Cathedral, and the dehumanizing present which we face and the hellish future that it represents, which certainly includes the decline if not the destruction of the West.

      The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend… but anyone who sees reality as it actually is and actively searches for truth is a friend indeed, irrespective of his position with respect to the Church.

      • Islam cuts out the heart of Christianity also in that, given its rejection of the Trinity, it must reject the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. Christ taught that His apostles were to make disciples of all nations by baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The apostle St. Peter testifies that Baptism saves. (See St. Matthew 28:19, 1 Peter 3:21.) Islam does not accept that God the Son died and rose again for us, so of course the Sacrament of His Body and Blood cannot be what He said it was, given to us for the remission of sins (St. Matthew 26).

        Mr. Nicoloso perhaps assumed that there was no need for the falseness of Islam to be discussed here; it could be assumed. In that case, perhaps he will allow on this Lady Day 2012 that there might even so be profit in the expression of Christian truths, for personal edification. Christians gather on Sundays and say together the Apostles’ Creed. Is there a “need” for this if we can assume everyone already assents to its tenets? I suppose there is.

      • Mr. Nelson, perhaps we are simply talking past each other. I believe that Islam, the enemy of my enemy, is not my friend, not because per se it is not true, but because it is evangelically dedicated to wiping my religion off the map. Now that perverse dedication may very well due to deep seated errors of theology–errors many of which however which it shares with Judaism (anti-trinitarianism) and Calvinist Christianity (anthropology), two particular religions, among many others, that, at least in theory, could be my friends in a common war on Moloch.

        I would like nothing better than to live in a particularist state headed by a faithful Catholic monarch.

        But failing that, I would like to live in a state with good government, which seems a slightly less impossible goal. And it is far from clear to me that correct theology in recondite matters on the part of the sovereign does much to qualify him to govern well. It ought to, but history is a bit spotty on this point. I hope it goes without saying that Lee Kwan Yew (agnostic) would be a better sovereign than Rick Santorum (Catholic).

      • Sorry to be so late to the party, but as a believer in the Reformed, i.e., Calvinist, tradition, I simply do not understand what you mean by likening Calvinism to “anthropology.”

        As for your further comments, it should go without saying that everyone thinks that other denominations suffer from “deep seated errors of theology.” When dealing with fellow traditionalists, however, there is little value in bringing up those differences here and now. With Moloch beating down our door, now is not the time to be knifing the Christian by your side.

        Incidentally, some of the most traditionalist Protestant churches in America are Reformed. In my church, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church—surely a name that Orthospherians can appreciate—traditionalist and anti-liberal views are the norm. For example, since the OPC follows the Bible, women may not be elders, a category which includes pastors. Everyone sees this as perfectly natural, because both the men and the women of an OPC congregation understand the complementary yet different roles of men and women, and know that feminism is a false and harmful ideology.

        So yes, we can be friends in our common war. Let us beat that enemy into submission before we resume the wars amongst ourselves.

      • Sorry to be so late to the party, but as a believer in the Reformed, i.e., Calvinist, tradition, I simply do not understand what you mean by likening Calvinism to “anthropology.”

        I took this to mean that he sees Calvinism as similar to Islam in its anthropology, not that Calvinism is merely an anthropological system.

      • Thank you for the clarification, buckyinky. However, obtuse as I am, I simply don’t understand what is meant by a religion’s “anthropology.” I had also not noticed any particular similarities between Islam and any form of Christianity, excepting, of course, those derivative elements in Islam that have led people to come to the conclusion that Islam is a Christian heresy.

      • I inadvertently followed up on this a little by reading the Wikipedia article on Augustine. Since Calvin and other Protestants consider Augustine to be one of the theological fathers of the Reformation, it seems odd that Calvinist anthropology should be so different from Catholic anthropology, since both appear to base their anthropologies on Augustine. Again, I admit my ignorance in this area, and would very much like to be pointed towards something beyond Wikipedia that might explain it for me.

  2. First time commenter here, and beginning as a Devil’s advocate. Also, forgive me for the length.

    FIRST ARGUMENT

    We are also for a particular religion—Christianity—and a particular civilization—European Christendom. And while orthodox Muslims are enemies of the modern, liberal West, they are also enemies of Christianity and European Christendom, as Medieval history amply attests.

    No argument from me about it, but this doesn’t rule out cooperation and even an alliance with Islam against liberalism – it rules out only amalgamation or conversion, which are unacceptable for reasons which hardly need spelling out.

    In fact, in the short term they should really prefer the former to the latter, since a re-christianized, de-modernized West—unlike the current, liberal West—would be willing and able to mount a solid defense against Muslim aggression. Thus, Muslims may have no rational reason to cooperate with us, and every rational reason to defend the current order.

    I think this argument fails because it forgets the big picture. It is true, as far as it goes, if Europe were the only region at stake, but it isn’t. The onslaught of liberalism is global, and Muslims are very well aware that the moment they weaken their social cohesion Islam will vanish in its own homeland, just as Christianity was all but vanished in the West except as a private quirk. I think a reasonable argument can be made – I won’t do it in a combox… – that Muslims would be delighted with a resurgently Christian West that said, “Here is our homeland, it is Christian, and you’ll only be tolerated here on our terms. But we’ll no longer export filth to your homeland or indoctrinate your children in degeneracy, nor we’ll be waiting like vultures to destroy Islam and replace it with liberalism when the filth and the indoctrination finally run their course”.

    Liberals use conservative groups against each other all the time. It’s high time we learn to do the same, tactically and without forgetting our identity. Conservatism is local, but liberalism is global, and if we meet it directly on our own, we’ll be defeated every time.

    You also mention “Muslim aggression”. That it exists, I won’t deny, but ask yourself this: in the modern world, who started the fight: did Islam attack the West? Or did liberalism attack Islam? IMO, we suffer for the sins of liberals…

    SECOND ARGUMENT

    Islamic theology, at least in its current form, is not philosophically sound, even if it sometimes arrives at conclusions we like.

    I’m hardly an expert in theology, Islamic or otherwise, but the two links you gave, Mr. Sellanraa, are insufficient to establish this claim. That Islam would do well to have an established church is, I think, obvious, but it’s their problem and it’s hardly theological. The theological position of jihadism/salafism/etc. is more problematic, but a reasonable argument can and has been made that these are properly heretic positions, because they throw away the tradition of Islamic philosophy and theology and advocate strict adherence to the words of the Qur’an. That these ideas have as many followers as they have today can be seen one more evidence of the ongoing disintegration of Islamic societies under the onslaught of liberalism. Also, Islamic theology doesn’t have to be true in order for it to be possible to ally with them: otherwise, it seems to me, even “Mere Christianity” efforts (like the Orthosphere!) would be doomed.

    THIRD ARGUMENT

    Islam, unlike Christianity, commands continuous violence against unbelievers

    No need to get deep in this, but I see your list of Qur’anic verses left out one famous quote, “There shall be no compulsion in religion” (2:256). There are many others:

    “But if they turn away from you, (O Prophet remember that) your only duty is a clear delivery of the Message (entrusted to you)” (16:82)

    “(O Prophet?) ‘We have not sent you except to be a mercy to all mankind:” Declare, “Verily, what is revealed to me is this, your God is the only One God, so is it not up to you to bow down to Him?’ But if they turn away then say, “I have delivered the Truth in a manner clear to one and all, and I know not whether the promised hour (of Judgment) is near or far.” (21:107-109).

    “So remind, [O Muhammad]; you are only a reminder. You are not over them a controller” (88:22-23).

    The other quotes you give also are, arguably, not the slam-dunk they seem:

    Sura 2:191: “Slay them wherever ye find them and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter.”

    Yep, but here’s what comes before:

    “Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors” (2:190, my emphasis)

    And what comes next:

    “And if they cease, then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” (2:193).

    So this passagem can be interpreted as an allowance for Muslim self-defense.

    You also quote

    Sura 9:5: “When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them.

    Here’s what comes before:

    “Excepted are those with whom you made a treaty among the polytheists and then they have not been deficient toward you in anything or supported anyone against you; so complete for them their treaty until their term [has ended]. Indeed, Allah loves the righteous [who fear Him]” (9:4)

    And what comes after

    “And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah . Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know” (9:6).

    “So as long as they are upright toward you, be upright toward them.” (9:7).

    These passages wouldn’t apply to us anyway, because we ain’t the polytheists (more properly, the “idolaters”) condemned in them. The proper response would be, I think, that we have “a treaty” with them…

    It may be that the jihadists are theologically correct and that true Islam is their Islam. But it may also be, as I said, that they are heretics who arrive at their conclusions be jettisoning tradition as a guide to understanding (their) revelation.

    FOURTH ARGUMENT

    To consider taqiyya as a simple approval of treachery is inexact. Taqiyya is the permission for apostasy under duress: a Muslim who forcibly converted another religion, if he later went to an Islamic land, wouldn’t need to convert again, or pay the penaly for willing apostasy, if he could prove he did it only under duress and was insincere. Also, martyrdom was always considered better than taqiyya, and taqiyya was usually an intra-Islamic affair, practiced by Shia Muslims traveling through Sunni lands (i.e., going to Mecca).

    Even if taqiyya were a permission to cheat, it could hardly matter for us, who would “trust but verify” in any case, taqiyya or no-taqiyya…

    Best,

    JBO

    • Thank you, James, for some insightful arguments. I’ll try to respond to each in turn.

      FIRST ARGUMENT

      I would argue that liberalism is uniquely Western. In fact, I think it has its roots in perversions of principles that make the Christian West the Christian West in the first place—its universalism, its individualism, its veneration of freedom, etc.—and thus will have major difficulties taking root in a non-Western, non-Christian society. Even in those non-Western countries where some features of liberalism have been introduced, they tend to be adapted to local, illiberal needs. Japan and South Korea, for example, are democracies with advanced, Western-style economies, but also still rife with veneration of ancestors, strong ethnonationalism, and other illiberal things that we no longer see in Europe or America.

      Also, the Muslim world would only be delighted with a Christian West if orthodox Muslims were happy to leave us alone as long as we leave them alone. They probably would not be. After all, the West, whether liberal and atheistic or traditionalist and Christian, will still be part of the Dar al-Harb rather than the Dar al-Islam for them. Also, I should point out that I completely agree that in general, global traditionalist alliances—involving, for example, “ultra-Orthodox” Jews, Hindu nationalists, or Neo-Confucians—could do us good. (Adam Webb’s Beyond the Global Culture War, which I’ve been meaning to read for a while, is apparently about exactly that.) Islam is the exception rather than the rule in this case.

      Also, to see the causes of Muslim aggression only in the context of the modern world is too narrow, and even there, the idea that we provoked them fails, I think. The history of Islam has been one of conquest, and Christian wars against Islam have largely been in self-defense. Even the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, ultimately predicated though they may be on bringing liberalism to the Middle East, were ostensibly entered into as part of a defensive “War on Terror.”

      SECOND ARGUMENT

      Duly noted that the two links were too little. To expand a little bit (and Robert Reilly’s The Closing of the Muslim Mind, which I also linked to, spells this out in greater detail), irrationalism, nominalism, occasionalism, voluntarism etc. have been mainstays of Islamic theology at least since al-Ghazali and the Asharite school, and still dominate it today. I do concede that the evidence I provided was too scant, and that this was the weakest of my arguments to begin with. (After all, and as you point out, philosophical disagreement does not in itself preclude cooperation.)

      THIRD ARGUMENT

      As I read it, the prohibition on “compulsion in religion” does not preclude violence against unbelievers – only forced conversions. In other words, the commonsensical notion that no-one can be forced truly to believe something does not preclude the notion that it would be right to kill them if they did refuse to believe it. And even with those additional verses, I still read Sura 9:5 as allowing for the killing of unbelievers who refuse to submit at any level to Islamic rule (i.e., by entering into dhimmitude).

      FOURTH ARGUMENT

      My point still stands, I think. Since most interpretations of Islam, unlike most interpretations of Christianity, allow for heresy, renunciation of faith, lying, and so on under duress, we can never be sure if our potential Muslim allies aren’t planning to stab us in the back as soon as they can. At the very least, we need a good “exit strategy” before entering into an alliance, and I’m not sure such a strategy can be formulated.

  3. Pingback: The other Abrahamic religion that will never want to be our friends either « The Orthosphere

  4. Peace be upon you,

    It seems brother that your viewpoints misrepresent Islam to a great degree:

    1) Muslims who abide by the classical middle-way of Islam are not anti-modern or anti-rational, or anti-science. For those who are, then they are not true to orthodox Islam whose history is replete with men who pursued the empirical sciences and who wrote extensive commentaries on Greek philosophical thought. Indeed, logic is still a compulsory subject in the traditional madrasas (which the deviationist wahhabi ideology rejects).

    2) That your imputations about Islam are deceitful are self-evident. Propositions especially accusative ones must bear the burden of proof. Your statements sounds like you are swearing at your adversary!

    3) The communists command unflinching animosity to republican capitalist nations whose residue is now the cultural marxism and irreligious secular ideology that has been continuously eroding American culture.
    The religion of peace is not antithetical to peaceful coexistence with all humanity (but guard yourselves from considering the radicalized saudi-wahhabis as Islamic icons) “There is no compulsion in religion, truth must stand out clear from fraudulence, so whosoever gives the lie to evil and devotes himself to God, he has indeed taken a firm handhold”
    There is no permission to kill unbelievers (or fellow believers, without qualification) whatsoever!!!

    4) Taqiyya (deceptive information) is throughout all history everywhere, every soldier’s prerogative in times of battle involving the direct killing of human lives. If you are talking civilization in times of peace the rules of engagement with your political foes are altogether different!

    You may want to visit YOUTUBE to watch Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and Sheikh Abdul Hakim Murad to buck up your knowledge a little.

    Am i your friend or foe, bro. ?

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