This is the first of a 4-part series.
The reactionary blogosphere is largely a debate between Christians and secular or pagan antiliberals. Thus, we argue a lot about whether Christianity is to blame for unleashing anti-cultural universalism and egalitarianism on the world. The related but deeper question is what spiritual forces, whether or not they are distinctly Christian, have driven these movements. I’d like to start this little investigation by inviting a couple of interesting outsiders to have their say, reserving my own arguments for later.
First, here’s historian David Levering Lewis lamenting the victory of Charles Martel at Tours:
Had [Muslim general] ‘Abd al-Rahman’s men prevailed that October day, the post-Roman Occident would probably have been incorporated into a cosmopolitan, Muslim regnum unobstructed by borders … one devoid of a priestly caste, animated by the dogma of equality of the faithful, and respectful of all religious faiths … [T]he victory of Charles the Hammer must be seen as greatly contributing to the creation of an economically retarded, balkanized, fratricidal Europe that, in defining itself in opposition to Islam, made virtues out of religious persecution, cultural particularism, and hereditary aristocracy.
How about that? Islam=equality, cosmopolitanism, and tolerance. Christianity=particularism and hierarchy. That’s the common wisdom among historians. Not all monotheisms are the same, and if group loyalty is what you care about, you’re much better off with Christianity. For their part, Muslims seem to be proud that their faith and its law teach individualism and equality, that it dissolves national and ethnic boundaries.