Thursday, March 2, 2017

Christian Realism: Understanding the spiritual nature of ISIS

by David Pence

Part of our Christian realism project, in keeping with the Christopher Dawson argument, is that we see religious movements and loyalties as fundamental driving forces in the relations of nations. The Social Darwinist realists treat nations as black boxes whose actions are not explained by religion or ideology but by actions aiding the survival of a territorial group vis-a-vis another group. Realists thought both the Soviet Union and Maoist China were best explained with few references to Marxism.  Christian realists see the nations as principal actors in history, but we see religious movements and loyalties as even more ultimate. To understand the Mideast, ISIS must be understood on its own terms as a movement inside a religion. Whether it speaks for Islam is the great battle inside Sunni Islam, What is surely true is that this movement will not be defeated by "moderate Muslims" or secular Muslims. It will be defeated by radically committed Muslims who will fight and die rather than allow this death cult to murder in the name of God. The KKK was not opposed by moderate Christians but fervent believers who despised their actions as blasphemy.  Modern secularists have an annoying tendency to propose "solutions" to religious conflicts  in which men of religion  become more moderate in their love of God and more private in their recognition of His Sovereignty.

One analogy in Christian history to the Salafist "reformers" is that they are like the Oliver Cromwell-led Puritans of England in the 1650's who fought and killed to establish an earlier more Puritan form of Christianity against the Catholic and Anglican authorities who had corrupted the true religion of Jesus.  

A remarkable article in the 'Atlantic' by Graeme Wood on the religious goals of ISIS. This is considered the best description of the group in terms of their self-conception. This is a talk he gave on the magazine essay.

One important observation is the tradition in Islam that justifies actions in the present day if there is an accepted tradition that those actions were done by the Prophet or early ancestors. Thus, if ISIS can find an agreed-upon report that the Salafists (ancestors) burnt an enemy alive, then an action like their burning of the captured Jordanian pilot in January 2015 was in accordance with the Law.

The Salafists and Wahhabis give allegiance to the satanic movement which is infecting the religion of Islam. They truly are “spiritual but not religious”. Their enemies are the Shiites, conventional Sunni, the Jews and the Christians. This spiritual understanding of the war should make clear that Russia, Iran and Syria are not the principal enemies of the United States in our war against the forces that murdered 3000 of our people on 9-11-2001. In war the principle is to isolate your enemies and broaden your alliances. The nations of most Christians, Jews, Shia and Sunni will join us but we must be clear. who we are fighting and why.

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