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July 18, 2006 Clash of the religions: Christianity vs Secularism MIKE GREEN I was listening to a world-renowned theologian speak when he broached the subject of secularism versus rel

Clash of the religions: Christianity vs Secularism

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I was listening to a world-renowned theologian speak when he broached the subject of secularism versus religious faith His pronouncement that secularism is only tolerant of religious faith as long as such faith doesn’t seek to alter or influence society caused me to cogitate on those words long after his lecture was over

Although this theologian was decidedly Christian, his perspective on the conflict between the secular and religious worlds agreed with one of the most influential minds in the Islamic world, Sayyid Qutb Here was a man who grew up in Egypt and rose to a prominent place in that country’s educational and governmental society He was sent by the Egyptian government to study for his master’s degree in the United States, which he successfully completed at the University of Northern Colorado after studies in Washington DC and California Qutb was offered an opportunity to remain in the US and complete his doctorate, but he declined, choosing to return to Egypt where he wrote two books about his experience here — The America I Saw and Milestones

Qutb’s two books, and the messages within, are what fuel today’s Muslim Brotherhood, a militant arm of Islam determined to resist the invasion and control of western forces, governments and culture that are determined to rule the Middle East

Qutb was once enamored with America from afar But up close, he realized something about our culture during the late 40’s and early 50s that today’s Christian leaders are just now coming to grips with … religious people cannot be successfully governed by a secular power

In an article entitled “Osama’s Brain: Meet Sayyid Qutb, intellectual father of the anti-Western jihad,” by Dinesh D’Souza (Weekly Standard, April 29, 2002, Vol 007, Issue 32), we are given an illustration of Qutb’s theory D’Souza writes:

To explain America’s decadence, Qutb argued that from its earliest days Western Civilization had separated God and society Long before the American doctrine of separation of church and state, the institution of religion and those of government operated in separate realms and commanded separate allegiances

Consequently, God and society were bound to come into conflict And this, Qutb pointed out, is precisely what happened in the West If Athens represents reason and science, and Jerusalem represents God and religion, then Athens has been in constant struggle with Jerusalem

Now the terrible truth is that Athens has won

Reason and science have annihilated religion

— (emphasis mine)

Today, may Americans continue to profess Christianity, but religion has ceased to shape our society It does not direct government or law or scientific research or culture In short, a once-religious civilization has been reduced to jahiliyya — the condition of social chaos, moral diversity, sexual permissiveness, polytheism, unbelief and idolatry that was said to characterize the Bedouin tribes before the advent of Islam

Islam, Qutb emphasizes, is not merely a moral code or set of beliefs, it is a way of life based upon the divine government of the universe Islam regulates religious beliefs and practice, but also the administration of the state, the conduct of war, the making of treaties, divorce and inheritance, property rights and contracts

In short, Islam provides the whole framework of life, and in this sense it is impossible to “practice” Islam within a secular milieu

This insight from Qutb provides us with an understanding of what fuels the Muslim Brotherhood in its fight against the invasion of Iraq by the United States, which began in 1991 and has continued unabated to the present day, escalating to an all-out ground invasion in 2003 Aside from the fact that Iraq is a sovereign nation over which the United States has no legal or moral right to invade and control, the fact that it is located between Saudi Arabia (the seat of Islam) and Iran (devoted to fundamentalist Islamic principles) places the very survival of Islam itself at stake, given the historical reality that whatever lands western powers conquer become subject to an exportation of western culture and ideals

In the case of Iraq, president George Bush has stated on numerous occasions that the intent of our government is to establish a state of democracy within Iraq Democracy, a form of which is practiced in our representative republic, is decidedly secular

In other words, our government is an enemy of God

It’s decisions to align with brutal dictators, it’s motives and rationale for usurping sovereign governments with covert operations designed to replace existing powers with chosen agents, it’s abuse of military and economic power around the globe are just some of the indicators that our self-professed secular government is an enemy not only to the God of Abraham and Jesus, but to Muhammad’s Allah as well

And the intent of our government is to establish just such an enemy right in the heart of Islam

The notion that our government is an enemy of God isn’t debated among Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions The evidence is clear in the decision-making processes in all three branches of government Rather, it is understood that secularist and religious faith are always in conflict when they meet The two cannot co-exist One will win out over the other

As Qutb concluded when he left the US in the early 50’s, reason and science have won out in America Religion here has been defeated Even the remnants of Christ’s church that refuse to give in to the influences of our modern society often retreat to tiny communal pockets where families attempt to raise their children without being completely overwhelmed from every direction by the godlessness that has enveloped our nation

In America, within every industry of influence one chooses to scrutinize (film, fashion, music, media, politics, education, etc), we find that secularist ideas have found a prominent position in dismantling the religious face of American society Secularism preaches freedom in all forms, including freedom from boundaries set by of any Supreme Being or obedience to a Judeo-Christian God The mantra of secularism is "tolerance," except that it despises religious perspectives, has little patience or tolerance for Christianity and rejects any notion that tolerance ought to include any "God talk" Secularism has problems reconciling with its own hypocritical values and ideals Yet today, it is Christianity, not the religion of secularism, which has found itself in disarray, fragmented by societal issues that have influenced the members of today’s church to an unprecedented degree

Many in the church today have forgotten the very definition of evil (without God) — ironically due to the fact that such a word has no definitive understanding in the secular world The religious vernacular, which consists of words like “holy, moral, pure” among many others, have no real translation or usefulness in a world devoid of God, and therefore are seemingly discarded by secular society

The church has lost its influence in America today

Ironically, it is Christians who have adopted the pagan traditions and brought them into the church It is Christians who have supported presidential administrations on both sides of the political aisle that have waged war around the globe in an effort to expand America’s economic and military might It is Christians who refuse to hear the truth, who ignore the pleas of those our government calls its enemies, and who treat those outside of the church with spite, rather than love

Qutb recognized the direction in which America was moving more than a half-century ago And though our nation has only become a world power within the past century, within that very century the pillars of religious faith fell away as they were repeatedly hammered by the courts, congress and presidential administrations

Today, the sculpted face of Moses looks down from its lofty perch upon the wall just under the domed ceiling of the House of Representatives and finds corruption, secrecy, lies and propaganda among cohorts within the 435 esteemed members that presumably conduct all business as representatives of the American people The statue of Moses and golden placards that praise God along the walls of the Library of Congress are hidden away from everyone except those who visit, while the Greek’s memorial to the pagan goddess Artemis looms large in America’s replica of the Temple of Artemis, built to house the US Supreme Court

Even as we congratulate ourselves daily for being a “tolerant” and “free” society, we worship the words of dead men, like Shakespeare and Freud, but ignore the haunting words of One who rose from the dead We scoff at the notion of miracles, even as millions pray to a God most of us don’t believe in anymore But somehow, someday, we all instinctively know that each one of us will have to reconcile with the fact that of all the world’s great minds, only one person purported to have come from heaven; only one claimed to be the Son of God; only one claimed to have the truth, the life, and the only pathway to the Father

As a secular society, what do we say to Jesus when the time comes — and it will surely come — when He says to us, “away from me you evildoers, I never knew you”?

Secularism doesn’t offer an answer Neither does it debate the existence of Jesus, nor the claims He made It merely offers students in most universities a cursory outward glance at “religion” as part and parcel of the mental evolution of mankind — one step below reason and science — in a realm where many secularists believe fervent faith in any “religion” leads to violence … except, of course faith in secularism

To respond to this column send email to mgreen@dailytidingscom Only those responses containing the writer's name, city and phone number (for verification purposes only) will appear on our site Mike Green is an award-winning columnist and author of, "The WHOLE truth about the US War — on Terror: answers to every question you never knew to ask

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