Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Very good points. To the extent that extremists have captured Islam in reality, as opposed to in Western perceptions, I would say that that is largely the consequence of Western imperialism. As for the military history: Yes, but the French and the Germans have a much more recent military history, yet get along fine with each other and understand each other, more or less.

I think [the militant Muslims] are attacking the secularism of the West, and not really attacking Christianity.

That is a very interesting point. I think my diary was prompted by the article in the current New Yorker about the new Pope. Ratzinger believes that there is a conceptual gap between Christianity and Islam (but not between Christianity and Judaism), so that it is not possible for Christians to rationally discuss theology with Muslims. But for him the main problem is not Islam, but the secularism of Western society; he wants to bring religion back in Europe at a societal, as opposed to a personal, level, so that it has a role analogous to the role it has in Islamic societies. I think that Ratzinger's specific project is unworkable, because Catholicism has been unable to adapt to modernity. But I think he does have a valid point, namely that there is something pathological about how religious themes are avoided in public discourse in the West.

For instance: why can't our politicians engage in discourse like the following:

Christ said: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." What does that suggest about the kind of tax system we should have?
Outgrowing this tendency to bracket out religious thought from our public discourse and public policy debates would also make it easier for us to engage with the Islamic world.

A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns
by Alexander on Fri Mar 30th, 2007 at 03:08:33 PM EST
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