11 Oct John Daniel Davidson – Learning About Paganism
The Federalist is increasingly standing out as a go-to source for thoughtful, intelligent, conservative perspective.
John Daniel Davidson writes at The Federalist, and his latest post: “Israel And Hamas Are Embroiled In A Zero-Sum Religious War, And So Is The West” is a clear review of the conflict that Bush 43 either unwittingly or intentionally obscured in the aftermath of 9/11. There was never a ‘war on terror’; terror is a tactic, not a perpetrator. And the perpetrator of 9/11, broadly speaking, was the ideology of Islamic jihad, which Davidson writes of in the terms of paganism.
Israel And Hamas Are Embroiled In A Zero-Sum Religious War, And So Is The West
It’s obvious that Israel and Hamas cannot coexist. It’s equally obvious that the Christian and post-Christian West cannot coexist.
The events of the past 120 hours have made it abundantly clear that Israel can no longer coexist alongside Hamas. The violence unleashed by Hamas against unarmed civilians, including women and children and the elderly — much of it filmed and livestreamed online — has shocked the world. On Tuesday, we learned that at a kibbutz near the Gaza border called Kfar Aza, Hamas terrorists slaughtered entire families, including at least 40 babies and small children, some of whom they beheaded.
The Western world has not seen this kind of barbarity in nearly 80 years, and most of us recoil from it in horror and incomprehension. Make no mistake: Kfar Aza will take its place in history alongside Auschwitz and Treblinka. The evil of Hamas is that kind of evil, perhaps not in scale but in kind. In some ways, it is worse because while the Nazis took care to hide what they were doing from the world, Hamas has broadcast its atrocities, boasted and reveled in them. All Hamas members are guilty and deserve swift execution.
Delivering justice to Hamas is now Israel’s grim task, and they will go about it as best they can. But another, perhaps more difficult, task is confronting the Western world at large. In the immediate wake of the Hamas atrocities, demonstrations were staged all over the Western world — in support of Hamas. Those who marched in the streets, who signed pro-Hamas student statements, who posted memes online praising Hamas are not, by and large, antisemitic neo-Nazis. They are left-wing zealots, BLM and LGBT activists, the woke grandchildren of radical Baby Boomer politics, brain-washed by “anticolonialism” propaganda, which they regurgitated before a watching world.
This should not surprise you. The people who cheer the beheading of babies are of course those who also cheer the slaughter of babies in the womb. They are, like Islam itself, post-Christian, and their morality, like the morality of Hamas, is decidedly pagan. That means they do not believe in universal human rights or inherent human dignity. They do not believe in the Christian doctrine of imago Dei and the moral imperatives that flow from it. They do not believe in objective morality or truth. They reject the Christian precepts that constitute the basis for Western civilization.
These are the barbarians who reside beyond the gates of the Christian West. They believe only in power, and they will do whatever they can to gain it. Once they have it, they will exercise it as they see fit, unconstrained by questions of right and wrong, or notions of justice and morality whose premises they reject. They will not have qualms about their own hypocrisy or inconsistency. Appeals to compassion and mercy will fall on deaf ears.
These are the same people, after all, who insist that “words are violence” and that debates and free speech and even jokes must be suppressed because of the “harm” they cause to vulnerable and marginalized people. If you say a man cannot become a woman, they want you to be fired, to be silenced, to lose everything. If you say we must not castrate and mutilate children in the name of gender ideology, they want your own kids to be taken from you. Confronted by the wholesale slaughter of women and children, the decapitation of babies by armed men, they respond with a shrug and a meme. They do not care about violence as such, they simply want to be the ones to wield it.
Do not think these people are just confused or ignorant. They are pagans, and like the Hamas terrorists whom they champion, they cannot be reasoned with or accommodated. If it is obvious that Israel and Hamas cannot coexist, it is equally obvious that these two worlds, the Christian and the pagan, also cannot coexist. We will become all one thing or all the other.
Under such circumstances, we need to recognize this struggle for what it is: a fundamentally religious struggle between two irreconcilable religious worldviews. For many centuries the Christian West was able to see this clearly. It’s why the Catholic Church worked tirelessly for centuries to stamp out paganism in northern Europe. It’s why the Spanish conquistadors, confronted by human sacrifice cults in the New World, toppled them and razed their temples. They understood that there could be no peace with such a regime. It had to be destroyed utterly.
So the problem we confront today is old, and the solution is the same. But do we even have the ability, at this late hour, to recognize the problem and do what is necessary? Probably not. We are likely too far along in the process of dechristianization.
Just look at how we responded to 9/11. Many have been calling the Hamas attack Israel’s 9/11, which is an apt comparison. But Israel should not make the mistake America and its leaders did. We did not recognize the 9/11 attacks as a religious act. In fact, we actively denied that the massacre was religiously motivated, and so we failed to respond on religious grounds. Remember the infamous words of then-President George W. Bush immediately after the massacre of 3,000 Americans. Surrounded by Islamic leaders who more or less shared the basic worldview of the al-Qaeda terrorists, he proclaimed that Islam was a “religion of peace,” and insisted there could be no connection between the killing and the religion the killers professed.
It was incredible to behold at the time. And what followed was equally incredible. We invaded Iraq on the premise that the Iraqis were just like us, or that we could make them like us. Absurdities followed. The State Department flew political scientists to Baghdad to devise an “Islamic” basis for constitutionalism and the rule of law. In Afghanistan, we went well beyond offering education to Afghan girls and women and instead spent decades and untold billions catechizing them into gender theory and queer studies. For years our leaders repeated ad nauseum the fatuous notion that deep down all people want to be free. Never did it occur to them that some people would rather have justice or power or revenge.
All of these things were indications that we had finally severed ties with our Christian past and stepped firmly, perhaps without realizing it, into the pagan future. We never grappled with the root causes of 9/11, never entertained the notion that a people’s relationship to God shaped everything and was therefore insurmountable. All such discussion was totally absent from the public square. We bought into the lie that all religions are the same, democracy and classical liberalism are fungible and can be imposed at will on any culture, and that religious differences are mostly matters of aesthetics.
What a monstrous lie — and a dangerous one, too, as we are learning every day now. The conflict unfolding in the Middle East is fundamentally religious in ways that are fairly obvious. What is less obvious, because we are a post-Christian people, is that the conflict unfolding in America is equally religious. Hamas and the pagans stand on one side; Christians and Jews stand on the other. Only one side is going to win.