Today marks the 333rd Anniversary of the Christian Victory at the Siege of Vienna, in which a Polish-Imperial Relief force led by King John III Sobieski of Poland defeated the Ottoman forces which had laid siege to Vienna.
“It marked a turning point: not only was further Ottoman advance on Christian territories stopped, but in the following war that lasted up to 1698 almost all of Hungary was reconquered by the army of Emperor Leopold I. From 1683 the Ottoman Turks ceased to be a menace to the Christian world”
– Walter Leitsch
The mainstream views on Islam are getting, quite frankly, rather tiring. Nearly everyone insists that you have to either be totally blind to the crisis at hand and believe that ISIS only exist because of poverty and american imperialism, or be a loony who thinks that ISIS is the pinnacle of Islamic teaching and that all Muslims are terrorists. Neither is true. Islam is not a religion of peace, but honestly, I’d be hesitant to call any religion a “religion of peace” without first indicating what I meant by peace. There is a longstanding tradition of Holy War in Islam, but there is no major, mainstream tradition of Islamic terrorism, and the distinction between this needs to be made. Saladin’s conquests were in line with traditional Islamic thought, ISIS or Al-Qaeda committed random acts of terror against unarmed civilians is most certainly not. Modern Islamic Terrorism is rooted almost entirely in Wahhabism, an eighteen-century revanchist aberration of the traditional Islamic teaching on (lesser) Jihad. The traditional Islamic rulings on how warfare is to be conducted are generally fairy civil, with the exception of their rulings on slavery, the issue there is less in ruling than it is on lack of practice. But let’s be honest, how many times did medieval Christians follow the Peace and Truce of God?
We need to be able to have honest conversations about Islam, without the fear of being demonized as an “Islamaphobe”, if we want to find a solution to the problems of modern Islam. I think Islam could be reformed to be a reasonably peaceful religion. But so long as we have this insistence that Islam has nothing to do with Islamic Terrorism, we will be unable to confront the theological issues that lie at the very root of the problem. Just the same, so long as we have a knee-jerk reaction to anything Islamic, we will continue to foster a climate of mutual hostility that will do nothing but prevent any sort of mutual understanding or attempts at peace. Christians would do well to remember the words of Christ on the cross; “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”
“For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it’s still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it’s all in the balance, it hasn’t happened yet, it hasn’t even begun yet, it not only hasn’t begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armistead and Wilcox look grave yet it’s going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn’t need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose than all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago.”
― William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust
The South Shall Rise Again
“Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.”
– G.K Chesterton
“One can resist the invasion of armies; one cannot resist the invasion of ideas.”
– Victor Hugo
“There is a man alone, without family, without children, without God….He builds legions but he doesn’t build a nation. A nation is created by families, a religion, tradition: it is made up out of the hearts of mothers, the wisdom of fathers, the joy and the exuberance of children. [Of Germany under Hitler he says]….an all-swallowing State, disdainful of human dignities and the ancient structure of our race, sets itself up in place of everything else. And the man who, alone, incorporates in himself this whole State, has neither a God to honour nor a dynasty to conserve, nor a past to consult….
For a few months I was inclined to believe in National Socialism. I thought of it as a necessary fever. And I was gratified to see that there were, associated with it for a time, some of the wisest and most outstanding Germans. But these, one by one, he has got rid of or even killed….He has left nothing but a bunch of shirted gangsters….
This man could bring home victories to our people each year without bringing them…glory….But of our Germany, which was a nation of poets and musicians and artists and soldiers, he has made a nation of hysterics and hermits, engulfed in a mob and led by a thousand liars or fanatics….”
– Wilhelm II
“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself on a worthy cause; who at the best in the end knows the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
- Theodore Roosevelt