Should The Islamic Reformation Be Enlightenment, or Protestant, in Nature

I got a response to a Tweet that included the link to this video painting an Islamic Reformation (a future event) as different from a Protestant Reformation. The author of the video wants an Enlightenment  influence and not a Reformational style influence as happened between Catholics and Protestants. Here is the video followed by my initial Tweet in response:

Here is my Tweet[s]:

You have a picture of Luther, but then talk about a Catholic invasion? Me, personally, I would like the moderate Muslims to rise up enough to cause a war where the moderates win, and influence (over a few centuries) … the radicals to reform (like the Catholic Church has, and [has] apologized for [past actions]). (edited a tad for readability)

I am going to deal with this two-fold. On the Reformation, and how Christianities understanding of contract and humanity endowed with the Image of God (Hebrew: צֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים tzelem elohim, lit. “image of God”, often appearing in Latin as Imago Dei). Secular Humanism is the Enlightenment’s fruits:

...Christian Humanism

Early humanists saw no conflict between reason and their Christian faith (see Christian Humanism). They inveighed against the abuses of the Church, but not against the Church itself, much less against religion. For them, the word “secular” carried no connotations of disbelief – that would come later, in the nineteenth century. In the Renaissance to be secular meant simply to be in the world rather than in a monastery. Petrarch frequently admitted that his brother Gherardo’s life as a Carthusian monk was superior to his own (although Petrarch himself was in Minor Orders and was employed by the Church all his life). He hoped that he could do some good by winning earthly glory and praising virtue, inferior though that might be to a life devoted solely to prayer. The methods of the humanists, however, combined with their eloquence, would ultimately have a corrosive effect on established authority.

Yet it was from the Renaissance that modern Secular Humanism grew, with the development of an important split between reason and religion. This occurred as the church’s complacent authority was exposed in two vital areas. In science, Galileo’s support of the Copernican revolution upset the church’s adherence to the theories of Aristotle, exposing them as false. In theology, the Dutch scholar Erasmus with his new Greek text showed that the Roman Catholic adherence to Jerome’s Vulgate was frequently in error. A tiny wedge was thus forced between reason and authority, as both of them were then understood. (Os Guinness, The Dust of Death: A Critique of the Establishment and the Counter Culture and the Proposal for a Third Way [Intervarsity Press, 1973] p. 5.)

(Wiki)

The later enlightenment rejected ultimately any reference to the metaphysical, which means the rejection of the Imago Dei ~ which ultimately devalues any change towards liberty.

Would I want a Protestant “type” Reformation to take place in Islam. Yes, but as you will see… I am very skeptical any reformation is possible within Islam (last comments of the post). The video brings up a specific battle. Let me talk a bit about this battle and the resultant influence of it. I will first post an excerpt from The Fabricated Luther: Refuting Nazi Connections and Other Modern Myths, with some more commentary:

A crucial role in the transmission of the theory of resistance was played by Magdeburg, which was the first city in northern Germany to claim the Reformation faith. It became a model of Lutheran resistance. In fact, it was the last pocket of military defiance in the Smalcald War, which followed the failure of a series of attempts to reconcile the differences between the Roman Catholic and the Lutheran side. In this war, two powerful Protestant princes, Hans of Kustrin and Maurice of Saxony, joined the emperor. The causes for that conflict, which are highly relevant to our subject, will be discussed below At a time when the Protestants throughout the country faced almost certain defeat, it was Magdeburg’s fierce opposition that turned the tide of the conflict and thus presumably preserved the Lutheran faith in Germany. This is how Olson describes the situation in the city in 1549 when it was under siege by the superior forces of the Saxon elec­tor, who were fighting for the emperor’s cause:

The tense situation, in which it seemed that Luther’s movement was about to be crushed, helped form an ecclesiastical party that in one guise or other has persisted within Lutheran tradition ever since, a party claiming to preserve Luther’s true intent. Thus Melanchthon’s observation that “these absurd persons consider themselves the only gnesio [true] Lutherans” had a ker­nel of truth.125 Their convictions were expressed by the soldiers of the city’s garrison. Outnumbered six to one, they defended Magdeburg as the Saxon elector, in a mopping-up operation after the Schmalkaldic War, mounted a siege against the city on the emperor’s behalf. Under constant fire, they sang about themselves as the last faithful remnant of Luther’s cause—mod-ern Maccabees).126

Olson adds that “in 1550 Magdeburg theologians allied with Matthias Flacius Illyricus, the staunchest among the Gnesio-Lutherans, signed a 1550 Confession, Instruction and Warning.” It claimed not to be original but simply a rehearsal of Luther’s own thought, now stripped of its cautious, pastoral, prewar ambiguity.

A key paragraph of this Magdeburg Confession127 states clearly that subjects of authority, even children and servants, do not owe obe­dience to those rulers, parents, or employers “who want to lead them away from true fear of God and honorable living.” Those authorities and parents “will become an ordinance of the devil instead of God, an ordinance which everyone can and ought to resist with a good con­science.”128

The center of the lengthy document is a definition of four degrees of injustice and recommendations for appropriate responses to each of them. These are the degrees:

1. Authority, because of human weakness, has its vices and sin and often knowingly or deliberately does injustice in small mean things. At this point of the argument we do not want the lesser magistracy to use force to resist the superior magistracy… .

2. Authority does great and public violence and injustice to its subjects as when a prince, a town, the Emperor, attacks a prince who is innocent in an unjust war against his own oath, duty and law and wanted thus to deprive him of body and life, wife and child, his liberties or of his land and people… . In this case, just as we do not want to order anyone to defend themselves as in accord with God’s command… so too we do not want it to weigh on anyone’s conscience if he does do so… .

3. When the lesser magistracy is forced by superior magistracy to certain sins, and when it can not tolerate such injustice with­out sin so it raises opposition and also bears its sword… . We have to pay careful attention here that… in resistance to pub­lic forces some higher law or command of God is not broken which would make the resistance unjust… .

4. When tyrants become so mad and crazy that they persecute with weapons and war not only the persons of the lesser magistracy and subjects in a legitimate case, but also (attack) in these persons the highest and most necessary rights and also our Lord God himself… if say a prince or emperor were to become so reckless or mad as to suspend the law of marriage and discipline and set up another law… permitting all sorts of shameful mis­behavior… we and other Christians can resist with calm con­fidence.

This document helped provide the theoretical basis for one of the most celebrated events in the history of resistance—the fourth Huguenot war that began after the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572 and ended in 1598 with the Edict of Nantes that guaranteed the French Protestants the freedom to practice their religion.

The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre prompted Theodore Beza, who was then Calvin’s successor as “Moderator of the Venerable Com­pany of Pastors of Geneva,” to formulate arguments in favor of armed uprising. Beza, who had repeatedly served as chaplain to Huguenot forces in France, completed his work in June or July 1573 and first dis­tributed it with a title page that made it appear to be the Magdeburg Confession. The title read: Of the Right of the Magistrates Over Their Subjects. A very necessary treatise in these times to advise the magistrates as well as their subjects of their duties: published by those of Magdeburg in the year 1550 and now revised and augmented by several reasons and examples. The purpose of this cover was to bypass Geneva’s municipal authorities, who feared reprisals from the king of France, according to Robert M. Kingdon.129

Beza had already shown great interest in the Magdeburgers. In his treatise De haereticis a civili magistratu puniendis (1554), he favorably mentioned their defiant attitude.130 To be sure, Du Droit des Magistrats is anything but a copy of the Magdeburg Confession. Kingdon writes: “It is longer and more elaborate; its examples stem from different sources, and finally the reasons on which he bases the treatise, are markedly different.”131

But the key phrase in Beza’s treatise has a distinctly Magdeburg fla­vor. Chapter 10 carries a title that reads like a summary of the fourth degree of injustice.132 as described by the Gnesio-Lutherans: “Si estant persecute pour la religion, on se peat defendre par armes en bonne con­science” (“If one is persecuted because of one’s religion, one may in good conscience defend oneself with arms”).133


Footnotes

125. Melanchthon and the Gnesio-Lutherans opposed each other over the question whether the terms of the Augsburg Interim should be observed, e.g., whether liturgical practices demanded of the Lutherans by the other side should be con­sidered adiaphora (indifferent) and therefore observed. Melanchthon and his fol­lowers, the Philippists, favored this. The Gnesios, led by Matthias Flacius Illyricus, opposed it. Flacius, who had come to Germany from the area formerly called Yugoslavia, coined the famous phrase “In casu confessionis et scandali nihil est adi-aphoron” (“When provocations demand an act of confession there is no such thing as an indifferent practice”).

126. Oliver K. Olson, “Matthias Flacius Illyricus,” in Shapers of Religious Traditions in Germany, Switzerland, and Poland, 1560-1600, ed. Jill Raitt (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981), 4.

127. I used an unpublished translation by A. M. Stewart of Aberdeen University, which is in my possession.

128. Olson, “Matthias Flacius Illyricus,” 38.

129. Robert M. Kingdon, introduction to Theodore de Beze, Du Droit des Magistrats (Geneva: Droz, 1970), mi.

130. Beze, Du Droit des Magistrats, 69.

131. Kingdon, Du Droit des Magistrats, xiii.

132. Beze, Du Droit des Magistrats, 69.

133. Beze, Du Droit des Magistrats, 63.

Uwe Siemon-Netto, The Fabricated Luther: Refuting Nazi Connections and Other Modern Myths, 2nd edition (St. Louise, MO: Concordia Publishing, 2007), 93-96.

The book goes on to connect the confessions and evolution of Lutherian theology that came from and out of this conflict to having given Bonhoeffer theological animus (as well as other confessing Lutheran’s) to stand against Hitler. Even to the point of Bonhoeffer being involved in the plot to kill Hitler (the Bomb under his desk attempt). So, as much as we would like to package history like the Law of Excluded Middle (an either-or-scenario, no third scenario allowed) in a belief in some Utopian “goodness” within man that can guide him through an “a” or “b” choice… we know this is not the case. And our government was founded on this Reformational view of the nature of man.

Here is an understanding of just how much the Reformation influenced America’s founding, followed up by Thomas Sowell referencing this understanding implicitly. First, and exceprt from a seminary paper I wrote entitled, “Reforming America” (p. 3):

The founding of America is complicated, but one thing that is not is the influence of religion on her founding.  Let us be clear about something beyond the belief that America’s founding was simply “religious,” it would have been impossible without it.  Not only impossible, but the type of government and documents that were produced by the pre-American zeitgeist are unique in history.  Is it possible to believe that a theological system had an effect on the founding of the United States? The answer, according to John Eidsmoe, is “A great deal:”

Calvinism, like any theological system, encompasses both a world view and a view of human nature. The way one views the world and human nature will determine one’s choice for effective government. As James Madison asked in Federalist No. 51, “What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?”[1]

And it is this view of mankind’s nature taken from the ideas of Luther and Calvin that paint the picture of the “total depravity of human nature — that man is by nature sinful and unable to please God.”[2]  Another author makes the point that the political circumstances of Luther and Calvin seem to have become incorporated into fundamental beliefs of their theological systems.[3]  Ergo, when the Puritans came to the New World “they brought with them not merely a religion, but a social vision, whose roots lay in a small town in modern-day Switzerland.”[4]


Footnotes

[1] John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1987), 19.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Alister E. McGrath, Reformation Thought: An Introduction, 3rd ed. (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 1999), 233.

[4] Ibid.

While not explicitly referencing this influence, Thomas Sowell distinguishes between progressive worldviews in their political and economic stances. Contrasting it with a more conservative worldview affecting those same areas. This comes from the first chapter of my book entitled, “Technology Junkies” (see pp. 6-8):

Christianity is closely tied to the success of capitalism,[22] as it is the only possible ethic behind such an enterprise. How can such a thing be said? The famed economist/sociologist/historian of our day, Thomas Sowell, speaks to this in his book A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles. He whittles down the many economic views into just two categories, the constrained view and the unconstrained view.

The constrained vision is a tragic vision of the human condition. The unconstrained vision is a moral vision of human intentions, which are viewed as ultimately decisive. The unconstrained vision promotes pursuit of the highest ideals and the best solutions. By contrast, the constrained vision sees the best as the enemy of the good— a vain attempt to reach the unattainable being seen as not only futile but often counterproductive, while the same efforts could have produced a more viable and beneficial trade-off. Adam Smith applied this reasoning not only to economics but also to morality and politics: The prudent reformer, according to Smith, will respect “the confirmed habits and prejudices of the people,” and when he cannot establish what is right, “he will not disdain to ameliorate the wrong.” His goal is not to create the ideal but to “establish the best that the people can bear.”[23]

Dr. Sowell goes on to point out that while not “all social thinkers fit this schematic dichotomy…. the conflict of visions is no less real because everyone has not chosen sides or irrevocably committed themselves.” Continuing he points out:

Despite necessary caveats, it remains an important and remarkable phenomenon that how human nature is conceived at the outset is highly correlated with the whole conception of knowledge, morality, power, time, rationality, war, freedom, and law which defines a social vision…. The dichotomy between constrained and unconstrained visions is based on whether or not inherent limitations of man are among the key elements included in the vision.[24]

The contribution of the nature of man by the Judeo-Christian ethic is key in this respect. One can almost say, then, that the Christian worldview demands a particular position to be taken in the socio-economic realm.* You can almost liken the constrained view of man in economics and conservatism as the Calvinist position. Pulitzer prize winning political commentator, Walter Lippmann (1889-1974), makes the above point well:

At the core of every moral code there is a picture of human nature, a map of the universe, and a version of history. To human nature (of the sort conceived), in a universe (of the kind imagined), after a history (so understood), the rules of the code apply.[25]

A free market, then, is typically viewed through the lenses of the Christian worldview with its concrete view of the reality of man balanced with love for your neighbor…


Footnotes

[22] See for instance: R.H. Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2000 [originally 1926]); Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2003 [originally 1904]); Rodney Stark, The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success (New York, NY: Random House, 2005); Thomas E. Woods, Jr., How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2005).

[23] Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles (New York, NY: basic Books, 2007), 27.

[24] Ibid., 33, 34.

[25] Walter lippmann, Public Opinion (New York, NY: Free Press, 1965), 80.

Another item worth noting is WHERE the Founders of these Great States got the bulk of their influence or philosophy from, many are surprised about this:

Where, then, did our Founding Fathers acquire the ideas that produced such longevity? Other nations certainly had access to what our Founders utilized, yet evidently chose not to. From what sources did our Founders choose their ideas?

This question was asked by political science professors at the University of Houston. They rightfully felt that they could determine the source of the Founders’ ideas if they could collect writings from the Founding Era and see whom the Founders were quoting.

The researchers assembled 15,000 writings from the Founding Era—no small sample and searched those writings. That project spanned ten years; but at the end of that time, the researchers had isolated 3,154 direct quotes made by the Founders and had identified the source of those quotes.

The researchers discovered that Baron Charles de Montesquieu was the man quoted most often by the Founding Fathers, with 8.3 percent of the Founders’ quotes being taken from his writings. Sir William Blackstone was the second most-quoted individual with 7.9 percent of the Founders’ quotes, and John Locke was third with 2.9 percent. ” Surprisingly, the researchers discovered that the Founders quoted di­rectly out of the Bible 4 times more often than they quoted Montes­quieu, 4 times more often than they quoted Blackstone, and 12 times more often than they quoted John Locke. Thirty-four percent of the Founders’ quotes came directly out of the Bible. “

The study was even more impressive when the source of the ideas used by Montesquieu, Blackstone, and Locke were identified. Con­sider, for example, the source of Blackstone’s ideas. Blackstone’s Com­mentaries on the Laws was first introduced in 1768, and for the next 100 years America’s courts quoted Blackstone to settle disputes, to define words, and to examine procedure; Blackstone’s Commentaries were the final word in the Supreme Court. So what was a significant source of Blackstone’s ideas? Perhaps the best answer to that question can be given through the life of Charles Finney.

Charles Finney is known as a famous revivalist, minister, and preacher from one of America’s greatest revivals: the Second Great Awakening in the early 1800s. Finney, in his autobiography, spoke of how he received his call to the ministry. He explained that—having determined to become a lawyer—he, like all other law students at the time, commenced the study of Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws. Finney observed that Blackstone’s Commentaries not only provided the laws, it also provided the Biblical con­cepts on which those laws were based. Finney explained that in the process of studying Blackstone’s, “he read so much of the Bible that he became a Christian and received his call to the ministry.” Finney’s personal life story clearly identifies a major source of Blackstone’s ideas for law.

So while 34 percent of the Founders’ quotes came directly out of the Bible, many of their quotes were taken from men—like Blackstone—who had used the Bible to arrive at their own conclusions.

Numerous components of our current government can be shown—through those early writings—to have their source in Biblical concepts. For example, the concept for three branches of government can be found in Isaiah 33:22; the logic for the separation of powers was based on Jeremiah 17:9;t the basis of tax exemptions for churches was found in Ezra 7:24.

In other words, the Reformation and all it’s streams of influence, weighed heavily on the Founding documents of our nation. Again, from my seminary paper and contractual understandings (pp. 11-12):

Even the idea of social contract and the implementing of such a contract is applied by Calvin [pre-Lockian]:

The theory of social contract is generally traced to seventeenth-century philosophers such as John Locke and Thomas Hobbes. But a century earlier, Calvin had asked the entire people of Geneva to accept the confession of faith and to take an oath to obey the Ten Commandments, as well as to swear loyalty to the city. People were summoned in groups by the police to participate in the covenant.[21]

Again, without the like of Calivin, Wycliff, Luther, and others, the Bible that so stirred the political thought of our founders and whom they read in turn, America would not be here today.  This public understanding of many of the precepts of the Bible caused Luther, and subsequently Calvin, to “maintain that all believers shared in the priesthood, in opposition to the Catholic understanding of the priesthood as a separate class unto itself.”[22]


Footnotes

[21] Harold J. Berman, Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), 564-565.  The author mentions a book as well on page 565: See J. T. McNeill, The History and Character of Calvinism (New York, 1957), p. 142. See also Chapters 2 and 12 of this study, where the theory of social contract is traced to the Papal Revolution and the formation of cities as sworn communes.

[22] W. Andrew Hoffecker, Revolutions in Worldviews: Understanding the Flow of Western Thought (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2007), 233.

Also take note of how the Reformation influenced Locke’s philosophy versus the progressive understanding via Rousseau’s influence: Locke vs Rousseau.

Now, onto the second part of this “enlightened” critique of the opening video of this post. What about the enlightenment? What did it lead to ultimately? Did the Protestant Reformation influence the American experience versus the Enlightenment influencing another “Constitution”?… in France:

Fact: The American Revolution was not like the French Revolution

The Americans defended their traditional rights. The French revolutionaries despised French traditions and sought to make every­thing anew: new governing structures, new provincial boundaries, a new “religion,” a new calendar—and the guillotine awaited those who objected. The British statesman Edmund Burke, the father of modern conser­vatism and a man who did understand the issues at stake in both events, considered himself perfectly consistent in his sympathy for the Americans of the 1770s and his condemnation of the French revolutionaries of 1789.

In a certain sense, there was no American Revolu­tion at all. There was, instead, an American War for Independence in which Americans threw off British authority in order to retain their liberties and self-government. In the 1760s, the colonies had, for the most part, been left alone in their internal affairs. Because the colonists had enjoyed the practice of self-government for so long, they believed it was their right under the British constitution. The British constitution was “unwritten”—it was a flexible collection of documents and traditions—but by an American conservative’s reading, the British government had acted unconstitutionally in its restrictive acts and taxation.

While Americans sought the self-government to which they believed they were constitutionally entitled, the colonists did not seek the total transformation of society that we associate with other revolutions, such as the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution, or the Russian Rev­olution. They simply wished to go on enjoying self-rule when it came to their internal matters and living as they always had for so many decades before British encroachments began. The American “revolutionaries” were conservative, in the very best sense of that word

Let us quickly show a humorous take of the French Revolution, as, this is where this discussion is headed:

That quote from Jefferson is expanded on a bit by a wonderful post at What Would The Founders Think?, and deals with the animus behind the French Revolution inspired by the Enlightenment:

...Jefferson's Animus

Marxism-Leninism is also expansionist and internationalist.  One has only to look at the famous slogan “Workers of the world unite!” or  Marx’s contention that the world’s proletariat has “a world to win.” In Marx’s own words:

It is our interest and our task to make the revolution permanent, until the proletariat has conquered state power and until the association of the proletarians has progressed sufficiently far — no only in one country but in all the leading countries of the world.

This international focus and quasi-religious belief in the inevitability and superiority of communism  justified almost any action, and hearkens back to the events of the French Revolution. Thomas Jefferson, in a famous letter to William Short was willing to accept, if not condone, the wanton violence that marked the French Revolution:

The liberty of the whole earth was depending on the issue of the contest, and was ever such a prize won with so little innocent blood? My own affections have been deeply wounded by some of the martyrs to this cause, but rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated. Were there but an Adam and an Eve left in every country, and left free, it would be better than as it now is.

In 1793-1794 Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins beheaded 40,000 French citizens. Lenin himself made the comparison with the violence of the French Revolution. “It will be necessary to repeat the year 1793. After achieving power we’ll be considered monsters, but we couldn’t care less.”  He and his cohorts described themselves as “glorious Jacobins.”

Alexander Solzhenitzen  observed,

Communism has never concealed the fact that it rejects all absolute concepts of morality. It scoffs at any consideration of “good” and “evil” as indisputable categories. Communism considers morality to be relative, to be a class matter. Depending upon circumstances and the political situation, any act, including murder, even the killing of thousands, could be good or could be bad. It all depends upon class ideology.

…read more…

Now, let compare the above to some Kirk’ian understanding of Burke:

That real Jacobinism never has come to Britain or America is in some considerable measure the work of Edmund Burke’s conservative genius. He first succeeded in turning the resolute might of England against French revolutionary energies; and by the time of his death, in 1797, he had established a school of politics founded upon the concepts of veneration and prudence, which ever since has opposed its talents to the appetite for inno­vation. “We venerate what we cannot presently understand,” he taught the rising generation. His reverence for the wisdom of our ancestors, through which works the design of Providence, is the first principle of all consistent conservative thought.

Burke knew that economics and politics are not independent sciences: they are no more than manifestations of a general order, and that order is moral. He applied his great practical intellect to a glowing delineation of this principle of order, and his work is suffused with the imagination of a poet and the keenness of a critic. Greatly though he disliked an easy familiarity with meta­physics, he saw that the struggle between order and innovation in modern times has its cause in a metaphysical and religious problem: as Basil Willey points out to us, Burke perceived that the root of evil in society “lay in the meddling instinct which pre­sumes to interfere with the mysterious march of God in the world. Burke was of the company of those who are continually conscious of the weight of all this unintelligible world; he was more aware of the complex forces which hem us in and condition all we do, than of any power in us to act back and modify the very environ­ment that limits us.” Men never will be gods, Burke was con­vinced; all their will and virtue is required if they are to attain mere genuine humanity; and (as Aristotle said) a being that can exist in isolation must be either a beast or a god. Radical innovations would cut us off from our past, destroying the immemori­al bonds that join generation to generation; they would leave us isolated from memory and from aspiration; and in that condition, we would sink to the level of beasts, “We have not (as I conceive) lost the generosity and dignity of thinking of the fourteenth cen­tury; nor as yet have we subtilized ourselves into savages.” But how are we to be saved from the fierce tide of demoniac energy, the flood of unprincipled aspiring talents and ferocious envy, which is called Jacobinism?

Our hope for safety against the consequences of intellectual fallacies lies in our steadfast adherence to right opinion. Taken as a whole, Burke’s accomplishment is the definition of a principle of order; …. His system is an anticipatory refutation of utilitarianism, positivism, and pragmatism, as well as an attack on Jacobinism. Burke’s almost unparalleled talent for social predic­tion informed him that the Revolution in France was no simple political contest, no culmination of enlightenment, but the incep­tion of a moral convulsion from which society would not recover until the disease, the disorder of revolt against Providence, had run its course. To check it, he adapted the reverential view of so­ciety, the idea of Aristotle, Cicero, the Schoolmen, and Hooker, to the conundrums of the modern world.

An order in society, good or evil, just or tyrannical, must al­ways exist. We have been “marshalled by a divine tactic” to unite in a state which recognizes the true idea of justice. Men are saved from anarchy by veneration of the divine and fidelity to prescrip­tive wisdom. They are saved by prejudice and gradation.

One of the main points I am trying to get across is that a strict Enlightenment understanding of change makes things worse, and it is the influence on Western (esp. American) culture of the Reformation coupled with Enlightenment advances that has made the understanding of a proper “Reformation” or “Revolution.” In other words, the end result of the Enlightenment was massive death by guillotine for rejecting the new “tradition” that was secular:

With the Jacobins in control, the “de-Christianization” campaign kicked into high gear in 1793. Inspired by Rousseau’s idea of the reli­gion civile, the revolution sought to completely destroy Christianity and replace it with a religion of the state. To honor “reason” and fulfill the promise of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen that “no one may be questioned about his opinions, including his religious views,” Catholic priests were forced to stand before revolutionary clubs and take oaths to France’s new humanocentric religion, the Cult of Rea­son (which is French for “People for the American Way”).

Only a bare majority of clergy, called “nonjurors,” refused to take oaths to the republic. About 20,000 priests did so and another 20,000 left the country. Many ex-priests publicly denounced their religion, swearing they had never believed it, and “vied with each other in ribal­dry and blasphemy.” Vicar Patin stood in front of a revolutionary club and said the “earmarks” of a priest were: “To bestialize humans in order to better enslave them, to make them believe that two plus one is one and a thousand other absurdities, to enter into a compact with our for­mer tyrants to share with them spoils taken from the people.”

Revolutionaries smashed church art and statues. One explained that he had broken the noses off church statues because they were “hid­eous apes” that deserved to be crushed and used for pavement. At the Cathedral of Notre Dame, hundreds of medieval sculptures of prophets, priests, and kings were yanked from their pedestals and decapitated or hurled in the Seine. The cathedral’s priceless thirteenth- and fourteenth-century stained-glass windows were smashed.

Notre Dame fared better than the Third Abbey Church at Cluny, once the most magnificent monastery in the world. Revolutionaries torched the archives and sacked the Romanesque building, leaving be­hind nothing but a pile of rubble.

The word “vandalisme” had to be invented to describe the wanton destruction of the abbey church of Saint Denis…

The Founders knew well that the new country they were forging rejected the enlightenment, not as a whole, but in part. There would — never be a comparison like the one found in Robert Morris’s video on comparing the Reformation with the Enlightenment. History laughs at such rudimentary understandings. Like it does at the simplistic understanding in pop-culture of “religion” causing war[s]… see:

  1. “Causes of Wars,” Concepts (ISIS Compared to Christianity)
  2. Religious & Political Extremism Motivated Violence ~ Concepts
  3. The Crusades vs. The Three Caliphates (Moral Equivalence)

All the above being said, do I think Islam CAN BE reformed? Ultimately I do not. This reformation would require a few things, for instance, in an old discussion about Mosques, there was a Muslim man that joined the conversation. I have expanded a bit on what a truly moderate Muslim would look like (like Dr. Qanta Ahmed or Dr. Zuhdi Jasser), they would have to:

1) reject the Sīrat Rasūl Allāh (Life of the Messenger of God; Arabic: سيرة رسول الله), the biographical sketch of Muhammad’s life;

2) as well as the rejection of the Hadith (the Hadith literature was compiled from oral reports that were in circulation in society around the time of their compilation long after the death of Muhammad);

3) change positions on the Qur’an as descriptive (descriptions of historical events and battles that are not prescriptive to attitudes and modern culture ~ like Jews and Christians understand large portions of the Old Testament);

4) reject the reading of the text so that the al-Madīna suras (verses) do not supersede the Meccan suras, which are peaceful;

5) allow for manuscript and literary criticism that is allowed in Jewish and Christian discussions:

▼ For instance, manuscript evidence shows clearly that Mark 16:9-20 is known to be a later insertion into the Biblical text. Biblical critics as well as faithful believers can acces thie historical record to say this is fact. A well-known critic of the text is Bart Ehrman who notes this as well as a well known conservative Christian scholar like Daniel Wallace… as well as most Bibles noting this (for instance one of my study Bibles notes this ~ a: http://tinyurl.com/mg3oove and b: http://tinyurl.com/lx2mn2w). THIS is not allowed in any Muslim nation. I have many books written by modern and classical Greek atheists in my library. THIS is not allowed in Muslim nations. Nor is textual criticism. And when such things are noted, fatwas are put out on the heads of those who say as much about verses added to Qur’an. (Example: Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.)

Etc., Etc.

So, we see from the following examples of how this would be a real tough road to ho:

So do I really think Reformation or Enlightenment is possible in Islam. No. I don’t. The only Reformation that can encroach on the Muslim is one of the truth of Jesus Christ being the Way.

Graham reached out to Muslims and invited them to convert to Christianity (via Gateway Pundit):

“I want to say something to all the Muslims that may be watching this that are confused and are afraid themselves. I want them to know that God loves them and that Jesus Christ died for their sins — and Christ will forgive them and heal their hearts… And they don’t have to die in a jihad, they don’t have to kill somebody else to please God. God loves them and he will accept them through faith and through his son, Jesus Christ.”

The Roll of Apologetics in Kirsten Powers Life

“The Hound of Heaven had pursued me and caught me—whether I liked it or not” ~ Kirsten Powers

Below, you will hear Kirsten Powers speak to the fact that she was a reluctant convert, almost brought into the faith kicking and screaming the whole way. C.S. Lewis speaks about this reluctant conversion as well:

…Lewis himself was converted “kicking and screaming” (Surprised 229). Some of the pain came because in fixing his faith on God, Lewis also discovered “ludicrous and terrible things about [his] own character” including immense pride (qtd. in Green 105). One of the pains associated with conversion involved the realization that he must repent and change. In another book, Lewis explained why he thought pain is necessary in conversion. He proposes, God [will force a Christian] to a higher level: putting him into situations where he will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving, than he ever dreamed of being before. It seems to us all unnecessary: but that is because we have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing He means to make of us. (Mere 176) Suffering, for Lewis, can make a saint.

Lewis also conveys the agonies of conversion in his fiction, many times in more detail and intensity. Lewis the character feels the pains of not being prepared for Heaven as his Ghost-body is tortured by even walking on the solid, real grass. In the Dwarf episode, this pain is primarily an emotional one and results from his own twisted concept of love and the desire to solicit pity from Sarah. His pain illustrates that much of the pain we suffer is self-inflicted. Sarah tells Frank that in his attempt to use pity to “blackmail” others: “You made yourself really wretched” (Divorce 115-16). The Dwarf, through his selfishness, caused the problems that Sarah was sent to help him overcome. The pain of conversion comes from the healing of these problems…

Read More: The “Reluctant Convert” in Surprised by Joy and The Great Divorce

(H/T Breitbart) This was a fascinating read from Christianity Today… and highlights the roll of apologetics in a skeptics life:

From my early 20s on, I would waver between atheism and agnosticism, never coming close to considering that God could be real.

After college I worked as an appointee in the Clinton administration from 1992 to 1998. The White House surrounded me with intellectual people who, if they had any deep faith in God, never expressed it. Later, when I moved to New York, where I worked in Democratic politics, my world became aggressively secular. Everyone I knew was politically left-leaning, and my group of friends was overwhelmingly atheist.

[….]

To the extent that I encountered Christians, it was in the news cycle. And inevitably they were saying something about gay people or feminists. I didn’t feel I was missing much.

Speaking of going to Tim Keller‘s church with her Christian boyfriend, Miss Powers said this:

But then the pastor preached. I was fascinated. I had never heard a pastor talk about the things he did. Tim Keller’s sermon was intellectually rigorous, weaving in art and history and philosophy. I decided to come back to hear him again. Soon, hearing Keller speak on Sunday became the highlight of my week. I thought of it as just an interesting lecture—not really church. I just tolerated the rest of it in order to hear him. Any person who is familiar with Keller’s preaching knows that he usually brings Jesus in at the end of the sermon to tie his points together. For the first few months, I left feeling frustrated: Why did he have to ruin a perfectly good talk with this Jesus nonsense?

Each week, Keller made the case for Christianity. He also made the case against atheism and agnosticism. He expertly exposed the intellectual weaknesses of a purely secular worldview. I came to realize that even if Christianity wasn’t the real thing, neither was atheism.

I began to read the Bible. My boyfriend would pray with me for God to reveal himself to me. After about eight months of going to hear Keller, I concluded that the weight of evidence was on the side of Christianity. But I didn’t feel any connection to God, and frankly, I was fine with that. I continued to think that people who talked of hearing from God or experiencing God were either delusional or lying. In my most generous moments, I allowed that they were just imagining things that made them feel good.

Then one night on a trip to Taiwan, I woke up in what felt like a strange cross between a dream and reality. Jesus came to me and said, “Here I am.” It felt so real. I didn’t know what to make of it. I called my boyfriend, but before I had time to tell him about it, he told me he had been praying the night before and felt we were supposed to break up. So we did. Honestly, while I was upset, I was more traumatized by Jesus visiting me.

I tried to write off the experience as misfiring synapses, but I couldn’t shake it. When I returned to New York a few days later, I was lost. I suddenly felt God everywhere and it was terrifying. More important, it was unwelcome. It felt like an invasion. I started to fear I was going crazy.

I didn’t know what to do, so I spoke with writer Eric Metaxas, whom I had met through my boyfriend and who had talked with me quite a bit about God. “You need to be in a Bible study,” he said. “And Kathy Keller’s Bible study is the one you need to be in.” I didn’t like the sound of that, but I was desperate. My whole world was imploding. How was I going to tell my family or friends about what had happened? Nobody would understand. I didn’t understand. (It says a lot about the family in which I grew up that one of my most pressing concerns was that Christians would try to turn me into a Republican.)

I remember walking into the Bible study. I had a knot in my stomach. In my mind, only weirdoes and zealots went to Bible studies. I don’t remember what was said that day. All I know is that when I left, everything had changed. I’ll never forget standing outside that apartment on the Upper East Side and saying to myself, “It’s true. It’s completely true.”

I wish to mention that while apologetics played a roll in a person like Kirsten to come to the foot of the cross, ultimately, the Holy Spirit brings us to the point of KNOWING the truth of Christianity beyond mere probabilities:

…fundamentally, the way we know Christianity to be true is by the self-authenticating witness of God’s Holy Spirit. Now what do I mean by that? I mean that the experience of the Holy Spirit is veridical and unmistakable (though not necessarily irresistible or indubitable) for him who has it; that such a person does not need supplementary arguments or evidence in order to know and to know with confidence that he is in fact experiencing the Spirit of God; that such experience does not function in this case as a premise in any argument from religious experience to God, but rather is the immediate experiencing of God himself; that in certain contexts the experience of the Holy Spirit will imply the apprehension of certain truths of the Christian religion, such as “God exists,” “I am condemned by God,” “I am reconciled to God,” “Christ lives in me,” and so forth; that such an experience Provides one not only with a subjective assurance of Christianity’s truth, but with objective knowledge of that truth; and that arguments and evidence incompatible with that truth are overwhelmed by the experience of the Holy Spirit for him who attends fully to it.

 William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, 3rd ed. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008), 43