Islam’s Rise and the West’s Denial | CWR Staff | Catholic World Report
William Kilpatrick on what the spread of militant Islam means for the future of the West.
William Kilpatrick is an author and lecturer who taught for many years at Boston College and whose articles on Islam have appeared in numerous publications, including Investor's Business Daily, FrontPage Magazine, the National Catholic Register, and World magazine. He has written several books, including Psychological Seduction and Why Johnny Can't Tell Right from Wrong, and his most recent book, Christianity, Islam and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West, will be released next week from Ignatius Press. Kilpatrick recently spoke with Catholic World Report about Islam and its growing significance for the West.
CWR: You begin by noting that, yes, there is some common ground between Christianity and Islam, but the differences are far more important. What are the most important differences between the two religions?
William Kilpatrick: Beneath the surface similarities lie important and largely irreconcilable differences. Islam rejects the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. In fact, associating partners with Allah—as Christians do—is considered the very worst sin. Chapter nine, verse 30 of the Koran says, “the Christians call Christ the son of Allah…Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the truth.” Moreover, the God of the Koran bears little resemblance to the God worshipped by Christians and Jews. Although he occasionally expresses solicitude for Muslim widows and orphans, he shows little in the way of mercy, compassion, or justice, and he appears to hate non-Muslims with a vengeance. The Koran is full of lurid descriptions of the fate that awaits unbelievers in hell.
The two faiths also differ sharply in their vision of paradise. Heaven for Christians means union with God and the fellowship of the saints. For Muslims heaven means union with 72 “high-bosomed” and eternally youthful virgins. That’s for males, of course; the Koran is unclear about what sort of heaven women will enjoy. These differing views of paradise have very serious practical implications in the here and now. The Islamic version of paradise creates quite an incentive for young men to try to get there as quickly as possible. And, according to Islamic tradition, the only sure route is by “killing and being killed in the cause of Allah.” Take Mohamed Atta. Due to an airline mistake his luggage was left behind in Boston on the day of the 9/11 flight. When authorities later opened it they found a wedding suit, a bottle of cologne, and a letter expressing his anticipation of marriage to his 72 heavenly wives. As Richard Weaver wrote, “ideas have consequences.”
CWR: The Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church mention Islam briefly and rather positively. Otherwise, there isn’t much in the way of official Church statements on Islam. Why is that? Is there a need for such?
Kilpatrick: Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions, includes two short paragraphs sketching out several commonalities between Christians and Muslims. It must be remembered, however, that finding commonalities was precisely the task set forth in the initial paragraph of the declaration: “She [the Church] considers above all in this declaration what men have in common….” In light of this and in view of its brevity, Nostra Aetate can hardly be considered to be the Church’s final word on Islam—although some Catholics have taken it to be just that. The statement about Muslims in the Catechism is even shorter—only 44 words—and merely echoes Nostra Aetate’s observation that both Christians and Muslims worship the One God.
How do you account for this minimalist treatment? The probable answer is that at the time of the Vatican Council, militant Islam was fairly quiescent, and the Church fathers were far more concerned with the threat from atheistic communism. Now that Islam is once again set on subjugating the rest of the world, Catholics need to be given a fuller picture of Islam, if for no other reason than that their survival may depend on it. Catholics and other Christians have been lulled into complacency by the simplistic notion that Christians and Muslims share much in common. For example, when a Catholic reads that Muslims worship the same God and revere the same Jesus he does, he might easily jump to the conclusion that Islam is really a religion of peace and that terrorists are “misunderstanders” of their Islamic faith. That is a very naïve view to hold in these very dangerous times.
CWR: “This book,” you write in the introduction, “is intended, in part, as a wake-up call.” What is the Western world missing? And, more specifically, what are Catholics missing when it comes to rightly gauging and studying Islam today?Continue reading at www.CatholicWorldReport.com.