Saturday, September 02, 2006

Return of the Global Religious War

Majikthise has two posts up about some right wing bloggers' responses to two Fox journalists who were captured in Gaza and feigned conversion to Islam to escape. Some on the right take this to be tantamount to betrayal. The right's motivations here are hard to figure out. Some seem to act as if the conversion was in itself a real betrayal, as if they should have died like ancient Hebrew and Christian martyrs who attained eternal life by refusing to denounce their God. Lindsay compares it to the way some communities turn on women who have been raped: “Their very survival is considered proof of their debasement. It is assumed that a truly virtuous woman would have fought to the death to preserve her honor, and by extension, the honor of the community.” Something like that is clearly going on. I also get the impression that bloggers are upset that the journalists denied Christ, as if this were in itself a wrong, but they can’t actually say this, because they know that not everyone on our side is Christian to begin with. This is David Warren
I assume they are not Christians (few journalists are), but had they ever been instructed in that faith, they might have grasped that conversion to Islam means denial of Christ, and that is something many millions of Christians (few of them intellectuals) have refused to do, even at the cost of excruciating deaths. Christianity still lives, because of such martyrs. Not suicide bombers: but truly defenceless martyrs.
I've been trying to keep track of ways the current war is a religious war, because I have a strong intuitive sense that this is an underappreciated cause of war (oil and empire being well-appreciated causes). So far all of the evidence I have found is pretty tenuous. In this day in our society, one simply doesn't come out and say "kill the heathen." Often you have to read people uncharitably to see them as religious warriors. I'm going to have to keep thinking about this.

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