Christianity: West’s Default Religion

Christianity: West’s Default Religion

http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=996

Christianity: West’s Default
Religion
Sandhya Jain
19 December 2009

Switzerland’s recent vote
against the construction of minarets as part of mosque architecture in that
nation symbolises a frontal return of Christianity as the Western world’s
default religion and culture, and a corresponding downsizing of the
discourse on
‘secularism’ and ‘multi-culturalism,’ which gave Islam an opportunity to seize
political and social space in the western public realm.

As other
European nations gear up to challenge the public display of symbols of Muslim
identity – most notably the hijab and
head scarf, though the beard and skull cap may prove more difficult –
a build-up
of religio-cultural tensions is inevitable. Violent outbursts cannot be ruled
out.

It is not a Hindu dharm-yudh

The Swiss
vote has caused a frisson of
excitement in traditional and secular circles in
India , with some
Hindus hallucinating about a ‘natural’ alliance with the Christian West to
mutually crush Islam. This foolish hope once soared after the 2001
attack on the
Twin
Towers in New York ,
and Hindus in particular and Indians in general failed to comprehend why

Pakistan emerged as the West’s
leading non-NATO ally. Dr.. Manmohan Singh is similarly clueless why
two hostile
votes in the IAEA against a friendly
Iran still led to President Obama declaring

China the leading Asian power.

Should
Hindus respond to a Western Crusade against Islam, the result will be
similar to
our experience in World War II, where the 2.5 million-strong Indian
Army won the
war for the colonial West, only to be betrayed back at home. The British
eventually quit India in 1947 only because of the military mutinies inspired by
Subhash Chandra Bose, and they successfully cut up the nation before leaving,
retaining critical territory in the form of a land bank called Pakistan, from
which they (and the US) could overlook (and operate in) Tibet, Central Asia,
China, Russia, and the Gulf. Further, they manipulated the mess in Jammu &
Kashmir, and continue to stir the pot, to our discomfort.

The purpose
of this article is to stress that Hindus lack the agility, self-confidence, or
even stake, to participate in the emerging War of Religions in
Europe . They would do well to keep out of this schism
within the Semitic fold. The West will never support Hindu affirmation and
primacy in India (or Asia),
and will always support Indian (and Pakistani / Bangladeshi) Muslims
and Jihadis
against the Hindu nation and the
Indian
State , for its own geo-strategic
dominance.

Terrorists
David Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana are not accidentally linked to the CIA
and FBI. [Ignore the denials; please understand that a ‘rogue’ CIA
agent is only
a person CIA has decided to ‘sacrifice’ once the job is done; that is, one who
is not a voluntary suicide bomber. Remember that Mumbai terrorist
survivor Ajmal
Kasab revealed that the terrorists were all assured of an ‘exit’ plan, and were
not suicide terrorists – a significant revelation). Similarly, Kashmiri
separatists do not casually visit the United
States and
Britain .

The Jihadi
menace in our part of the world is the direct consequence of Western politics,
which we can ignore only at our own peril. The Sonia Gandhi-led UPA’s decision
to appoint the Ranganath Mishra Commission and examine ways to extend
constitutional benefits of Hindu Scheduled Castes to Christian and Muslim
converts is part of this continuing assault on Hindu dharma and
dharmis in this country. So is the
‘quiet diplomacy’ with Kashmiri separatists; the decision to declare a
Muslim-centric Telengana state in the old Hyderabad domains of the Pak-oriented
Nizam on Sonia Gandhi’s birthday; and the proposal to bring an Equal
Opportunities legislation to push Muslim employment in the private sector.

Hindus must
realise that they will have to fight for their rights vis-à-vis politically
assertive and West-backed minorities (both Muslims and Christians) in

India with their own innate skills
and resources. To outsource legitimate Hindu concerns to the West is abdication
of responsibility, a sell-out.

Hindus have
no stake in a Christian-Islamic confrontation in
Europe (or anywhere else). Indeed, such a conflict, if it
concentrates Islamic energies and resources in Europe, is certain to
reduce jihad in
India . Rising
incidents of jihad in Europe – especially a fight to make Christian Europe an
Islamic Eurabia – could prove a saving grace for
India , similar to the Mongol rush to
Baghdad and Europe that bypassed
India .

Europe’s forked tongue

Notwithstanding Western
rhetoric aimed at undermining non-Christian traditions in the post-World War II
era, religion has always been a marker of political identity. And religion and
culture are intimately connected. In
India , the Hindu religion and culture
rose simultaneously from the same soil and people over the centuries,
and cannot be separated. In Islam, the
Arab tribes, Arabic language and culture centred round the minor
irrigation near
the oases and the caravan trade provided the core structure of the early
community. To this day, Islam is uncomfortable with cultural traits not rooted
in Arab Islam.

Christianity, however, rose as
a political community in Europe long after the death of Jesus, by taking over
the declining Roman Empire . It claims origin
from a man born in Galilee (or Bethlehem , or
Nazareth ); its
culture from the extinct Graeco-Roman civilisation, and has spread by
cannibalizing the traditions and cultures it encountered on its onward march.
The divide between religion and culture is thus
exclusive to Christian tradition, and cannot be extended to the
experience of more homogenous societies and peoples.

Equally
pertinently, Christianity has no native bhumi, much less
a native region or ethnicity to call its own, because Jesus led the
early believers away from his native Judaism and
roots, and opened the doors to other groups. When the fledgling community moved
to Rome , it moved to another continent, and grew
by gobbling up the religion, culture and people of the dying
Roman Empire . The Christian claim to conquer and enjoy the
whole Creation and its creatures, human and non-human alike, is grounded in the
Jewish Old Testament. Ironically, the Jews like their Christian offspring, also
lack a clearly defined place of origin (where was Abraham born, or Noah,
or Moses?); the first kingdom established by Joshua in
Jericho was by conquest
and the complete annihilation of the native population there.

Post Second
World War, Europe (including America) played a complex game to keep the
Christian religion and culture as the default religion and culture of
the world,
while paying lip service to concepts of ‘secularism’ and ‘multi-culturalism’
which, as I have argued before, are nothing but the Masks of the Christian God
to disempower the gods and cultures of other non-monotheistic civilisations.
Hindus in
India , and those who left in search
of financial opportunities abroad, have been willing to make this compromise
with the Christian West.

Islam, which
views itself as an exclusive nationhood, or ummah, is unable to compromise its
religious and cultural identity, especially as hundreds of ordinary
Muslims feel
that the West has politically and economically disempowered the Muslim world by
purchasing a handful of elites in Muslim lands, especially in the late 19th and
early 20th centuries, and made proxy colonies out of them.

In both the
Christian and the Muslim mind, there is little doubt that the current
contest is
a continuation of the intra-Semitic struggle that began with the Prophet’s
launching of his religious mission in Arabia ,
climaxed in the Crusades, and festered thereafter. All religions have a
political facet. But Prophet Mohammad sought political expression and expansion
for his religious community as part of his mission, and thus made Islam both a
political ideology and a religious nationalism. He did not define racial,
cultural, or geographical frontiers, which did not matter in the early heady
centuries of conquest. Today, however, Islam does not know how to cope with
limits to its expansion placed by other peoples and cultures; continuing tribal
and old civilisational identities within Islam, modern nationalism, and the
nation-state.

Yet without
adjusting to the nation-state and the natural limits to its geographical
expansion, Islam will not be able to combat the pro-Western political
elites who
have subordinated and humiliated Muslim countries and peoples to Western
Corporate entities. Without being proud, stable, and ascendant in the Arabian
homeland, Islam cannot hope to survive as a viable entity anywhere in
the world.
The Saudi refusal to permit other religious structures in
Saudi Arabia is
hollow as the dynasty survives on Western support, and operates as a subsidiary
of the Imperial West.

The
brutalized and brutalizing face of Islam in
Pakistan and
Afghanistan
reflects an aridity and brittleness that is doomed to failure. The famed Hindu
resilience after Mumbai 2008 and other less spectacular jihadi assaults is only
an inward understanding of this deeper impotence; Hindus are not afraid of
jihad; the real danger comes from the rampaging and manipulative West.

Crusades continue

Initially,
as Islam spread rapidly westwards, Christian Europe felt the heat. The Crusades
were launched to recover the Holy Land, but more pertinently, to break Muslim
control over the trade routes to Asia .
Christendom lost the Crusades, but Europe’s mercantile class opened the sea
route to the East, and later to Africa , putting
Muslims at bay on two ocean fronts.
Jerusalem was retaken in 1917; Gen. Allenby
famously remarked that the Crusades were finally completed!
Damascus was taken in
1920; the French commander went to the tomb of Salaudin in the Great Mosque and
said: Nous revenons, Salaudin! (We
are back, Salaudin!).

Post Second
World War, the western world encouraged substantial Muslim immigration
for cheap
labour in the wake of prosperity stimulated by the Marshall Plan. Muslim
intellectuals were encouraged to migrate west as ‘dissidents’ against their
respective national regimes (mostly West-supported dictatorships!). Muslim
integration into European civil society was not given a thought then; now
Muslims are a dissatisfied and vocal minority.

Integration
is now seen by both sides as accepting the Default Culture of the West, i.e.,
the culture of Christian Europe, and tailoring Islam to conform to
this culture.
[This formula works with Hindus in
America , Europe, the Gulf, and even

Australia , where Hindus cannot
understand the growing white animosity to their presence there. This is because
most Hindus sundered their links with religion and culture before
leaving the shores of Bharat,
egged on by ambitious parents who valued monetary success above
everything else;
a handful had other reasons].

But Islam is
the last of the Revealed Semitic Faiths – supposedly the Final and most perfect
Revelation – hence marginalised and besieged Muslim groups fight to
retain their
distinctive identity (hijab) and
traditions (multiple marriages, Sharia). Islam challenges western
secularism and
multi-cultural claims with its insistence to live in its own way on soil long
dominated by Christianity; the consequences of this increasing tension cannot
but be volatile.

As part of
its contest with Islam and quest for world dominion, the Christian-Colonial
world made early inroads into the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires. Jesuit
monk Rudolf Acquaviva came to
Agra for religious debates at the invitation of
Emperor Akbar; the Delhi Diocese was established in the reign of Akbar.
Unnoticed by Indian historians, the white missionary and trader were fairly
entrenched in many strategic locations by the time the Mughal Empire formally
declined and the Maratha and Sikh Empires had peaked.

All this
ultimately deepened the religious conflict and triggered revivalist
movements in
Islam, which Europeans proved adept in penetrating and manipulating. Wahabi
Islam and indeed, all militant Muslim movements that have accompanied the rise
of Political Islam in the modern Colonial Era have intensified the de facto
disempowerment of the Muslim world, a reality Muslims cannot wish away, and to
which they accord a frustrated recognition.

Ayatollah
Khomeini’s success in overthrowing the pro-American Pehlavi dynasty failed to
quieten the seething discontent in the Islamic world. As pro-Western Sunni
regimes generally survived the growing radicalization of the Muslim world, the
Khomeini Revolution only intensified the Shia-Sunni divide.

In
India , the traditional
structures of Hindu society (jati,
varna ,
parampara, sampradaya) have the intrinsic elasticity to cope with and
contain sharply divergent cultural streams.
India ’s
unique civilisational ethos has learnt to co-exist with ethnic, racial, and
religious groups (Jews, Parsis, Muslims) that do not desire to be assimilated
into the dominant culture. Muslims have long been negotiating
political space while protecting
their religion and culture. This involved delicate balancing and was possible
only because, as Aristotle observed (Politics), Hindus were the only people
in the world to have successfully made dharma the basis of their public life.
To this day, this remains
India ’s default cultural trait; it
survived the colonial divide-and-rule that inhibited Muslims from
adjusting to a
larger pan-Indian unity.

The
Christian West is incapable of accommodating the growing assertion of
socio-cultural-religious identity by its Muslim population. Hence cultural
pluralism, the suspension of the dominant cultural-civilisational framework so
other groups can find space to define themselves, has to make way for a more
overt assertion of Europe’s traditional Christian identity. In reaction,
pan-Islamism compresses the religious traditions of Muslim groups into a
one-dimensional Arabized identity to respond to the West’s economic-political
hegemony in Muslim countries and regions where Muslims are minority
populations.

As a
corollary, the overt assertion of the West’s Christian identity is a natural
extension of continuing Western economic, cultural, and religious imperialism.
Hence the rising budgets for evangelism in non-Christian countries like India,
Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Myanmar, but also Muslim regions like Pakistan,
Afghanistan, Indonesia (first East Timor, now Aceh), and our own Srinagar
Valley.

It is in
this context alone that one must view the frenzied French ban on head
scarves in
2004, on the plea that it involved the submission of women, and the even more
specious argument that the harsh lampooning of the Prophet in a Danish magazine
in 2005 was about free speech.

Pigeons come home to roost

For
Europe , the pigeons have come home to roost.
After decades of strenuous denial that religion is crucial in shaping national
identity, and that the religion and culture of the majority must
legitimately be
the dominant identity in multi-religious societies like
India , Europe is
in a blue funk trying to manufacture a discourse over national identity without
using the word ‘religion.’ Best of luck.

The truth is
that religion is the bedrock of identity, and religion always expresses itself
in culture. Islam cannot accept Christian culture without accepting Christian
faith.

Another
unpleasant truth is that religion cannot be kept out of the public domain,
because it is not an individual or family affair, but has social and community
aspects that demand expression and respect. The European Union’s 20 million
Muslims are giving goose-bumps to 500 million Christians. Long centuries of
familiarity and common descent from the Patriarch Abraham have failed
to yield a
common ground of mutual respect and peaceful coexistence. One country wants to
put the Cross on its national flag.

Things can
only get worse. The post 9/11 ‘War on Terror’ is viewed by both Muslims and
Christians as another Crusade – a symbol of the West’s failure to separate the
religious from the political.

For Islam,
this is a moment of catharsis and choice. Islam stands at a major crossroad in
its historical trajectory. Hitherto, it has been Janus-faced like the Greek god
who looked simultaneously east and west.

Those days
of luxury – of hating the west and hurting the east – are now over. To survive
as a viable religion, culture, polity, Islam must free its own lands
and peoples
from the vice-like grip of the Crusaders and the Capitalists who are its real
tormentors and oppressors. It must deny itself the temptation of
crushing ‘soft’
targets like
India that have the resilience and
the resources to bounce back and to hit back.

Islam will
do well to concentrate its fight on the Arabian peninsula, the European
mainland, and the United
States . Hindus should think in terms of
restoring the Hindu civilisational frontier up to eastern
Persia in the west,
Myanmar and
Nepal in the east and
Tibet in the
north.

The writer
is Editor, http://www.vijayvaani.com

Advertisements

One Response to “Christianity: West’s Default Religion”

  1. M. C. Dewedy Says:

    The analysis overlooks one simple truth that the Islam in Europe has become a force only because of the State being separated from Religion in the west- and, in the ultimate analysis, this is secularism. So the fact that most of the Europe is secular cannot be denied. For a peaceful coexistence in the world the Islam has got to be secularised- whatever the means and methods.
    Secondly the real danger to Hinduism is neither from Christianity or from Islam but from within- both from casteist Hindus and caste-based politics streangthened by caste-based reservations. Unless this scourge is done away with, there is no hope for Hindu religion.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: