31 July 2007

Emergent Qaeda; or Why the Christian Right Is al Qaeda's Ally and Enemy

According to Frank Pastore, al Qaeda supports the Emergent Church - I read it on the internet, so it must be true!

I love sarcasm, so when I came upon Jordan Green's response, I giggled like a schoolgirl for nearly ten minutes. Especially this little tidbit on fundamentalist Christianity and Islam: "They both think Jesus was alright, but he didn’t kick enough ass."

For those with neither the time nor attention span to read either of the articles, I will attempt to summarize: Frank Pastore claims that radical Islam is bent on converting the world (caution: those who are allergic to BS may want to stop reading here) and that only America can stop it. And out of the Americans, only the conservatives, and more specifically, the Conservative Christians, are capable of stopping this threat (I get the feeling that radical Muslims believe they are the only ones who can save the world from conservative Christians). Pastore goes on to claim that Christianity is the driving force of the world, from Constantine to Bush, and that all art and philosophy owe Christianity (which, in turn, owes the ancient Greeks, especially the Athenians, namely Plato; this is, of course, excepting Aquinas, who owes Muslims, who in turn owe Aristotle, who owes Plato - longer train, same destination). Of course, what Pastore is really saying is that the gun is the only way to solve anything, and conservative Christians are the only people with the balls to pull the trigger. Accordingly, he claims that the Emergent, post-modern Christians would rather sit around and talk over coffee, and is therefore willing to let al Qaeda take over the world.

He's right. I would much rather sit around over coffee and talk rather than fight, though I would not nod "in agreement that America probably deserved to die". And while I disagree with some of the more liberal leaders of post-modern Christianity over just war theory, even I would rather feed the hungry than kill the warlord who's starving them. But I doubt that this is what al Qaeda wants, for a group of the supposed enemy to do good deeds. To build up an army of angry youth, you need one thing - angry youth. And it's hard to be pissed at the person who just taught you better farming techniques, dug a well in your town, and is now treating you to coffee (an amazing similarity between the Middle East and the US).

Pastore claims that post-modern Christianity dislikes truth, knowledge, science, authority, doctrine, institutions, and religion. That's an out-right lie. Anybody who's ever spoken with a post-modern Christian will know that they are searching for truth and knowledge, depend on science, respect the authority of God, and even hold their own doctrines (though they don't force them on others as a means of salvation). Granted, I don't much care for institutionalized religion, but neither did Jesus.

In the essay, the Emergent Church is summarized this way:
"Bottom line, it's feelings over thoughts, the heart over the head, experience over truth, deeds over creeds, narratives over propositions, the corporate over the individualistic, being inclusive rather than exclusive, with none of that offensive 'in versus out' language, such as those who are “saved” and those who are 'not saved,' or even the most divisive of all referents–'Christian' and 'non-Christian.'" I'm still waiting for the bad part.

No, post-modern Christianity is probably actually a pretty big threat to Wahabi Islam. Instead, the abuses of the Christian Right provide al Qaeda with all of the pissed-off youth the could ever need. It's easy to be mad at the person who calls for war instead of peace, the person who doesn't respect your point of view and brands your faith as evil, the person who, even accidentally, bombs your village. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we should just throw down our weapons and leave Iraq and Afghanistan. But I do think if we focus more on humanitarian missions instead of detaining prisoners, we would notice a lot less angry teens. As both fundamentalist Islam and fundamentalist Christianity compete for the control of governments and corporations, it will become a war of attrition - and the Islamic side has a lot more kids to anger.

Rock on.

1 comment:

John said...

I don't agree with your public policy proposals, but I would like to see something like an emerging church movement within Islam. I can't imagine an emergent suicide bomber.