From an Email to a Muslim Correspondent

“There are a series of assent-propositions that lead up to religious adherence, whether one goes down the classical philosophical or the fideist route. The atheist does not get any further than opposition to the first step on that journey. The agnostic, on the other hand, puts it all to one side as “terra incognita”. I know one or two individuals who are, following their own moral code, “enlightened” pagans with behaviour-patterns utterly indistinguishable from those of atheists. What they’ve done is to accept that materialism is not sufficient to explain reality (which it isn’t) and recognise that ultimate meaning is discernible, but then stop short, as they are not prepared to cede the necessity of, therefore, submitting to God’s will: they still appear to think that God exists for man’s purpose, not man for God’s purpose. I think they’re more contemptible than (genuinely ignorant or modernity-conditioned) atheists. It’s all a sort of consequence-free philosophical parlour-game for them since they chuckle over the notion of revelation as the final piece of the jigsaw and, instead, regard it as wholly superfluous.

There are, of course, as many diversions of theological and jurisprudence views in Christianity as there are in Islam. I think the difference, right now, is that the West is busily, viciously, dismantling its own spiritual tradition from within. I think the Marxist postmodernists in the West will have a shock because Islam is now set fair, over the next few generations, to fill that vacuum for them. And, to be honest, for a traditional Catholic, provided the Islam that triumphs is not of the Sunni Salafist or Shia Jihadist school, then the society it produces could well be a huge improvement over the incoherent mess we’ve currently got. At least it’s theist and morally coherent. Naturally, I favour an internal restoration of traditional Catholic values, but I don’t see any real prospect of it happening.

The current Pope tries to be all things to all men. Still, one respects the office and prays for him. As for the Old and New Testament; God reveals his nature to men through scripture in a progressive revelation culminating in the Incarnation. The new covenant fulfils, rather than replaces, the old covenant. The idea of a wrathful, jealous, desert God is simply the interpretation had, at that time, by the tribes of Israel who first bore witness. I don’t think God, of his very essence, can actually be wrathful, jealous etc. There is the question of Christ, hypostasis, and His position of course; but these would lead me into the whole Triune God issue and the Mystery of Faith.”

Mark S.


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