From The Gathering Storm
What makes Islam tick? And what can we learn about it that will help us understand those that adhere to it and learn more about the threat it poses to the civilized world. Muslims claim that Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion. If true; why? What attracts so many converts from around the world to this belief system?
The answer can be found in two concepts: Decidophobia and a thirst for a Path to God.
In a conversation about Islam with a colleague of mine recently, he said that his brother-in-law recently converted to Islam. But this was not a normal conversion. For his brother-in-law, up to that time, was an atheist. He wondered about such drastic change from one extreme to the other and I said it was most probably due to Decidophobia and the hollowness in his sprit that had little to believe in except humanistic secularism.
Decidophobia is the morbid dread of making fateful decisions – an ostrich like defense that drives people to seek refuge from decisions in a religious or ideological conformity. The term was created by Walter Kaufman in his book ‘Without Guilt and Justice”. Most of the book is about living the autonomous life based on the philosophy of Nietzsche. But the very first chapter explains the concept of Decidophobia.
The objective of the Decidophobic is to make one major decision, and only one major decision, so that he does not have to make another major decision in his or her life ever again. One strategy is to join a religion or a movement. One that has a set of finely prescribed behaviors that circumscribe one’s actions and offers an earthly or heavenly reward for the true believer. If a person is adrift without personal bearings and can not function in a chaotic ethical and moral environment that is perceived to have no absolutes – much like we have today – he or she will seek a belief system that offers a safe haven in this storm of relativism.
Islam fills that void.
It is a strict religion that offers paradise and a sense of meaning in life to those who adhere to the simple pillars of its faith. Islam also presents to its followers a person whose life can be imitated and acts as a blue print to achieve the promise of paradise. But there is another form of ‘religion’ that is just as powerful and offers the reward of paradise here on earth. That is the belief in a strong secular ideology also led by a man to emulate – and even worship - and follow in his footsteps. Examples of these ideologies are Nazism with Hitler and Maoism with Mao Zedong.
Both of these belief systems are the answer to one suffering with Decidophobia. There is even an instruction manual for the Decidophobic that relieves him or her of any future personal decisions. The beliefs revealed and the instructions are clear in their ‘bibles’. Mein Kampf, Mao’s Little Red Book, and the Koran. These belief systems are now the Decidophobic’s community, their country that they dwell within surrounded by fellow citizens of their little nation.
And the word nation is not used lightly here.
Take Islam. The nation of Muslims is the nation of Islam – or the Ummah. Ever wonder why the Islamists are so vehement about nationalism as practiced today? Quite simple. It runs counter to the concept of the nation of Islam. A true Muslim can not be a citizen of two nations at once. Mohammed condemned the concept of nationalism in any and all forms. The recent jihadist condemnation of the World Soccer Cup is a case in point.
“Claiming that soccer plants the seeds of nationalism, and is therefore part of a "colonial crusader scheme" to divide Muslims and cause them to stray from the vision of a unified Islamic identity, the Jihadist website told readers: "The sad fact of the matter is that many Muslims have fallen for this new religion and they too carry the national flag.”
This might seem silly to us but it fits nicely into their goal to stop Muslims from straying from their true nation, that of Islam. Which brings up the concept of the Path to God that dovetails perfectly with the Islamist view that the destruction of the secular world is the necessary first step in creating an Islamic utopia on earth.
Why are the Islamists so concerned with the secular view of the world? Yes, we say it’s because it promotes freedom and democracy and Islam can not coexist with it, etc. etc. But why? What are the religious grounds for this? That is to say, how can secularism be a threat to the Muslim’s path to God?
The Hindus have recognized for centuries four paths - or ways - to self-development and spiritual growth - the Way of Action, the Way of Love, the Way of Knowledge, and the Way of Mind Control or Meditation. Islam uses primarily the Way of Action. In the book entitled ‘The One Quest’ written by Claudio Naranjo, the two approaches to ‘right action’ are the one of discipline, duty, injunctions and restraint; and the other it’s direct opposite, the one of self-expression, self-trust, and unconstraint. In the latter case, freedom itself can lead to the goal of self-improvement of the spirit by providing the greatest opportunity for experience and choice.
Guess which ‘right action’ is the choice of Islam and why it’s current choice of the path to spiritual development will be extremely difficult to integrate into a world filled with the thirst for freedom? Yep – the approach of discipline, duty, injunctions and restraint – the direct opposite of what modern western style culture exhibits today.
Our modern day culture believes that self-improvement – at least in the physical realm - can only be achieved by the greatest opportunity for experience and personal choice, unrestricted by any discipline, duty, injunction or restraint. Taken to extremes, one approach leads to the restriction of everything, the other, the permissiveness of everything.
Clash of civilizations? You bet. Clash of paths to self-improvement? You bet.
The outlook is not good for any kind of integration of the two ‘approaches’. Take the way of action that demands discipline, duty, injunctions and restraint – that is, the removal of any and all physical world distractions (including the female body) and entities (nationalism) that would hinder the true believer’s goal of reaching paradise - and we have the Taliban. Allow freedom to disintegrate into license and we are left with the nihilism of Nietzsche.
One approach leads to a constipated, restricted, dead culture – Islam. The other to the chaos of relativism where moral equivalency, political correctness and multiculturalism prevent the perception of what’s right and what’s wrong. Neither extreme assists both the individual or society’s spirit reach its fullest potential.
Finally, both extreme belief systems, theocratic and secular, are two sides of the same coin. Islam sees religion and the state as one and the same. Their book of beliefs dictates how society should function. Secular extremism like Nazi Germany and Maoist China operated the same way. The leader’s belief and the function of the state were direct results of the ‘bibles’ of Mein Kampf and the Little Red Book.