The Foundation Of Western Culture: God Made Man In His Own Image
A wonderful piece of sculpture adorning the cathedral of Chartres represents Adam, head and shoulders barely roughed out, emerging from the earth from which he was made and being molded by the hands of God. The face of the first man reproduces the features of his modeler. This parable in stone translates for the eyes the mysterious words of Genesis:
"God made man in His own image and likeness."
From its earliest beginnings, Christian tradition has not ceased to annotate this verse, recognizing in it our first title of nobility and the foundation of our greatness. Reason, liberty, immortality, and dominion over nature are so many prerogatives of divine origin that God has imparted to his creatures.
Establishing man, from the outset, in God's likeness, each of these prerogatives is meant to grow and unfold until the divine resemblance is brought to perfection. Thus they are the key to the highest of destinies.
"Man, know thyself!" Taking up, after Epicetetus, the Church tranformed and deepened it, so that what had been chiefly a piece of moral advice became an exhortation to form a metaphysical judgement. Know yourself, said the Church, that is to say, know your nobility and you dignity, understand the greatness of your being and your vocation, of that vocation which constitutes your being. Learn how to see in yourself the spirit, which is a reflection of God, made for God.
"O man, scorn not that which is admirable in you! You are a poor thing in your own eyes, but I would teach you that in reality you are a great thing... Realize what you are! Consider your royal dignity! The heavens have not been made in God's image, nor the moon, nor the sun, nor anything to be seen in creation... Behold, of all that exists, there is nothing that can contain your greatness."
I invite Midnight Rider to comment and contribute to the main body of this post.
"If It Looks Like a Duck. . ."
Western Culture is in a fight for survival against Islam. As Islam is now. No one here denies that.
However, if we begin to surrender or ignore the basic tenents of Western Culture, tenents based on the Judeo-Christian model if you will, just to win, then for what are we fighting? If we abandon core beliefs then they have won by allowing ourselves to destroy Western Culture.
We understand taqiyya, understand it is practiced and used as a weapon against us. But Christine's post below is an excellent example that not every Muslim who speaks out against Islam is attempting to fool us.
To deny that there are peaceful Muslims, that Muslims can change or can disagree with the violent aspects of their faith, is to deny that "each of these prerogatives is meant to grow and unfold until the divine resemblance is brought to perfection". It denies the free will God gave to man. And the directive that man is to grow and become more like God.
For myself I do not hate Muslims. I hate Islam. Islam as it exists. But for individuals I will take a man as he is. To do so otherwise is to deny that God created that individual the same as he created me. To lessen that individual's worth absent any information that he intends me harm.
To turn on an entire group of people, to call for their extermination simply because of the way they dress or the region of the world they hail from or the name they have without further inquiry into each individual's beliefs is an ideology we saw in the middle of the 20th Century.
Does that mean we question every Muslim as to what they believe? Of course not. If a man ia pointing an AK-47 at you, or was takenon the battlefield, or in a raid on a planning meeting "I do not believe in Jihad" is not going to work.
But if a man walking down the street or working in your office says it, that may be quite another matter. And unless he demostrates in some way he is practicing taqiyya or is intent on harm it is both against our Laws, our Culture and God's Know Thyself to assume otherwise. Will you shun or chastise or call for the interment of a woman in the next cubicle simply because she wears a hijab? Should you then shun chastise or inter an Amish or Mennonite woman for keeping their head covered?
Western Culture, Western Law, would say neither is violating a law here. So should one be treated less equally than the other absent information that one is specifically intent on doing harm?
-- Midnight Rider
Of late it seems many are lashing out blindly in rage. Being consumed by hatred. Some of this may be in part because our current government seems more eager to appease Islam than confront it. This is also true to some degree of the previous administration.
I contend hatred is good and helpful provided it is directed at the right place. But if we allow rational thought to disappear from the discourse, if we do not think through our words and actions, if we misdirect that hatred, then we are already lost.
It's certainly worthwhile launching an ideological and philosophical attack on Islam, although whether Muslims will be easily persuaded by rational arguments is very much open to question.
Islam is a pre-rational and mind-numbing tribal ideology of power and subjugation, which provides its adherents with divine justification for all manner of criminality.
Given the attractions of rape, pillage and enslavement (and the generally high levels of illiteracy and low levels of intelligence among Muslims brought on by inbreeding), engaging them in rational arguments may be no more fruitful than discussing theology with a group of violent village idiots.
When Pope Benedict stated that that not only is violence in spreading faith unreasonable and therefore against God, but that a conception of God without reason, or above reason, leads to that very violence - the Muslims rioted.
Even Muslim 'intellectuals' are committed to irrationalism in the form of 'occasionalism' which denies the existence of natural laws of cause and effect.
Is it any wonder that Muslims, despite their numbers, are totally incompetent at science?
One of the most amazing things about the universe is that it is understandable in terms of mathematics. Buddhists and Judeo-Christians have (different) rational explanations why this should be so, but Muslim theologians with their commitment to an irrational God just cannot deal with this aspect of reality.
For Muslims, "the choice between Islam and reason was made long ago, and remember: it was Islam that won then. The question before us now is, will Islam win against reason today? "