An Excellent Article

On religion and war, on why the 21st century will see the resurgence and not the death of faith, and on what Christians, Jews, and Muslims should do to make that resurgence wise. The author is a rabbi, and a thoughtful one.


Ymar Sakar said...

Another barbarian invasion plus interregnum usually does see the rise of true believers and the benefit of strong faith.

Not so good for technology or gender equality, however.

Ymar Sakar said...

From the picture in the article, they are missing the Japanese swords and the Chinese jians.

But maybe that's better that they did ignore them.

Ymar Sakar said...

There was a story during Saladin's time that the Syrian steel Islam stole from the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia, was light and held an edge good enough to cut through a silk handkerchief in the air.

Whereas the European steels were blunt edged, after having moved several some odd seas over from Rome and Europe, to the Middle East. The more rigid sharper welded steel broke might have broke, leaving the softer ones that couldn't hold an edge well. But irregardless of the cause, European steel swords used by the Hospitallers and the various other Crusader knight orders, were said to be rather blunt and unsharp.

Yet through fanaticism and pure strength of body, they could still use them to cut through the body of the enemy.

Given that it is easy for practitioners of melee bladed weapons to cut through soft material with a blunt edged sword, that isn't quite as mythical as it appears.

The Romans often had trouble fighting barbarians that were skilled at H2H and who wielded large bronze or alloyed iron great swords, that merely smashed through the guard of the Roman legion and crushed their shield shoulder via force of impact, not cutting edges. To the extent that the Romans modified their lorica armor to compensate.

The European history of warfare developed through continuous raids by Vikings and Islamic hordes. I find it interesting that the European focus on material edges, strong steel armor, and brute force impact came after surviving such periods. By the time of full plate, not even the Turkish Empire could fight back the European military might. A rather interesting turn around, after Islamic Jihad had conquered several continents worth of slaves.

Tom said...

It is a good article. I'm not sure what I think about it, because I'm not sure what the real situation is within Islam.

Also, this sounds very familiar, but in a different context:

What then should we do? We must put the same long-term planning into strengthening religious freedom as was put into the spread of religious extremism. The proponents of radical Islam have worked for decades to marginalize the more open, gracious, intellectual and mystical traditions that in the past were the source of Islam’s greatness.

It has been a strategy remarkable for its long time-horizon, precision, patience and dedication. If moderation and religious freedom are to prevail, they will require no less. We must train a generation of religious leaders and educators who embrace the world in its diversity and sacred texts in their maximal generosity.

This sounds very much like recent calls from the American right for a counter-march through the institutions the left now controls.

Nevertheless, it's difficult to see this coming from education alone. The radical Islamists have embraced violence as one of their chief tools, and I have a difficult time seeing how to meet that challenge except with greater violence. I think that the Islamic world will only train the leaders he calls for when the radicals are defeated.

Ymar Sakar said...

I think that the Islamic world will only train the leaders he calls for when the radicals are defeated.

The Sunni and Shia imams must be eliminated, and a caliphate created with an Islamic heretic (Like Yazidis) as secular leader and religious head (like the pope is the head of Catholicism).

With that imposed structure, the heresies of Sunni and Shia islam can be completely eradicated in 100-500 years. Assuming one doesn't die in the process to a battle.

Tom said...

The problem, Ymar, is that your plan might make a good novel, but it doesn't seem like more than that to me. How do you see that happening?