The War of Two Pagan World-Views
One of the most interesting aspects of the conflict between the West and Islam is the inability of the Western authorities and its Chattering Classes to "get inside the mind" of their opponents. Whilst this is not an uncommon phenomenon in general, in this case it seems particularly acute.
The secular Western mind is besotted with ideas of liberty, equality, and fraternity; with universal human rights which we make up as we go along; with humanitarianism; with the inevitable triumph of progressivism around the globe; and with a millennarian future for the human race wherein the nation state is anticipated falling away, to be replaced by a united world governed by the the General Assembly of the United Nations. The Western mindset naturally expects the Islamic world to "fit in" with this grand millennial scheme. It approaches Islamic nations and peoples with the presumption that, once the West proves itself to be a genuine, honest broker of this utopian world-view, the Islamic world will fall right into line.
What the West has comprehensively failed to grasp is that Islam also has a world view that comprises deeply held beliefs about where the world is going and what is going to be its end point. This view is besotted with the idea that the secularist West will be crushed; that Islam will triumph around the globe; that there is a bright millennarian future for the human race which revolves around the scimitar of Allah.
Efraim Karsh summarises the actual Islamic worldview at work in the world today:
There was, of course, a time when Arabism and Islam were fully synonymous, but these days have long since ended. Islam has traveled far from its origins to become a thriving universal religion boasting a worldwide community of believers of whom Arabs are but a small minority. The last great Muslim empire may have been destroyed and the caliphate left vacant, but the Islamic imperial dream of world domination has remained very much alive in the hearts and minds of many Muslims as evidenced by the proliferation (in the face of persistent repression by authorities) of numerous religious groups and organizations throughout the Middle East and the Islamic world. [Ephraim Karsh, Islamic Imperialism: A History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), p.235f.]This dominant worldview of Islam and the Islamic world is what the woeful President Obama thought he could dismantle by uttering a few cheery sentiments about Western love and acceptance. In other words, Obama condescendingly assumed that the hard reality beneath Islamic nations and culture was, in fact, a genuine, universal longing to be part of the West's millennarian utopia. "Treat them nicely, and with respect, and they will flock to your banner." Such condescension, typical of the West in general, is breathtaking.
If one were sitting in Saudi Arabia today, the universalist hope of Islam would look brighter than ever.
As immigration, conversion, and higher rates of child birth have greatly increased the number of Muslims within Europe . . . prophecies of Islam's eventual triumph over the West have become commonplace. Since the late 1980's various Islamic movements in France . . . have begun to view the growing number of French Muslims as a sign that the country has become a part of the House of Islam. This message has been echoed by the creation of an extensive European network of mosques, schools, and Islamic charities by the Muslim Brothers over the past fifty years.The Western secularist mindset is that all religions are false and are products of systemic ignorance. The idea that a religion (apart from secularism) might dominate the world is risible. Its grand presumption is that when the winds of (Western) thought, culture and philosophy blow upon the average Muslim and the Islamic community, Islam will fall away like the worn out clothes of a child.
In Germany, which extended a warm welcome to the scores of Islamists fleeing persecution in their home countries, the Muslim Brothers have successfully established themselves, with ample Saudi financing, as the effective voice of the three million-strong Muslim community. . . . In the autumn of 2003, the German public was shocked to learn of the racist and anti-Western messages inculcated in young Muslim children inside Saudi-funded mosques and schools when a journalist infiltrates the King Fahd Academy in Bonn and videotaped classroom teaching.
Americans were similarly taken aback by a series of exposes of the supremacist teachings of Islamic schools across the United States, which, among other things, disparaged Christianity and Judaism and alienated children from Western society and culture. In fact, one needs to look no further than the Muslim Brothers' English-language internet homepage, which notes the restoration of the caliphate and the "mastering [of] the world with Islam" as the organization's primary goals. [Ibid., p. 236-7]
The history of God's people and the writings of the Bible recording that history are replete with God raising up pagan nations (Syria, Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt) to punish the apostasy of Israel and Judah. The apostasy of the West from the Christian faith is now a full throated roar. Islam may indeed turn out to be God's servant to punish the West for its idolatry and apostasy. In fact, it would be an unexpected outcome were it not to the case.