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Faith, Greed, and History


I have been doing research for my newest novel – reading books from the post-Jesus era to the Crusades, and on into the 1500s and 1600s, relating to the global expansion of Spain, Britain, the Dutch, and Islam – all of whom shared diametrically opposed philosophies on religion (and murdered each other enthusiastically over those beliefs). I came to realize, sadly, that throughout modern history the common denominator for the destruction of man has been man’s inherent desire to convince other people to adopt his particular religion. That not being possible, raining death and destruction down on nonbelievers was the next best solution – perfectly acceptable – admired, actually. Today’s problems are not just a product of the times, but a distinctively distasteful characteristic of our species.  We have always possessed an inexplicable passion for faith (ours being the only true one), and we’ve continually shared the need to be conquering somebody. Religion was as good an excuse as any – actually better, because it has provided a sense of righteousness for our greed and mayhem.

However, without any particular prejudice I can say that Christianity, along with several other faiths, such as Hinduism, Judaism, and Buddhism, no longer find the need to dismantle cultures that don’t adhere to their beliefs, and the world is better for it. But there is one ideology that has bloomed into a fire-hardened faith and still maintains the old standards of destruction to all non- believers (and world conquest) – Islam. It’s an ideology that feeds on malevolence and ancient grudges, because Islam, by all rights (with the exception of one major conflict and one historic battle), should have been the dominant faith of today.

Few people understand that “The Battle of Tours” on the Iberian Peninsula in 732 AD, in which Frankish leader Charles Markel defeated Emir Abd al Rahan and the invading forces of Islam in a final, decisive battle, preserved Christianity as the dominant religion in Europe, and the world. At that time Islam was a powerful ideology, grasping faith in one hand and raw conquest in the other, having rolled over most of the Middle-Eastern world and some of Asia. The European Crusaders fought the advance of Islam to a standstill, and fortunately most of the battles took place on Muslim soil, destroying much of the Islamic culture and their remarkable cities in the process.

But Europe was on the ropes, regardless – exhausted, nearly out of viable soldiers, and praying for a miracle. The miracle came in the form of “The Battle of Tours,” and marked a final, all-out attempt by Islam to take Europe, invading through what is now Spain with its last great army. Long story short, the Muslims lost a battle they should have won, and Christianity was preserved. But Christianity survived and flourished mainly because of one important aspect – the nature of Islam. Aside from what the Inmans in America will tell you, Islam was, and is, an ideology that respects only men, and relies heavily on distinctions. All the knowledge of the great Muslim empire was invested in a handful of men – not boys, not women (never women), just men, and as the empire collapsed in front of the devastating Crusades, most all of the individuals in power were killed, and all the knowledge they had acquired over centuries was lost in the fire and dust of devastated cities. In addition, the power and the wealth of the empire evaporated, leaving a people who had no access to the mechanics of math, science, astrology, and medicine their culture had produced, and gradually they all slid back into the desert, to their anonymous, distrustful tribes and their hide tents. Their power was gone.

But that wasn’t the end of the story, because in the early 1900s a new financial god appeared – oil – and most of the oil that we knew of at that time was in the Middle East. Inside a century we took a vanquished enemy and their weakened, acrimonious religion and made them powerful all over again. Moreover, we gave them back the one thing they needed desperately to continue their world conquest – money.

The worst aspect of this all circles back to the ugliest part of man’s nature – greed that masquerades as religion. Islam has risen from the ashes on the backs of oil and greed. As sad as it is, money often trumps morality and honor – even faith and love of country. Do you really believe that our politicians, attorneys, and higher education department heads are creating all these insensible new edicts that protect and promote Islam within America because they like Islam? I’m reminded of a quote by the novelist, Ann Rand: “Money is the barometer of society’s virtue.”

While Islam coalesces and grows stronger, America continues to turn from faith and fracture. A faith is little different from a country – its people have to support it. They have to be willing to sacrifice for it. When you live in a country where half the people want the Ten Commandments and the mention of God stricken from every public edifice and all our learning institutions, then it’s safe to say Christianity in America has a problem.

I want to ask a question of those who have simply turned a blind eye to the radical changes in this nation – as long as the government check was still coming in, or there was a place at the money trough: How easily can you learn to speak Arabic? How comfortable are you with owning a prayer mat and praying to Allah six times a day? How good are you with the concept of your grandchildren living in an America where Islam is the dominant faith?

A faithless nation has nothing to grasp, to rally around, in an attempt to defeat an enemy. The enemy is here, and they’re just tickled with our attitude.

The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the ownership and staff of The Polk County Pulse. Michael Reisig is a freelance writer and published author whose works are reproduced throughout the globe.