Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

The Voice of the People Is the Voice of God

I found this post on The Importance of Iraq by Andres Gentry, via Instapundit.

Commenting on Amir Taheri's column on Islamist ideology, Mr. Gentry comments, "It's interesting to see the main reason for why al-Qaeda hates America: it is a secular democracy; and even more interesting to see what al-Qaeda believes is essentially wrong with secular democracy: people are treated as essentially autonomous beings that are the source of sovereignty (rather than God being the source of sovereignty and superceding, through His law, any of the silly passions that might excite His creatures)."

So I went and read the column, and read this:

What Al-Ayyeri sees now is a "clean battlefield" in which Islam faces a new form of unbelief. This, he labels "secularist democracy." This threat is "far more dangerous to Islam" than all its predecessors combined. The reasons, he explains in a whole chapter, must be sought in democracy's "seductive capacities."

This form of "unbelief" persuades the people that they are in charge of their destiny and that, using their collective reasoning, they can shape policies and pass laws as they see fit. That leads them into ignoring the "unalterable laws" promulgated by God for the whole of mankind, and codified in the Islamic shariah (jurisprudence) until the end of time.

I disagree somewhat with Mr. Gentry. It is possible to believe deeply in God's sovereignty without thinking God created us to be robots. I'd say from reading the column that it seems that Al-Qaeda believes that God did not give them intelligence and reason so that they can actually use them. They do not see humans as both fallen creatures and creatures created in God's image, with mighty power for good or ill; no, we are God's mistake. They seem to have an actual version to the exercise of free will, at least by people not in al-Qaeda. God forbid that God should give people a choice; and since God did give it, they mean to do their best to repair the mistake by taking it away. That is why they regard democracy as a Bad Thing. It just makes us humans uppity. In short, it sounds like the sort of thing an hostile atheist would make up to discredit religious people.

There's a few obvious fallacies here that even a non-Islamic person can pick out. Submission to God's will means nothing if it is not chosen freely. You can't make someone else's choices. Meanwhile, if your people really are virtuous and do God's will, they are probably virtuous and wise enough to do a good job with elections. If they're not, they at least have some God-given intelligence, and God can always express His will however He chooses. By restricting the use of human free will and intelligence, al-Qaeda insults God and does not exalt, but rather, attempts to restrict His sovereignty and right to create the world as He desired, not as we would have it. They are the blasphemy and unbelief they claim to fight against.

But then, al-Qaeda and their buddies don't really believe in logic or philosophy or any of the other glories of Islamic civilization back in the day. I wonder if they realize just how much the Caliphate they look back to would have despised them and their kind.

No, I suppose not. God forbid they use the brains they resent God for giving them.


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