Proof 1 – The First World:
With all of its fairly stenchy warts and wobbles, the “Western World” (i.e.: North America and western Europe) is the “go to” spot for the world’s down and outers. As the Muslim world implodes on itself they are not rushing Chinese or African borders, they are going “west.” Before our modern refugee crisis, the West was still the epicenter of cultural, commercial and scientific revolutions that had never occurred anywhere else. And it did so while it was predominantly gripped by a Christian worldview. It was a Christianized Roman Empire that began reforming from barbarism towards the slowly evolving European world which eventually gave birth to British Common Law, the U.S.’s Bill of Rights and the United Nations Charter of Human Rights. Nowhere on planet earth today – or in history – have people enjoyed greater protection under the law from their governments than here in the “First” or “Western” world. Atheistic thinkers such as Harvard’s Steven Pinker readily admit that judeo-christian ethics are the foundation of North American and European views of mankind’s special position in the natural realm. Pinker is a radical philosopher that would sacrifice a handicapped baby in order to save the life of a non-handicapped one.1 This type of triage occurs all the time in societies that do not see humans as possessing a different value than animals and things.
Humans having the Image of God is a distinctly judeo-christian notion that formed the inspiration behind the value and protection westerners enjoy that Indians living in the Caste system do not. That non-Muslims in the Muslim world do not. That citizens in atheistic communist regimes do not. Without the special nature of men and women resulting from God’s creating them with a unique quality not present in the animal kingdom, humans are left to find their degree of importance within their society. How useful are you? Usually, in totalitarian regimes like Nazi Germany or communist Russia and China, this depends on your health, intelligence and/or productivity. The ant hill is supremely more important than any one ant because the ant hill greatly outlives individual ants. Yet Christendom reverses this equation on its head. Any one individual is eternal and will outlast even the greatest earthly empire.
By connecting the dots of the judeo-Christian worldview, the Christian world developed a theory of public life that is the envy of those stuck in oppressive systems. Remember that the first civilization to ever outright ban race-based slavery was the western Christian world. The Arab middle east – by contrast – had slavery until the 1960’s. Ideologies that are based on the biblical worldview have a tendency to infuse freedoms and individual protections that increase human flourishing. Although far from perfect, the modern western world stands out in medical, financial and cultural achievements as well as legal justice when compared to the remainder of the planet.
Coincidence, right? It just happened that enough time had gone by for people to experiment with economics, music and science and Europe just happened to be going through its bible fling at the time of multiple breakthroughs. Right?
Egypt, China, India and the Aztec world all had long standing empires for hundreds and even thousands of years and they did not revolutionize human justice or natural sciences. All of these ancient civilizations developed basic math, astronomical observations, some engineering tricks and mediocre medical treatments. Yet they all hit a similar roof. They circulated the same pond without significant breakthroughs.
The Greco-roman world made some interesting stabs at uncovering fundamental rules to reality. Atomic theory, heliocentrism and serious musing about ethics was begun by these proto-europeans. Yet it took over 1000 years of marinating in Christendom for human thought to birth a lively scientific revolution. And this breakthrough was caused by Christian worldview specifics, not merely happen to coincide with it on a timeline.
Many cultural historians credit St. Thomas of Aquinas with laying the groundwork for the scientific revolution that changed our world. And this is where Christianity comes in. Most worldviews, including those of ancient Babylon, Greece, Islam, the pagan animism of South American and African tribes as well as the Naturalist Chinese held to erroneous views about nature. They saw it either as an outflow of chaotic forces or as behaving according to the whims of a god or group of gods. Underlying their philosophy of nature was not order but changing moods and unknowable forces. As we can appreciate, this was not conducive to looking for fixed laws in nature. Sure, watching stars and planets move allowed these cultures to spot repeatable patterns, but when they looked at the flesh of animals or the dirt and rocks of earth, they did not have the frame of mind to seek for the clockwork of physics for an explanation. To them, things were as the gods wanted them to be at any given time. Changes in weather were due to divine mood, not the playing out of laws.
Modern physics teaches that an incredibly strict set of unchanging laws underlie all of nature. Now, how does this relate to Aquinas and his Christian worldview? Well, the Old Testament repeatedly espouses a view of nature that parallels our modern scientific perspective and stiffly contradicts other ancient worldviews. One such example is found in Proverbs 3:19-20:
By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place;
by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.
The Hebrew words “wisdom,” “understanding” and “knowledge” draw a picture of God detached from Nature in the sense that He uses “intelligence” and not direct brute force or magic. God uses information to fashion life. This differs from ancient Babylonian and Greek creation myths. No accidental bleeding during a divine war (i.e.: Babylonian creation myth) no dead giant’s skull forming the sky (i.e.: Norse mythology) or the direct fashioning of the world by God’s actual hands. But the distant and detached use of knowledge. Given the mode of thought of Jewish and Christian thinkers, it would appear that their view of the world aligned them with the notion of seeking knowable, observable laws that were themselves not gods or forces, but the mechanical, purposeful work of a Creator that had made Nature according to a system of rules (or knowledge).
Not only would this fit with our modern view of physics, but it builds into the Christian scholar’s mind the notion that nature is a system that adheres to a pattern of wisdom or understanding. Not the ever changing whims of gods or forces but the strict pattern of thought of a Being’s Intelligence. Mind not mood. Fixed pattern not hot (then cold) emotion. Further, because humans are made in “God’s Image,” our minds are little versions of the Great Mind that made the rules. So not only does Nature tick consistently along according to observable patterns, but these patterns should be recognizable by the brains of humans. Science in other cultures had always stopped at a specific junction. Going beyond this point proved tricky. But due to the worldview of Christians, there was hope that if we continued to hammer away, we would uncover — and understand — the rules on which Nature relied. Aquinas kick-started the academic pursuit of looking away from mathematics and ethics and using the rigorous rules of logic to decipher the inner workings of the world. Within half a millennium, this focus birthed the Christian enterprise of the modern university and the scientific revolution as we know it.
It was the christianized mind of europeans which progressed mankind beyond its former limitations. The fathers of disciplines such as chemistry, physics, biology, physiology and higher mathematics and reasoning were overwhelmingly Christian. In later years a growingly secular world tried to paint these men and the scientific revolution as accidentally occurring within a Christian world, but as we see, history and reason do not bear this out.
Proof 3 – DNA:
For thousands of years we wondered what made animals and plants tick. Then came the 20th century and the discovery of DNA. We lifted up the hood of Life and found that it was not a random mucus-filled squirm of flesh but precisely engineered micro machines. In turn, these machines relied on information stored in each cell of an animal or plant’s body to know how to function and what to do. This package of information is what we call DNA.
Before your body is built, you are simply a blue print. Your dad’s sperm brings half the information (i.e.: DNA) and your mom’s ovum carries the other half. From this package of information the tiny machines in the mom’s ovum start building your body.
So imagine getting a box in the mail with screwdrivers, nuts, bolts and a manual filled with 600,000 pages of information. Accompanying the contents in the box was a phone number you could call to have materials delivered to your house. With all of this you could build a super computer with a robot body. Well, that’s how all lives begin.
Now, if you did receive such a box, would you really wonder how the wind and weather had rolled all of this up into a neat package and brought it to your front door? Nope. You would instantly assume someone had designed this package and printed out the manual so that the robot computer could be built. IKEA sends people home with items that have millions of times less complexity and info than DNA, yet no one doubts a Swedish furniture designer isn’t somewhere out there, responsible for the end result.
Atheism takes a massive wallop to the chin in such an obviously engineered biological realm. Sorry, I can’t forget everything I know about everything and chalk up massive information and an army of tiny machines to… chaotic chance? Really? You really, really believe novels can be written by dumping marbles onto keyboards? No you don’t. Neither do I.
Just to bring the point home think of this, DNA is literally 3 billion letters making about 600,000 pages of information. This library is housed in a package that keeps it intact: the cell nucleus. Little tiny machines open the DNA up at specific spots and then another machine (mRNA) literally photocopies it. Then the mRNA carries that photocopy over to another micro machine (tRNA) that is carrying a specific piece of lego (i.e.: amino acid) in its other hand.
As it attaches to the DNA copy, the tRNA’s piece of lego is snapped to the piece that was brought by the previous tRNA machine (peptide/protein synthesis above). So therefore the order of the letters in the DNA copy determine the order of the pieces of lego. That is what the DNA was there for in the first place, to be a guide for the order in which the lego is to be assembled. Your DNA is literally a lego manual with Steps 1 through a bazillion. Printed in order, waiting to be read and used. When complete, the chain of legos (amino acids) are brought to another set of machines (rRNA and ribosomes) that fold that chain in a very precise configuration and tada!.. you have a single protein.
This is how individual cells use your DNA blueprint to build hormones, body tissues, etc. Everything the body needs is built from the information contained in the DNA library. Bill Gates said DNA “is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.” And for good reason. That is exactly what it is.
At this point, any worldview that does not highlight human beings and nature in general as the purposeful design of a massive Intellect become very wobbly in my opinion. Extremely unsatisfying.
Now, you may be wondering what Christianity has to do with DNA? Fair question. As I stated in point 2 above, other world views that look to divine creation do not see nature or human life as being built on fixed laws or information, but as powered by chaotic forces from either the gods or some ephemeral substance. I find this highly dissatisfying. Nature is not a hodge podge batch of forces, but precisely engineered atomic interactions. Hebrews and Christians long before modern times expressed nature as the outflow of the high level wisdom, understanding and knowledge of an intelligent and purposeful Engineer. Of all the worldviews that invoke a Creator, I find judeo-christianity as the most sober fit with modern biology and the physics on which it relies. The Bible called humans a “distinctive” “enterprise” that was done with a “high distinction” that, when studied and understood, would open our mouths with “awe” and reverence. Personally, this fits DNA and biology a heck of a lot more than the Hindu tales of Lord Brahma slicing off pieces of himself to form human kind. But, you decide.
Proof 4 -Israel
Funny thing about Israel, it can’t seem to be wiped out no matter how many super powers try and do so. Babylon, Assyria, Rome, Nazis and the Arab world couldn’t put pull off the ‘coup de grace.’ Being a relatively small community, Israel should never have survived the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles. These ancient kingdoms didn’t just destroy Israel militarily, they then absorbed all the Jewish high classes (rich folks, scholars, priesthood, etc) and took them back to their respective lands. No culture has ever survived this type of brain suction and deportation. When total national exiles take place, within a generation or so the citizens in exile lose their identity and are absorbed in the victorious culture. Losing their heritage. Now considering that Israel was hundreds of years in forced exile, not once, not twice but thrice it should be a long forgotten footnote in cultural history. Yet it still stand, thousands of years later.
Even having no oil reserves like its Arab neighbors and only the dust of the desert to work with, Israel has the highest GDP per capita ratio in the Middle East. Innovation has allowed Jews to irrigate their homeland and turn it into a bread basket. Highly successful technological industries have also padded its cash flow.
Its holy scriptures make up one half of the best selling, most oft copied and studied book in human history: the Bible. Within which we see that the Muslim world began as an off-shoot of Abraham’s family line. From Israel springs the three largest and most influential movements in world history: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. And this tiny, seemingly indestructible country has a knack for always being at or near the center of worldwide geopolitics. If it wasn’t for the animosity of the Islamic world towards the Jews and their State, most of the Western world may never have heard the words “Qur’an” or “jihad.” Instead, due to U.S. support for Israel, the whole first world is dragged into the reality of Islam and has been made painfully aware of its beliefs and goals.
Such a tiny, fragile country, always being under the thumb of the prevailing superpowers and yet never being vanquished. Keeping its culture and poise. It shouldn’t be here, but it is. This brings a heavy reality to the biblical statements about God promising He would keep Israel intact until the end of civilization. So far… seems fairly legit. I score this one as a point in favor of the Christian worldview.
Proof 5 – Jesus
Statistically Jesus’ life is ridiculous. On the scale of super duper famous He is off the charts. You have to double check to make sure the numbers are correct. And they are. He is the biggest deal to ever hit the planet. His estimated birth date splits history in two: before and after Him. Whatever month, day and year it is today is a measure of how long it has been since He was born. The best selling book of all time revolves around Him. About half the planet’s population worships Him. Meaning more people follow Him around the world than any other figure or movement in history. More books have been written about Jesus than any other person. More songs, art, movies and music have been made in His honor than anyone or anything else. More charity has been done in His name than any other movement or idea. He is the most recognizable figure in all of history. On and on you can go. It really is a completely unprecedented life.
Yet He never had a position of power in any military or government. He had no money or home. He never walked more than 200 miles from His home town. He only had 3 years of public life. Three years. That’s it. But He turned history upside down with that short stint. His ethics permeate the Western world. Every major religious movement puts their arm around Jesus. Muslims consider Him the only sinless prophet of God. Hindus see Him as a benevolent divine avatar. Buddhists embrace Him as do Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and a multitude of sects such as the Ba’hai. He is the only common thread throughout all of the world’s religious traditions. Even atheists will speak well of Him, calling Jesus a good moral teacher or some other compliment. Seems He is a really big deal here on earth.
Question is, who is this most famous guy? What is His claim to fame?
When we look to those who died for following Him (i.e.: early Christians) it seems they believed Him when He claimed God-hood. Apparently He convinced them of that and they were willing to die for that claim. Roman and Jewish records of the first few generations of Christians state that Jesus was worshipped. Not followed. All early records of Jesus’ teaching (inside and outside the bible) show that He had no political revolution in mind. He did teach principles of good living, but most of His teachings pointed back to Himself as the Judge and Saviour of the world. And His God-hood. No other vaunted figure in history has ever claimed God-hood. Homeless crackheads do that all the time. But nobody believes them. People like Confucious, Buddha or Ghandi are reverred but not worshipped. And none of them claimed God-hood. Normal, sane, moral reformers always claim to be mere men because that is what they are. How come the most honored and successful moral reformer in history claimed the most insane title for Himself? How can sanity and insanity co-exist in the same mind?
You have to decide. Was He insane, or was He truthful?
In Part 1 of our “Islam” series we saw the rise of Prophet Mohammed’s “religious” movement from its roots as a group of highway robbers into a large scale mercenary army. At the conclusion of Mohammed’s life, the Muslim military had conquered the whole of the Arabian Peninsula (modern day Saudi Arabia). Our second installment showed that from Mohammed onward, Muslims continued to conquer the world around them. In fact, from A.D. 632 until 1924, Islam had a conquering empire in each generation. Muslims call their world wide empire a “Caliphate” and its leader is the Muslim “Caliph.”
The theology of Islam dictates that Muslims are to militarily subdue the entire planet for Allah. After Mohammed’s creation of the Islamic movement in A.D. 620 the world saw four hundred years and over 500 military campaigns of Muslim conquest. By A.D. 1095 the European Christian world saw the advancement of Islam into Spain, France, Italy and the Byzantine Empire. Enough was enough for Christians and thus were born the Crusades. For the next two centuries Crusaders pushed back against the Muslim world with mixed success. But the European encroachment by Islam was more or less stymied.
After losing World War 1, the last Islamic worldwide Caliphate, the Ottoman Empire, was subdued and chopped into little pieces now known as Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Israel and Jordan.
By 1924 the last official Islamic Caliphate was dead. Yet, in 1928, a financial organization of wealthy Muslims sprang up in its place. Known as the Muslim Brotherhood, this banking and financier group has been referred to as the new Islamic Caliphate. It has funded nearly every major terrorist activity in the Muslim world since its inception.
A 2011 Pew Research finding places the world wide Muslim population at 1.6 billion and refers to Islam as the planet’s fastest growing religious movement. Even though it lacks a central Caliphate, Islam is more popular today than at any time in its history. Regarding geographical spread, it is also larger now than ever. Modern Islam is bigger than it has ever been. It is also filled with several decentralized bands that are themselves seeking to become the new Caliphate. ISIS is one such group. Its name stands for “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” and has risen to replace Al Qaeda as the world’s most virulent face of Muslim extremism.
A United Nations 2016 report has stated that although the Arab world only comprises 5% of the global population, it is responsible for 45% of its terrorism, 68% of its battle-related deaths, 47% of its internally displaced and 58% of its refugees. A look at the constant stream of terror attacks across the planet done in the name of Islam and such statistics do not seem exaggerated in the least.
Political pundit Ben Shapiro’s viral video on the state of mind of Muslims points to a grim picture of the average practitioner of the “religion of peace.” If its finding are correct, over 800 million Muslims across the world support the harsher tenets of Islam including Sharia Law’s death penalties for adultery and homosexuality and on-going Jihadi wars:
A study released in 2016 by the Institute for Economics and Peace shows that the top 20 deadliest terrorist attacks of 2015 all occurred on the soil of Muslim countries. And if we look at just Islam-inspired terror outside the Arab, Jewish and Russian world since 1968, we see that 295 individual attacks have occurred on Western soil. Thousands upon thousands have been killed in Islam’s wake in the modern world.
Currently, the mass migration of young men from Islamic countries into the West has begun to trigger a change in the pattern of criminal activities in the receiving European countries. Progressive minded Sweden has led the way in absorbing large numbers of migrants from the Muslim world. Beginning in the 1970’s, Swedes adopted a “diversity” program which aimed at changing their otherwise homogenous demographics. As a result, they are now considered the rape capital of Europe. Only Lesotho in southern Africa has a higher rape rate than Sweden. And at least 85% of those convicted of serious sexual assault in Sweden were foreigners (i.e.: migrants from the Muslim world).
In 2015, Germany’s Angela Merkel allowed at least 1,000,000 migrants enter her country from Islamic countries. Within a year so many sexual assaults had taken place that the official German police headquarters admitted that this epidemic was purely a result of the Muslim “rape game” known as “Taharrush.” In fact, the German Federal Criminal Police Office, BKA, now say that this Arab “rape game” has established itself in all of Europe.
Remember from our article on the theology of Islam that since Mohammed’s time, Muslims were instructed that women have only half the wort that men do. Further, men engaged in jihad are allowed to gather concubines from foreign countries they are fighting in. This appears to have been loosely translated by modern Muslim men to mean they have free sexual access to infidel women in Western countries and that the Qur’an, Hadith and Sunna allows them to have their way. In short, Muslim theology allows them guilt free and open sexual access to anyone they wish.
As the Muslim world expands and infiltrates into the Western world, we are beginning to see a clear continuation of the Muslim modem operandi. That of uncompromising conquest. Not one of assimilation and pacification. Islam has been spreading through military might since its inception in A.D. 620. Their theology demands that they subdue the entire planet. There is nothing “moderate” about such a view. And it appears much of Islam is intent on upholding its traditional goals.
With all this being said, what is the proper response to Islam in our modern times? Do we go to war? Do we drive all Muslims out of our Western borders? It is my opinion that neither option would be fruitful or realistic. Yet I firmly disagree that the current model of mass immigration practiced by progressive governments is anything less than dangerous. Although a very small percentage of Muslims will actually reach out and kill their neighbours, there is a highly predictable pattern of that percentage doing exactly that. Like clockwork. Mass immigration will guarantee the regular appearance of terrorism.
Unfortunately, when Muslim communities are transplanted en masse from their Islamic world into ours, the degree of assimilation is extremely low. What many westerners fail to appreciate is how deep and how long the Muslim theology of world domination has run in Islamic civilization. The pattern of conquest is not new, nor is it practiced by only a radical few. It has been a way of life for the Muslim world ever since Mohammed’s lifetime. Most Muslims will not engage in warfare but they are sympathetic to jihadists as they deep down share their same goals of global conquest for Islam. Many deadly attacks in the West have been perpetrated by well educated, well employed Muslim immigrants (and sometimes natural born citizens of Muslim background) who hold fast to their Islamic worldview. It is not simply a string of down-and-outers who have mental imbalances. Many Muslims have a traditional view of their identity which is not friendly to liberal western societies. The truth is that most practitioners of Islam see themselves overwhelmingly as first and foremost Muslim and only superficially western.
Please do not misunderstand my point. We are to be loving and graceful to our Muslim fellow citizens. Many Muslims simply want a better more stable life than the Islamic world can provide. However, we need to be wise when it comes to the governments we choose to lead our societies. Be aware of the foreign policy stance of the politicians you have the power to vote for. And then decide which best reflects a common sense approach to the realities presented us by the modern world.
After Rome destroyed Israel in A.D. 70, the Jews wandered the world for nearly 2,000 years without a country to call their own. Many Jews traveled through Israel and settled throughout its borders (including Jerusalem), but they did not have a nation. It would take the Western world in the 20th century to help birth the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. During the long stretch of orphanage, the Jewish holy land was mainly in the hands of the Muslim world. From A.D. 638 until the end of World War 1, Islamic Caliphates owned and ran the Jewish homeland.
Perhaps no other piece of real estate on earth is more controversial and contested than Israel. The term “Palestinian refugee crisis” is a familiar term to modern ears. It invokes the plight of Arabs living in modern Israel and usually paints the Jews as the well armed oppressors to these poor, helpless communities. Yet the term Palestine has undergone a few twists and turns over the last couple millennia. Egyptian and Hebrew dialects have the term “peleshet,” which means “migrant.” It is believed to be the origin of the word “Palestine.” Egyptians used it to describe the nomadic Philistines living in Israel’s borders. Philistines are Aegan (i.e.: Greek ancestry) and have no cultural, ethnic or linguistic ties to the Arabian Peninsula). In the 500’s B.C., Greek historian Herodotus referred to the region of Israel as “Palaistine.” In the A.D. 132 Rome gained control of the region after a brief rebellion by Shimon Bar Kokhba and then made sure to refer to Judea as “Palaestina” in hopes of minimizing Jewish identification with the area.
Roman world in the B.C. era
From A.D. 1517 to 1917 the Ottoman Empire referred to the region by its Roman designation, “Palestine.” However, Arabs living within its borders called themselves “Southern Syrians” and not “palestinians.” After Ottoman defeat in World War 1, the British took control of the palestinian region and it was defined as not only Israel but modern day Jordan’s territory. Until Israel’s Independence Day on May 14, 1948, the Western press referred to Jews — not Arabs — living within the Israeli borders as Palestinians. It was not until years after the 1948 War of Independence between Israel and its Middle Eastern neighbours that Arabs living within the West Bank and Gaza strip were first referred to as Palestinians.
Surely this is meaningless, right? Who cares about nomenclature when discussing Israel’s illegal occupation of Arab land? Well, this is where it gets interesting. What exactly was the relationship of Ottoman Arabs to the Jewish holy land prior to the creation of Israel in the 20th century? In 1867, Mark Twain travelled through Israel and in his consequent book “The Innocents Abroad” he remarked on the nearly deserted and abandoned holy land under Arab rule:
“… A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation…. we never saw a human being on the whole route…. hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”
Twain also marveled at how small and scantily inhabited Jerusalem was. By 1880 only about 40,000 Jews lived within historical Isreali/Palestinian borders along with some 400,000 Muslims. During the 1800’s a slow but steady push began to have Jews return to their native homeland due to increasing troubles abroad. Russians and consequently Europeans began heavy persecution of the Jewish people. Making it understandable for them to desire their own home. Starting in 1882 major waves of Jewish migration began arriving in what is now modern Israel (also its historical/biblical borders).
During this mass immigration, nothing was taken from Arabs by force. Hundreds of thousands of acres of land were purchased by Jews from the Arab landowners in the region. Most of this real estate was in highly undesirable and undeveloped regions. After Word War 1, British, French, Canadian and American forces defeated Germany and the Ottoman Turks. The Middle East had previously been under the banner of the Ottoman Empire but in the early 1920’s was broken up into the borders we currently know of as Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Syria, Israel, etc. Before these borders were finalized, Jews and Brits had begun planning a return of worldwide Jews to their native homeland. British Foreign Secretary James Balfour wrote a letter to Walter Rothschild and a Baron on November 2, 1917 officially stating the intention of Britain to form a Jewish State in the relatively uninhabited western border of the former Ottoman Empire. This famous communiqué is now known as the Balfour Declaration and is the “big bang” of modern Isreal’s creation.
The original League of Nations and British Mandate conception of the newly minted Jewish state was to include an area approximately 45,000 square kilometers which included modern day Jordan. Shortly after this was made known, Arabs within Israel’s proposed borders began intermittently rioting. This would occur until conflicts within the Jewish territories rose to the level of war in the late 1940’s. Furthermore, Jews living in Arab countries found themselves increasingly persecuted and most had to flee to Israel. From the generous borders of the 1920’s, Israel saw its territories slowly erode in the hands of the newborn United Nations due to constant Arab objections and conflicts.
By 1947, a surface area of less than 18,000 square kilometers was all that was left of the plan for Jewish homeland.
From the 1920’s onward, Jewish settlers to Israel began irrigation for agricultural development. Industrial construction also began in earnest during this time. Eventually Israel would become a net exporter of produce. Its innovations in the fields of pharmaceuticals and technology as well as its recent discovery of major natural gas reserves have propelled its economy to the highest per capita GDP in the entire Middle East. In 2012, Israel ranked number one in the Middle East on the UN’s Human Development Index. Prior to the major immigration and industrial investments by Jews in Israel, the Arab world had all but forgotten about this region of their vast Middle Eastern empire. It truly was “no man’s land.” Not only was there no meaningful Arab civilization living in pre-Israel “palestine” but even modern day Israel’s borders make up less than 1% of the Arab controlled Middle East.
Arab-Israeli Conflicts Escalate to War (the following section is a redaction of this site)
On November 29, 1947, Jamal Husseini, the Arab Higher Committee’s spokesman, told the United Nations that Arabs would drench “the soil of our beloved country with the last drop of our blood.”(1) Showing the violent intentions of Arabs towards the proposed creation of an Israeli homeland. Consequently, Arab-initiated riots in Israel killed 381 Jews, 427 Arabs and 46 British between November 30, 1947 and February 1, 1948.(2) Larger scaled attacks began in earnest on January 9, 1948 when a thousand Arabs attacked northern Jewish settlements. By February 1948 the British said so many Arabs had invaded Palestine (Jewish and Arab territories in Israel’s borders) that they could not push them back.(3) By April 1, 1948, Palestinian Arabs — with the help of neighbouring countries — had inflicted significant casualties on the Jewish people. On April 26, 1948, Jordanian King Abdullah stated:
“All our efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Palestine problem have failed. The only way left for us is war. I will have the pleasure and honor to save Palestine.”(4)
In early May 1948 many Jewish settlers in Kfar Etzion were slaughtered by the Arab Legion soldiers.(5) (6) The United Nations had no trouble blaming the escalating conflicts squarely on the Arabs. On February 16, 1948, the UN Palestine Commission had stated to the U.N. Security Council:
“Powerful Arab interests, both inside and outside Palestine, are defying the resolution of the General Assembly and are engaged in a deliberate effort to alter by force the settlement envisaged therein.”(7)
Arabs bluntly took responsibility for escalating to war. Jamal Husseini bald faced declared to the U.N. Security Council:
“The representative of the Jewish Agency told us yesterday that they were not the attackers, that the Arabs had begun the fighting. We did not deny this. We told the whole world that we were going to fight.”(8)
Despite the savagery, on May 14, 1948 Israel declared its independence.
That very evening, a conglomerate of Arab states including Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Iraq began air strikes on Tel Aviv. This led Soviet delegate Andrei Gromyko to address the U.N. Security Council on May 29, 1948:
“This is not the first time that the Arab states, which organized the invasion of Palestine, have ignored a decision of the Security Council or of the General Assembly. The USSR delegation deems it essential that the council should state its opinion more clearly and more firmly with regard to this attitude of the Arab states toward decisions of the Security Council.”(9)
Alas, then — as nowadays — the U.N. proved toothless in upholding its objectives. Yet it is interesting historically to see that when the United Nations were watching this burgeoning conflict they held the Arabs guilty. One wonders why time would turn this international body against the Jewish nation? The United Nations did send Count Folke Bernadotte to the Palestinian Arabs in order to negotiate a truce. However, after spending time discussing with Arab forces, Bernadotte reported back to the U.N. that these Arabs had never “developed any specifically Palestinian nationalism” and that most “of the Palestinian Arabs would be quite content to be incorporated in Transjordan.”(10)
In other words, the Arabs were attacking the Jews but not to create a nation of their own, but simply to remove the Jews from theirs. Remember that there had not been a Palestinian identity in the Ottoman Empire or the Arab world. Only since the Jews had arrived had the Arab world turned and focused on this strip of land which they had essentially neglected prior to the 1920’s.
Despite being a freshly born nation, Israel won against a highly militarized and organized Arab world. Even on May 14, 1948, while Israel declared its independence to the world, it did not have a single canon or tank. Its air force was comprised of nine nearly obsolete military planes. Its main defense core was comprised of less than twenty thousand fully war ready soldiers.(11) Even with these odds, by March 10, 1949 every last Arab country arrayed against Israel were defeated and called for truces. As a result of the failed coup, the Arabs lost much land within Israel’s borders.
In 1967, as a reaction to the build up of the Egyptian army along Israel’s southern borders, the Jews launched a surprise air assault that decimated the Egyptian air force and neutralized it in less than a week. This conflict is notoriously referred to as the “6 day war.” It resulted in Israel swallowing up the Sinai peninsula and the West Bank. Further expanding its borders in hopes of stabilizing its nation against further terrorism and warfare coming from the Arab world.
In the aftermath, on November 22, 1967, the United Nation launched the U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 which laid the modern groundwork for attempted peace treatise between Israelis and Arabs. Often called the “land for peace” treaty, Resolution 242 lead Israel to give the Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt in 1979 and the West Bank to Arabs in 1982. Many observers to the results of the “land for peace” actions by Israel and the U.N. are critical of the results. Arabs within Israel have never shown to be motivated to peace even immediately following the regaining of the Gaza Strip and West Bank territories. Rocket launches, terrorist attacks and the continuous building of military resources within the Palestinian Arab communities have not ceased since the Jewish-Arab conflict began in the 1940’s.
Attempted peace treatise in this section of the planet has proven difficult and frustrating. And it is within this warring context that the Jewish people have thrived despite being surrounding by an Arab world bent on its destruction and a Western world who turn a deaf ear to the Jewish plight.
(1) J.C. Hurewitz, The Struggle For Palestine, (NY: Shocken Books, 1976), p. 308.
(2) Facts on File Yearbook, (NY: Facts on File, Inc., 1948), p. 231.
(3) Facts on File Yearbook, (NY: Facts on File, Inc., 1947), p. 231.
(4) Howard Sachar, A History of Israel, (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979), p. 322.
(5) Netanel Lorch, One Long War, (Jerusalem: Keter Books, 1976), p. 47
(6) Ralph Patai, ed., Encyclopedia of Zionism and Israel, (NY: McGraw Hill, 1971), pp. 307-308
(7) Security Council Official Records, Special Supplement, (1948), p. 20.
(8) Security Council Official Records, S/Agenda/58, (April 16, 1948), p. 19.
(9) Security Council Official Records, SA/Agenda/77, (May 29, 1948), p. 2.
(10) London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1951), p. 113.
(11) Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, O Jerusalem!, (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1972), p. 352.
As the Muslim Caliphates expanded their territory across eastern Europe, northern Africa, Spain and many isles in the Mediterranean, the Christian world was seeing its territories fall, one after the other. The third Islamic caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate (A.D. 750-1298), saw the Muslim Moors cross into Spain and conquer it.
A turning point in western attitudes towards the east came in the year 1009, when the Fatimid caliph of Cairo, al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, had the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem destroyed. His successor permitted the Byzantine Empire to rebuild it under stringent circumstances, and pilgrimage was again permitted, but many stories began to be circulated in the West about the cruelty of Muslims toward Christian pilgrims; these rumors then played an important role in the development of the crusades later in the century.
By 1095, Islamic Caliphates had waged nearly 600 offensive campaigns into Christian territory (Holy Land and Northern Africa and Portugal and Spain and Byzantine Empire). Now the south of France was being attacked by Islamic soldiers. In 1057, Sicilian Muslims attacked the southern “boot” of Italy. In 1063, Pope Alexander II gave blessing to Spanish Christian soldiers to fight off the Muslim Moors. This ushered in the famed Reconquista of Spain in which Christian soldiers fought back the Islamic caliphate out of Spain and Portugal.
The Byzantine Empire at the time was Greek Orthodox Pope Alexius I’s territory. He pleaded with Catholic Pope Urban II for help against advancing Muslim armies which were over running his territory.
St Augustine of Hippo, back in 4th and 5th century had argued in favour of a “Just War” theory. This had been controversial with Popes but was now being studied closely as formerly Christian lands (i.e.: Byzantine region, northern Africa, etc) were being swallowed up by the growing Muslim empire.
Pope Urban II preached his famous “Crusade sermon” on November 27 in 1095 after Council of Clermont calling all Christendom to unite and help the Byzantine Empire and fight off the Muslim invaders. And thus, the era of the Christian Crusaders had begun.
First Crusade 1095: Papal decree gave “full penance” to those dying in combat. Seljik Turks were defeated by “catholic” crusaders. They also took back Jerusalem in 1099 and created the “Kingdom of Jerusalem.” Very bloody conflict. Jerusalem residents massacred. During this crusade, unfortunately, due to tone of Pope Urban II’s sermon, many Jews were massacred as the Crusaders marched to Holy Land. This has been dubbed, the “first holocaust.”
Second Crusade 1147-1149: after some relative peace between Christians in Muslims, Turks invaded city of Edessa (approx. south of Turkey). French and German Christian armies came but were unsuccessful.
Third Crusade 1189 – 1192: In 1187, the famous Saladin re captured Jerusalem. French and British crusaders formed unstable alliance. They marched all the way to Jerusalem but Saladin had poisoned the wells on route as well as burned crops. A truce was signed between the Christians and Saladin’s muslims. NO victory for Christendom.
Fourth Crusade 1202 – 1204: attempt to recapture Holy Land via Egypt. However, Venetians re routed the crusade to Constantinople in order to place a new Christian leader on the Byzantine throne. This crusade faltered and never made it to Jerusalem.
Albigensian Crusade 1209 – 1229: Pope Innocent III tried to remove the Gnostic Cathars from the south of France. No muslim involvement.
Children’s Crusade 1212: the veracity of this crusade has been questioned. Supposedly, thousands of German and French children marched towards Jerusalem in order to free it from the Muslim armies. Apparently none of them reached Jerusalem. They either starved en route or were captured as slaves.
Fifth Crusade 1213-1221: Hungarian, Austrian and Bavarian crusaders attempted an Egyptian route to free Jerusalem. They got greedy and tried to capture Cairo but a Nile flooding turned them away.
Sixth Crusade 1228: Emperor Frederick II negotiated a 10 year hold on Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
Seventh Crusade 1248 – 1254: Jerusalem is back in Muslim hands due to Egyptian meddling. Louis IX attempted to sack Egypt. Failed.
Eighth Crusade 1270: Louis IX tried to re conquer parts of Syria. Louis died and the crusade was a failure.
Ninth Crusade 1271: the future king of England tried to take Syria but failed.
Baltic and Central European Crusades (aka Northern Crusades) 1198-1290: mainly a German effort, it was a military attempt to subjugate the people of these regions to Christianity and its empire.
During this clash of Muslim and Christian civilizations, Muslim science and architecture and military tactics were encountered and absorbed by Europeans. It should be no surprise that Muslims view the Crusades as Christian invasion. Christians view the Crusades as just retaliation for an apparently never ending expansion by Muslim armies. A forray which had advanced for over 400 years ever since the prophet Mohammed’s initiation of a Muslim raiding army which had, over the following decades and centuries, turned into multiple empire-building armies.
Jews suffered immensely at the hands of crusaders. The decided anti-semitic tone of Pope Urban II’s “Crusade” sermon combined with the fact that not all Crusader soldiers were devout Christians but opportunistic mercenaries made for several massacres of Jewish settlements found en route to Jerusalem. The Crusades marked a definitive turning point in history for the relationship of Jews to the Catholics.
A major player in the crusades was the corporation known as the Knight’s Templar (1119-1312). It was comprised of a large financial network of wealthy supposed Christians who controlled a powerful banking system that lent money to monarchs and other large scale enterprises. Knight’s Templar was also comprised of a military branch of very skilled knights who were key players in the early Crusades. However, once Jerusalem was lost, they faded in popularity and importance.
Eventually, Philip IV, King of France — who was deeply indebted to the order — started circulating rumours that the Templar was unhealthy (secret ceremonies, initiations, etc) and had them arrested, tortured and disbanded by 1312. Was the persecution justified or was King Philip IV just trying to save his financial hide? We will never know for sure. What muddies the waters is that the Freemason’s of the 1800’s adopted many Templar symbols and their shady initiation rites are claimed to mimic those of the Knight’s Templar. Yet this is unproven. It will perhaps be forever unknownable whether these Knight’s Templars were guilty of the crimes they were accused of.
All in all, there were multiple factors that led the mostly Christianized european world to engage in the major military engagements now known as the Christian Crusades of the middle ages. Many different players were involved, each having a varying degree of purity in their motivation. What cannot be ignored however is the fact that there was more than enough reason to believe — both then and now — that the Muslim world had a world wide conquest in mind and were showing no signs of slowing their envelopping of the European continent.