Kilo Echo 4 - Israel & Jewish News & Commentary.





ב - מֵרָחוֹק, יְהוָה נִרְאָה לִי; וְאַהֲבַת עוֹלָם אֲהַבְתִּיךְ, עַל-כֵּן מְשַׁכְתִּיךְ חָסֶד

'From afar the LORD appeared unto me.'
'Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love;
therefore with affection have I drawn thee.


Video from Palestinian Media Watch- Click Play button to start.



Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Well, I have been somewhat preoccupied these last few days with installing Windows XP on my computer (oy vavoy!), and so I have had to go about replacing a lot of the drivers and software that were not compatible with XP.

So far I am very happpy with XP and my computer is running a lot better. I still need to clean up a lot of junk and reclaim some of my disk space.

Ok, back to the business of blogging.

This report ran in the JP on Aug. 27th:

US support for Israel soars after Hizbullah war

The American public's support for Israel has risen sharply following the war with Hizbullah, according to a survey conducted by a Washington think tank.

While many in the United States back Israel because of its support for US policies and its Western, democratic culture and values, Israel's political backing found its base in American Christian beliefs, a survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reported on August 23. - MORE>>
It is interesting to note that support for Israel remains strongest among Christian conservatives, and that should serve as a wake up call for American liberal Jews, many of whom are not religious anyway and identify with the secular left. Yet it is on the left where we see most of the anti-Semitism, both in America and in Europe, and it is sharply on the rise. So why then are so many Jews liberals? What's going on here and what does this all mean? The issue goes straight to the heart of the current American crisis of self-doubt and self-hate.

I will attempt to answer these questions later today, as right now I have to prepare for my Hebrew class in a few hours.

----------

OK, a little late getting around to this, but better late than never I guess.

Most Jews are liberal because they fear persecution, and they believe that separation of church and state protects them from another pogrom. Also, if they appear secular or liberal, and divest themselves of much of their traditional Jewish religious identity, they feel like they can "blend in" and be accepted. Perhaps they even prefer the subject of religion not even be brought up. Considering history, it's a somewhat understandable reaction. Best to preach tolerance and multiculturalism. The bigger the school, and the more flash to confuse, the safer the little fish are from the sharks! It's all about not being noticed and singled out.

And America has indeed offered safety to Jews for the most part of its history, but that may be changing, and the threat comes as much from the extreme left as the extreme right.

But if you stop and think about it, the same is true for many people who came to America. Traditional ways of the "old country" (including traditional religious practices) are often exchanged for more secular and liberal American values during the process of assimilation. In a generation or two, the gap between the immigrants and their grandchildren can be pretty traumatic for all concerned. And here is where the problems come in, not only for America, but for Europe as well.

Western civilization is basically schizophrenic. It is founded on two very different world views. The secular, multicultural, liberal world view, along with the basis of Western law and government, emanates originally from Greece, and then especially Rome, dies off for some centuries, and then returns in force during the Renaissance, Protestant Reformation, and finally, the Enlightenment. In the meantime, during those centuries known as the "dark" and "middle" ages, another world view has spread throughout Europe and Asia and become dominant: Christianity. Its roots lie in Judaism, the Torah, and Israel. It will come to be known as the Judeo-Christian world view.

In time, the laws and doctrines of the Church become entertwined with the ancient laws and philosophy of Greece and Rome, to form the basis of canon law and scholasticism (Thomas Aquinas). The Jews have their own version of Thomas Aquinas in a man called Moses Maimonides, and these two intellectual giants lay the basis for "modern" orthodoxy in the two faiths.

Of course, these are not the only two great thinkers and giants of Christianity and Judaism. There are many others over the centuries, and it is the orthodox world view, philosophy, law, and ideas of these great thinkers and "holy men" (Doctors of the Church, Saints, and Rabbis and Jewish scholars) that will later clash directly with the ideas of the Enlightenment.

And so we come into "modern" Western civilization with these two competing and contrasting world views: Rome-Enlightenment vs Judeo-Christian. The first is centered very much on man and his success and power in this world, while the second is centered on G-d, The Law, Redemption, and the Bible.

The two systems can coexists to some extent, with the American experiment being the most obvious and successful example. For example, science and revelation can hold a dialogue without coming to blows , and the secular humanist and Christian/Jew can even agree on many of the laws that are necessary for society to remain viable and civilized. After all, Rome DID hold together for a long time, so they must have done some things right! And there is no reason that a Jew or Christian cannot be successful in this world and still love G-d and follow the Commandments. In fact, according to the Bible, man is supposed to make the world a better place, so science and technology are not anathema.

But at their core, the two world views are still at odds on many points. Consider the Middle Ages. Power for centuries lay in the hands of Kings and Lords, and, of course, in the hands of the Pope and Bishops. The Protestant Reformation brought about a major change in the status quo, and laid the groundwork for the Enlightenment. Historians are fond of saying that the Enlightenment was a revolution "against thrones and altars," and ideed it was! It overturned the system of the Middle Ages, and laid the groundwork for the modern industrial and scientific age. It's effects are still being felt today, and the conflict between faith, commandment, and revelation vs secular philosophy, law, and science rages on, especially in the legislative and judicial bodies of Europe and America.

The attack on religion that came with the Enlightenment was, and still is, more severe in Europe than in America, where both Christianity and Judaism still wield a lot of influence on society and people's lives. In Europe, on the other hand, the secularists seem to have won the day, at least for now, with membership in churches and synagogues still declining. In America, it's kind of a mixed bag, with some churches and synagogues growing rapidly, while others are declining. On the whole, however, America is becoming more secular and non-religious like Europe.

We hear a lot of talk these days about the "war on Christianity," the "war on Christmas," etc., and the message seems to be to keep religion a "private affair" and out of public view. It's the "politically correct" thing to do these days.

Christianity had little time to recover from the Enlightenment earthquake, to adjust itself to the industrial and scientific revolutions, when it was hit with the wars and socio-cultural wreckage of the twentieth century in existential crisis.

The record of secularism is not all that great. Untold tens of millions were murdered last century by secular regimes through wars, pogroms, holocausts, concentration camps, and numerous political purges and "cultural" revolutions. The twentieth century was a bloodbath, and the wars were NOT religious wars. It makes the Middle Ages look like a Sunday picnic! And then there is the loss of traditional values, moral equivalency, and the descent into chaos and hedonism. Nothing is sacred, and everything is relative.

And so modern American and European man is in the midst of an existential crisis and loss of faith in both secularism and religion. And it is this schizophrenia and uncertainty at the heart of Western civilization that is the cause of all the self-doubt and self-hate. Two world views, both in crisis and both at odds with each other. It's enough to make a civilization crash!

At this point, enter Islam. No self doubt there, no self-hate. It is unified and purposeful, and it is bent on conquest.

The stage has been set, and the show of the 21st century is about to begin...

1 Comments:

At Tuesday, August 29, 2006 10:40:00 AM, Anonymous Elvera said...

I became very active and aware politically about a year ago and was amazed at the support Israel gets from the Christian right. I think it all has to do with "roots" and I think the more Christians learn about Judaism; the more it solidifies their Christian beliefs. Afterall, Jesus was a Jew and he practiced the religion of the Old Testament.

I've always felt a strong connection between Jews and Christians; too bad the jealous muslims had to horn in on our religion and invent a false G-d that masquerades as the G-d of Abraham.

My best friend from highschool is a liberal Jew and I cannot for the life of me understand her logic. She thinks Bill Clinton hung the moon.

Good luck with XP. One thing I can tell you is that if you upgrade from Windows Millenium to XP you are going to crash. I love XP!!

Elvera

 

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