Islam - The Frontier Age a - RR160B6a
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Our subject first of all tonight is that of chapter twelve, Islam. And as I point out in the chapter it is the religion founded by Mohammed and Islam means to resign oneself, that is, to profess the way of righteousness. The dates of Mohammed are 570 to 632 A.D. Now our concern in our lectures is to supplement the notes as I pointed out by dealing with some of the underlying ideas and motive forces in a particular area and era. Sunday morning in our class we touched upon a very significant aspect of Mohammedanism. You will recall those of you who were there I cited saint Paul’s statement in Romans 2, I believe, verses 28-29, that he is a Jew who is one inwardly, that is, he is one of the chosen people, call them Jew or Israelite or the covenant people of God who is one inwardly from the heart, who by faith and obedience manifests his faithfulness to the Lord. It begins with the heart, with the faith, with the thought and the feeling of man. Now directly in contradiction to Saint Paul Mohammed declared: he is a Muslim who is one outwardly. This of course makes Mohammedanism a very simple religion. And as I pointed out Sunday morning one of the things that Muslims and black Muslims say as against Christianity over and over again is that it is too difficult, in fact, it is an impossible religion for anyone to follow because it makes too great a demand on man. It requires of man that which is an impossibility, whereas Islam they declare is a very practical religion and what it has to say is down to earth, very simple and can be easily followed. [00:02:45]
This is of course because of its externalism...
This is of course because of its externalism. On page 112 I give the six basic articles of faith and the six basic duties of Islam. And to quote, it’s in the middle of the page:
“The faith requires belief in Allah the one God, in angels, in Mohammed as the great and last prophet, belief in the Koran, belief in the day of Resurrection, belief in fatalism. The duties are reciting the profession of faith, affirming the unity of God and the role of Mohammed, five daily prayers, fasting during the daylight hours (not after dark or before dawn) of the month of Ramadan, pilgrimage to Mecca, the holy war against unbelievers.“
Now the six duties are all of them things that are external. Very simple things. You recite a prayer five times daily and you say you believe in Islam and you make a pilgrimage to Mecca, although if you don’t do it no harm done. You help if there’s a holy war by lobbing off as many heads of Christians and Jews as possible, but nothing is required of you as far as your heart is concerned. In fact you can be a very depraved person but if you fulfill those five duties you are a man of righteousness and as far as the basic faith is concerned you can have a great deal of latitude there, you can interpret these things with considerable variation of opinion or with very little opinion, it doesn’t matter. You can treat it very casually. In other words it is a faith which is in essence external. [00:05:00]
Now Islam means to resign oneself, that is, to the...
Now Islam means to resign oneself, that is, to the way of righteousness as declared by Mohammed. But when the way of righteousness is something that is external then you are in effect saying that an external force, an external way of life is the essence of truth. An external type of religion makes for statism. This is why when Christianity came on the scene statism was challenged and disappeared. In every century since whenever Christianity is waned statism has increased. The correlation between the two is like night and day. When Christianity wanes the darkness of statism appears because man then emphases externals and if man feels externals are important rather than the heart, the faith, the character of man, man will be ruled by externals will he not, because he says they are important? And since his faith, his character, his heart is no longer important who is then man to resist, to stand up to the powers that be? You can talk about Christian martyrs; can you talk about Mohammedan martyrs? Of course not. For someone to make a stand out of conviction from the heart in a religion of externals, that’s nonsense. It just isn’t in character. And how else can you have men to make a stand against anything and to bring about freedom, to bring about a social order in which men have character if it is not something from the heart. He is a Jew; he is a member of the covenant of God who is one inwardly. But Mohammed said he is a Muslim who is one outwardly. Not surprisingly Islam which means to resign oneself is not a term for the religion, if you’re talking about the religion the word is Mohammedanism, and a Mohammedan doesn’t talk about Mohammedanism, he talks about Islam and what is Islam? It’s the state; it’s the Islamic social order, a statist social order, that’s the idea. [00:08:00]
So Islam has always created a strong state, a very...
So Islam has always created a strong state, a very powerful state. As we shall see soon a state which is conducive to military power but not to the growth of character. It produces a stagnant type of society because since externals are what are important how are people to grow, how are people to develop? Well Mohammedan feels there’s something wrong with all of us. Why? Most Christians always dissatisfied with themselves, always troubling themselves because they haven’t done everything God has required of them. Readily discontented…which is true. Nobody in all of history has ever been more discontented than the Christian. But no one has ever been happier because when he sees problems he resents those problems, those difficulties, those evils, he wants to do something about them. But go to a Mohammedan country and see what life is like. Children with their mouths open and flies walking in and out of their mouths and the mother isn’t at all distressed about it because they are doing the same to her. I’m not exaggerating I’m telling what someone told me who came from back not so long ago and it wasn’t the first time I have heard that. Which is true! You’re not dissatisfied, you get what you can get when you’ve got it but when your attitude is one of externalism you will have a social order which is basically statist and in which man is content with a declining lot. And so you have stagnation. There’s a great deal said in the book as I point out in the chapter about how glorious Mohammedanism has been in various eras and yet the progress was always a product of a Christian background. The sons of Christian wives who had been seized and put into harems. When they no longer had Christian girls to seize who gave their sons some kind of social vitality, some kind of character, Islam began to stagnant. [00:11:00]
As long as it could conquer and take in an element...
As long as it could conquer and take in an element it was able to keep expanding, it was able to get vitality and energy. It started here in Arabia, it moved to North Africa first of all than it moved into this area and finally into India and China and throughout central Asia. It moved up into Europe and for a time the Muslims under the Turks were at the gates of the Vienna and all but took Vienna. But all the while it was functioning on the basis of captives, captives. The Turks for example were a Mongol people in origin. But they look like most Europeans now, why? Because they took captives from Germany, from Hungary, from all of central Europe, from throughout the Mediterranean world and near East and put them in their harems. As a matter of fact their best soldiers were the Genezaras. The genezeras were not Turks! The Genezeras were Christian boys who had been taken from their parents at the ages three or four or five and brought up to be only Mohammedans, Turks, to know nothing of their background. Trained only for warfare. And they were the terror of the world, they came from a background, you see, that gave them more social energy and vitalitiy. As a matter of fact even the sultans were afraid of their generazeans they kept them on the march continually, conquering, because they didn’t want them at home. And when finally their conquest stopped and they were there on the grounds they were a terror and finally they had be liquidated. They couldn’t control them. Most of the prime ministers of any consequence were again from captive peoples. There was no element of progress possible in a religion which emphasizes externals. But a religion like that is popular and Mohammedanism spread rapidly and easily. If you were to take a course in religion at USC or USCLA and I don’t know what is taught there but I’m just guessing, I know that at all the universities today where I’ve checked you would get a very favorable reaction from the professor about Mohammedanism. And a hostile one about Christianity. Why? [00:14:09]
Well, the Mohammedans put it very bluntly, the God...
Well, the Mohammedans put it very bluntly, the God of the Bible, or the God of the Christians, because they claim they were given the true interpretation of the Bible, that the Koran is the Bible correctly, that the bible gives a peeping tom God, now I’m putting it in modern language [laughs] but that was their feeling. This awful God who pries into your life, probes into your heart, knows every thought of your mind, neither the Muslim nor the modern man likes that. Theirs is a god who is content to turn a blind eye to all that, all he wants is externals. Now isn’t that a much better god? He’s not poking and prying in your mind. The Koran as a result is anti-biblical to the core, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish. It is Unitarian, it is statist, it is fatalistic, it makes basic to Islam the caliph, the caliphate, as the means of governing all Muslims. I cite in the text of this chapter how very powerful the caliphs were. Now as I said the character of Islam made it ideal for a military kind of people. Externals was all that mattered and if you were a soldier and died fighting the Christians or Jews or the unbelievers generally you would be rewarded by Allah in paradise. In fact I think I cite two or three of the fantastic ways. You would have such romantic love affairs with the dowries that would be provided by Allah that the climaxes sexually would last ten thousand years. [General laughter] That would be the privilege of those who died fighting the Christians. Well with this kind of belief naturally they fought, especially in a religion where the people were sensual and course to the enth degree. They would charge into battle with a readiness to be killed. As a result, they were a terrifying force for Christians to meet. [00:16:55]
Now I’d like to cite a few facts about the turning...
Now I’d like to cite a few facts about the turning point, Islam from the 6th century on. Began its history, in the 7th century it was beginning its conquest, it owned a great deal of Europe, it was the most powerful force in the world. It was checked at the seat of Malta. This was in the middle of the 16th century in the 1560s, 1564 I believe. 1565. One of the most amazing events in all history and one of the turning battles of all history, fought by the knights of Malta against the whole force of Islam under the Turkish Empire. It’s a battle that means a great deal to me particularly because I happen to be a knight of Malta. The story has been very well told by Earnley Bradford in The Great Siege. If you want dramatic reading which will keep you awake all night and thrill you, this is the story. Now, when the attack was made on Malta which was of strategic importance for military purposes, for navel purposes, it was an offense to the Turks that here in the Mediterranean was this little island of such importance in the hands of the knights of Malta. The knights at that time were down to a small group but they didn’t underrate their power and so they made an attack. The grandmaster of the knights of Malta at that time was a very remarkable man, Lavallette. John Peresue De Lavallette, a man of seventy. Not a young man. A military commander of seventy years old. On top of that he had only a handful of men under him. Let me read from Bradford’s account: [00:19:39]
By the early spring of ...
By the early spring of 1565 Lavallette had under his command five hundred and forty one knights and servants at arms. This was the hardcore of the order. It did not include the chaplains or the other clergy who in theory at any rate were never permitted to bear arms. The main body consisted of three to four hundred Maltese irregulars, a heart race, experienced from youth and skirmishes against Moorish [unknown] but little trained for the long drawn exigencies of siege warfare. The order galley slaves numbered five hundred but they being nearly all captured Muslims could only be used under the lashes of their overseers to restore defenses, build wars and act as a labor force. They were a further five hundred slaves available for the same purposes. All these slaves had of course to be continually guarded since given the opportunity they would naturally have risen against their Christian masters. As the winter weather softened into spring and the flowers and clover began to bloom in the small rocky fields the galleys went north to Sicily. They brought back with them as well as stores powder, artillery and provisions. A number of knights and followers had collected in Maceio over the winter. By April Lavallette reckoned that he had six hundred members of the order, later to increase to seven hundred, and a total force of eight to nine thousand men. This is counting all kinds including the slaves. With these he must withstand the whole weight of the Turkish navy and army. Well the Turks landed. It was on March 29, 1565 that the Turkish fleet made its way out of the Bosporus and sailed down to the golden city to embark the army and stores. [Unknown] the Sultan was there in person to view the proud and power and pride of his empire float on the waters of the golden horn. One hundred and seventy ships, not counting a number of small sailing vessels, formed the armada. One hundred and thirty of them were the long oared galleys and thirty were galleons and galleasses. The galleasses’ were one of the largest vessels of the period carrying something like one thousand men. Accompanying the fleet were eleven large merchant ships, one of which alone carried six hundred fighting men, six thousand barrels of powder and thirteen hundred rounds of cannon shells. They landed as against a total force of eight to nine thousand men of which only seven hundred were really fighting men, perhaps four or five thousand others who could fight. [00:22:54]
Close to fifty thousand men...
Close to fifty thousand men. Now, it was a fearful siege, it lasted for over four months. They took one castle after another, one bulwark after another, but they refused to surrender. When they finally told the knights surrender and we’ll give you favorable terms Lovelett did not hesitate we are told, he would impress his own followers as well as the Turks, that there could be no question of honorable surrender. He gave orders for all Turkish prisoners to be executed, there were many of them in [unknown] who had been captured in martial [unknown], cavalry raids, they were at once taken to the executioner. Their heads were struck off and their bodies thrown into the sea. He commanded the heads of his Turkish prisoners to be struck off and shot from the large guns into the enemy lines. Now when he did that he made sure that nobody on his side would think about surrender. How could you surrender then, when you had done something like that, in other words, he burned his bridges behind him. Great many around him were talking surrender, Lavallette as commander ended all such talk. Now the prissy historians nowadays think that was terrible of Lavallette, of course the Turks had been doing that sort of thing right along but he should have been a nice boy and not have done something like that. Even after that a few weeks later when the battle was raging furiously and sometimes there were only a handful of the knights who were able to stand up at any given time; the Turks didn’t feel they could conquer so they offered terms. And so he offered that they might retire from Malta to Sicily with the normal honors of war. A messenger was accordingly dispatched under a flag of truce to the grand master in Burdu [sp?]. Admitted through the landmark gate the messenger’s eyes were immediately blindfolded. The man chosen perhaps because he could speak French or English was led in front of Lavallette. [00:26:07]
The latter visit-less until the Turkish proposals without...
The latter visit-less until the Turkish proposals without dening to reply then, ‘take him away and hang him’ he said. The messenger fell to his feet and begged for his life, it was not his fault, he cried, that he had been made the [unknown]’s messenger. It is unlikely that Lavallette had any intention in carrying out his threat but he was adamant that whatever story got back to the Turkish commander in chief Mustafa would clearly understand that the grandmaster was inflexible in his determination never to yield. Bandage his eyes again he ordered. The man was led out from the council chamber and they took him out by the gate of [unknown] and set him before the bastions of Mustafa. And when he was in the middle then they uncovered his eyes and let him see the depth of the ditch before him and the height of the walls above. What do you think, they asked. The man looked at the thickness of the walls, at their height, and at the ditch beneath him. The Turks will never take this place he answered. Then Lavallette gave him his reply to [unknown]’s offer. Tell your master that this is the only territory that I will give him, he pointed to the ditch. There lies the land which he may have for his own, provided only that he fills it with the bodies of his [unknown]. They led Mustafa’s messenger back between drawn up ranks of soldiers and blindfolded him again. So frightening had been his experience, so awe inspiring the guns, the battlements and the defense, so grim the silent ranks of armored men, that the chronicles tells us he dirtied his britches. Mustafa’s reaction to Lavallette’s reply was one of blind fury. He had offered the best of terms to this Christian mad man and the only reply he got was an insult. The conqueror of Saint [unknown], the victor of a hundred battlefields from Austria to Persia was not to be treated in this way by a Christian pirate, the leader of a handful of fanatics. He would take [unknown] he swore and he would put every member of the accursed order to the sword. [00:28:37]
Well the battle that raged was just of unbelievable...
Well the battle that raged was just of unbelievable fierceness and they did not win. Finally there was a report that a landing ship with a relief army had come and so the Turks boarded ship to evacuate, to lift the siege. And then they had their intelligence report, it was just a small handful. And they decided to re-embark. But at that point with only a handful of men, just a handful able to stand, Lavallette ordered a charge against the thousands of Turks who were landing again. And the sheer audacity and confidence of it won the day. The Turks had no more stomach for battle with these mad men. Now here is the situation at the conclusion. Nearly two hundred and fifty members of the order had lost their lives and of those who remained almost all were badly wounded or crippled for life. Out of the Spanish and foreign soldiers and the Maltese inhabitants seven thousand had died in the defense of the island. Out of the garrison force originally consisting of nearly nine thousand the grandmaster had only about six hundred left still capable of bearing arms and many of them were wounded. Six hundred. Mustafa had been correct when he had surmised that a few more weeks must inevitably deliver the island into his hands, the problem was all his men had lost all heart for fighting them. The minimum losses of the Turkish forces were, Bradford estimates, about thirty thousand. This still would not take into account the ships and men lost between the island and the North African coast through the attacks of the Sicilian galleys. Well it would be a pleasure to go on to read more about that tremendous siege of Malta but suffice it to say it was that battle that broke the power of Islam. [00:31:38]
And since then it has been a weak and a declining power...
And since then it has been a weak and a declining power wherever it exists…decadent, incapable of very much. We saw in the Israeli war how the various Muslim states, the Arab states, crumbled before Israel, even though they had a vast numerical and technological superiority through the help of the Soviet Union. But Islam is still very much with us, it does control the major sources of oil in the world. It’s wealth as a result is tremendous; it is definitely a very important force on the world scene for that reason. Moreover one of the most important spots in the world is still controlled by a more or less Islamic country, Turkey, the [unknown]. It’s the key to central Europe. Most of the trade of the world passes either through the Danube and down through the [unknown] or through Gibraltar. Control of either of those areas is a control of immense power. Turkey is an artificial country that has been kept alive precisely because since its position is one of externalism the great powers have always felt we can trust the [unknown] in the hand of a puppet government like the Turkish government because they can be bought. If we allowed a Christian power to take it they might stand on principle. And so this is one reason why Turkey for a couple of centuries has been kept alive artificially by the great powers. The religion of externalism makes a dependable man, you know he has no principles. Now to continue with our study of The Frontier Age, chapter thirteen, page 118. I’ve called this era which history books have long called the Dark Ages the Frontier Age. Now the term is not original with me, as I point out in this chapter it is called the Dark Age or the dark ages because of the anti-Christian stand of historians. The term dark ages was coined by Christians; it’s not a modern term. It was coined by them to describe the non-Christian world, the Roman Empire, Greece, Asia, Africa, Europe, every part of history and every part of the world outside of Christ. [00:34:56]
But with the renaissance the humanistic scholars felt...
But with the renaissance the humanistic scholars felt that the Dark Ages were the ages controlled by Christians and so they’ve called everything from the fall of Rome to the birth of the Renaissance the Dark Ages. Later they’ve divided that into Dark Ages and Middle Ages but they did not regard the Middle Ages but anything really but dark. Now I’ve called attention to the fact that one scholar, Will [unknown], says that the Dark Ages began with the death of [unknown] in 524 and ended with the birth of [unknown] in 1079 which is very interesting. [unknown], the last of pagan philosophy, [unknown] who within the bosom of the church revived Aristotle. Anything between that was darkness, precisely because it was Christian. Now James Thompson who was not in any sense an orthodox Christian nonetheless has called this era that is called Dark Ages the age of pioneers which is a very interesting term. When do you have a time of pioneering? Well you can have pioneering when you come to a new land. The people who landed in America, North, South, Central, were in a sense pioneers. Pioneers are especially those who try and create a new life, this is why the word pioneer is more often reserved to Americans and the term conquistadors for the Latin people because they were simply there to exploit but the pioneer goes into a new country to develop it. Also you have pioneering in a collapsing civilization when any group of people believe that this is the time for rebuilding, for reconstruction. This is why we can call ourselves pioneers because if we believe in Christian reconstruction in this day the end of the age of humanism we are then facing it precisely as James Westfall Thompson says the Christians faced the fall of Rome, as pioneers, to rebuild a collapsing decaying world. [00:38:01]
Long before of course Abraham was a pioneer...
Long before of course Abraham was a pioneer. God called him out of Err which had a modern civilization, you would recognize the homes, they look very much like the Spanish style of home. Two stories with a nice veranda on both floors and servants quarters were on the first floor usually. Public schools, co-educational schools in Err and so on. And God called him out of that, a decaying civilization, to Canaan, to be a pioneer, to leave what was dying in order to make for a new people that would control the future. Now the so-called Dark Ages, the Frontier Age or the Age of Pioneers there were two kinds of pioneers in the main who were important. One of these was the Jews. The Jews were the business men who were scattered throughout Europe. They were lonely, alone, they didn’t have Rabbis but they took with them the Torah, the Law of Moses and they applied it. And so between four hundred and approximately a thousand A.D. these Jewish business men who very earnestly believed the Torah and applied it built the cities of Europe. There were no cities when Rome fell. Within a generation or two cities began to disappear everywhere. Rome from a population of two million in its heyday finally had somewhere in the Dark Ages, so called, five hundred people. That’s quite a downfall, isn’t it? From two million to five hundred. The new cities were built as centers of commerce; a Jewish trader would come to a fork, a good spot where there were people around about and he would start a shop there. He was robbed but little by little he gained an immunity, how? If you rob me I won’t come back, then you won’t have the goods I have to sell. If you want what I have to sell leave me alone. [00:41:00]
Than a little city would form around him, other merchants...
Than a little city would form around him, other merchants and he would apply the Law of Moses. Urban law in the western world was derived from biblical law, the Talmud. So the Jews up into the time of the crusades were great pioneers in the founding of cities. The other and the more important pioneers was the monks. Now there are many things about the beliefs of the monks that we cannot agree with, we cannot regard sacerdotal celibacy, that is, staying single because you believe that this was a necessary thing to do to be morally perfect, as biblical. Nonetheless you must say that God in His providence allowed these peoples to develop such ideas and use them to His glory and we can understand why when we analyze the situation. Rome had fallen, Rome had conquered and controlled a great deal of Europe, Central Europe, portions of Russia, across the boundaries into the southern reaches of Germany, Britain up to the Scottish border, Spain, North Africa, great areas of the Middle East and throughout the area there had been cities, there had been civilization and now of this had collapsed. It took some real pioneering to reestablish something and the monk was the ideal person. The monk had no family, he believed that he was called by God to remain single; he could best serve God this way. He would go out and on foot travel back and forth across the length and breadth of Europe, everywhere converting people, establishing a monastery, moving on. It was amazing how some of the English and Irish monks walked back and forth across Europe again and again into their old age when they were sixty, seventy, eighty. They’d just take a walking stick and they’d set out and if they’d hear on their journey somewhere there was trouble say in Germany and they were in France they’d walk up to Germany. And they would actually go and interfere in courts and lectured kings. They got killed for it very often but they also converted many of them. What they did was nothing short of amazing, miraculous. [00:44:17]
Now let me cite something from the venerable [unknown...
Now let me cite something from the venerable [unknown]. The venerable [unknown] in England about the time of Charlemagne.
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