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Additional Reasons for Christian Capitulation

Nevertheless, even in this kind of mission, the main point of attraction Islam exudes lies in the notion that when you join Islam, you will be taken up into the religious aristocracy of this world. This is the ancient Jewish idea of the chosen people that, shed by Islam of all its nationalistic baggage, morphed into the notion of world supremacy. The entire world belongs to Islam and all those converted to Islam have both the right and the calling to carry out this world supremacy. Muslims have turned upside-down Jesus’ comment to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world, otherwise my servants would fight.” Their kingdom is of this world and they may [Translator: “must”?] fight over it with the sword. This raises their self-image to a whole new and higher level. By becoming Muslim, you are incorporated into the aristocracy, not merely of a country, but of the entire world. This gratifies human pride and especially works magic on the lower classes. As I have explained earlier, this prominent feeling is by no means the least of the factors that have helped Muslims triumph over collapsed and internally divided Christian communities.

And then, not to forget, Christians suppressed by non-Muslim regimes not infrequently embraced the approaching Muslims as liberators. The Byzantine State Church persecuted dissenting sects harshly and so these sects owed the regaining of their freedom to the arrival of the Arabs. As the French Protestants cheered the Revolution of 1779, because it delivered them from almost three centuries of oppression by the Roman Catholic Church, so did the suppressed Christian sects not infrequently welcome the Arabs as liberators and join them in common cause.3232Such incidents are widely attested to in T. W. Arnold’s tome, a book very popular with Muslims till this day.

Finally, medieval Europe experienced a deep sense of divine judgment, even in its legal system. This was not like the kind of fatalism with which Muslims accept temporary occupation of their territories by non-Muslims. Rather, it meant that in the struggle between Christianity and Islam, the outcome seemed to prove that Muhammad was right and that his mission would triumph over that of Jesus. You should keep in mind that changing religion was nothing unusual in Asia or Egypt. Whenever a new ruler took over, he would either recommend the idols of his home domain or force them on the subjugated people. Usually they would meekly follow. People had become accustomed to such transitions. If you now remember that Islam does not completely reject Christ but honours Him above all prophets except Muhammad, then you can understand how an exhausted Eastern Christian community could succumb more easily than would Western Christians of 1907. After all the quarreling over scholastic dogmatic questions into which the Christians of that time entrapped themselves, Islam presented itself as a simple, sensually pleasing and steadfast religion. The prayers were all prescribed. All behaviour in family and society was guided by clearly defined laws. In spite of these laws, many questionable types of behaviour were allowed to pass; there was freedom and latitude so that they could continue to observe many marginal practices from their own traditions. The spider of Islam only gradually spun its web around the fly, but once the fly was in its web, it would slowly be totally enveloped. That new spirit would impress itself on his heart so that it would rule his entire life and he slowly develop into a Muslim, heart and soul, bone and marrow.

Nevertheless, it remains a mystery how the higher Christian religion in all these countries could give up so helplessly in such a short time that it was reduced to a mere residue. But though under the rule of God this almost total disappearance of the Eastern Church remains a dark spot, there are also a few light beams that help us somewhat understand and that should temper our judgement over the lack of faithfulness of those Christians. Their divisions broke their back; the mass conversions to Christ under the political influence of emperors was more illusory than real [italics by translator]; the superior power of Islam was imposing; their social humiliation wore down all resistance; Islam pleased the instincts of the sensual and lust for power; the superiority of Islam in its high scholarly developments soon became nearly irresistible. Islam put itself in line with the Christian tradition and replaced it with a form of religion that was simple in its conceptions, gave solid norms for life and was powerfully disseminated in nation after nation through the conviction of its adherents. Even today (1907) we can observe in Africa and in our own Dutch Archipelago of Indonesia how Islam, once it has entered a nation, tends to spread spontaneously and gradually until it has captured the spirit of the nation as a whole.

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