Old news, but still worth a comment

Here's a post I did not have a chance to get to a few weeks back:

In Charles Stross's amazing sci-fi work Accelerando, a Muslim cleric is sent into space. He is sent there to apply Islamic law. In order to retrieve a disobedient daughter, one of the characters (a non-muslim) appeals to the cleric to apply the law. This sequence strikes me as at once ludricious and also depressingly realistic.

The lesson for me is that humans will attempt to apply theological law well into the future and that some humans will cynically appeal to this law when it is convenient.

Which brings me to the case of Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who recently stated that he believes that the application of a separate Sharia-based law is inevitable in Great Britain. Christopher Hitchens provides a taut condemnation. The Instapundit provides links to commentary to here. One of the commentaries, provided by Jimmy Bradshaw, states that part of Williams motivation is that he hopes to pave the way for a separate Christian court. I feel both a sense of belief and disbelief that things have reached this point.

To imagine a day where Sharia law might seriously be contemplated in England seems nearly surreal. On the other hand that is the state of things in Europe.
This is often the point where the War on Terror is misunderstood, that we are engaging in a struggle of one religious ideology against another. However, it should be viewed as the struggle of global secularism vs. regional, radical traditionalism. More than ever, more people are free to say what they think, believe what they want, go where they wish, and associate and conduct their lives as they wish. This is more and more true for not just white men, but for men and women of all races.

Rationalism and scientific thought have been a major contributor to this growing freedom and as well as civil society in general, but it is not surprising that at many points virulent anti-rationalism would re-emerge and try to pull us back to the dark ages. With freedom, there is uncertainty. Without an absolute "moral" foundation, you are responsible for deciding for what is wrong and right. Some people do not like uncertainty and they do not like to decide for themselves.
As a result, we have radicals attacking skyscrapers, plotting the death of cartoonists (link here), and Christian archbishops supporting the imposition of Islamic law.

I do not think that the Archbishop's comment mark the end of this of foolishness, but it is a sign of things to come.

No comments: