Mohammedanism, the Heresy


The Prophetic Belloc on Islam

From The Great Heresies (1936) by Hilaire Belloc

Why it is a heresy

Mohammedanism was a heresy: that is the essential point to grasp
before going any further. It began as a heresy, not as a new
religion. It was not a pagan contrast with the Church; it was not
an alien enemy. It was a perversion of Christian doctrine. It
vitality and endurance soon gave it the appearance of a new
religion, but those who were contemporary with its rise saw it for
what it was-not a denial, but an adaptation and a misuse, of the
Christian thing. It differed from most (not from all) heresies in
this, that it did not arise within the bounds of the Christian
Church. The chief heresiarch, Mohammed himself, was not, like most
heresiarchs, a man of Catholic birth and doctrine to begin with.
He sprang from pagans. But that which he taught was in the main
Catholic doctrine, oversimplified. It was the great Catholic
world-on the frontiers of which he lived, whose influence was all
around him and whose territories he had known by travel—which
inspired his convictions. He came of, and mixed with, the degraded
idolaters of the Arabian wilderness, the conquest of which had
never seemed worth the Romans’ while.

He took over very few of those old pagan ideas which might have
been native to him from his descent. On the contrary, he preached
and insisted upon a whole group of ideas which were peculiar to
the Catholic Church and distinguished it from the paganism which
it had conquered in the Greek and Roman civilization. Thus the
very foundation of his teaching was that prime Catholic doctrine,
the unity and omnipotence of God. The attributes of God he also
took over in the main from Catholic doctrine: the personal nature,
the all-goodness, the timelessness, the providence of God, His
creative power as the origin of all things, and His sustenance of
all things by His power alone. The world of good spirits and
angels and of evil spirits in rebellion against God was a part of
the teaching, with a chief evil spirit, such as Christendom had
recognized. Mohammed preached with insistence that prime Catholic
doctrine, on the human side—the immortality of the soul and its
responsibility for actions in this life, coupled with the
consequent doctrine of punishment and reward after death.

* * *

Belloc’s 1936 prophesy

Millions of modern people of the white civilization—that is, the
civilization of Europe and America—have forgotten all about Islam.
They have never come in contact with it. they take for granted
that it is decaying, and that, anyway, it is just a foreign
religion which will not concern them. It is, as a fact, the most
formidable and persistent enemy which our civilization has had,
and may at any moment become as large a menace in the future as it
has been in the past.

Published in: on November 25, 2015 at 1:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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