Could Religion Save the West?

Aug. 14 2019

So argues Greg Sheridan, who sees the decline of religious faith, and especially of Christianity, as the reason for the West’s crisis of confidence:

The European Union famously declined to make any mention of Europe’s Christian inheritance when it produced a quasi-constitution. Modern liberal opinion is not only hostile to Christianity, it is positively embarrassed about any connection with it. If the EU holds the good parts of European history in contempt, it’s not surprising people are losing faith in the EU.

I have come to a disconcerting conclusion. The West cannot really survive as the West without a re-energized belief in Christianity. The idea that we can live off Christianity’s moral capital, its ethics and traditions, without believing in it appeals naturally to conservatives of a certain age. But you cannot inspire the young with a vision which you happily admit arises from beliefs that are fictional and nothing more than long-standing superstition.

[The “New Atheist” guru] Richard Dawkins, et al., assume that faith is irrational. Most British people seem to take it on faith (ironically) that to have faith is stupid. But the way I see it, faith is not the enemy of reason but the basis of reason. [Moreover], the most radical statement in favor of human dignity in the ancient world comes in the book of Genesis—human beings are created in the likeness and image of God.

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Read more at Spectator

More about: Christianity, Europe, European Union, Religion, Richard Dawkins

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia