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THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS AND THE COMFORT OF IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

It is interesting that the full details about the current rioting in Paris and its suburbs are not being given in most of the media. Here is the opening line of a report from today on AOL: “Bands of youths torched more than 750 cars and burned warehouses and a nursery school in a ninth night of violence that spread from the restive Paris suburbs to towns around France.” You have to read most of the article to find out that the rioting is taking place in areas that are “home to large populations of African Muslim immigrants and their children living in low-income housing projects marked by high unemployment, crime and despair.” The riots are being done by Muslims. Similar riots have also been taking place in Denmark, which are clearly religiously motivated. See this post at Southern Appeal.

What will it take for the western media to realize that Islam is not a religion of peace, as so many blithely claim, but one that clearly espouses violence and that in its holy book? “Holy” violence is at the heart of Islam from its earliest history and is central to its current reality. Of course, this is not to deny that the poverty and despair of the housing estates play a significant factor in the cause of the riots. But the western media, and especially that in France, have been reluctant to admit that what is going on here is really a clash of civilizations, to use a well-worn phrase made popular by Samuel P. Huntington, a Harvard political scientist.  

Huntington used this phrase in his Summer 1993 Foreign Affairs essay “The Clash of Civilizations?” and he later expanded the idea into a book. In essence, he argued that Islam has bloody borders and wherever it is currently advancing in the world there is violence. Huntington’s hypothesis has not been without significant critique (see the items listed @ Clash of Civilizations?), but it does seem to have substantial evidence to back it up. The rioting in France seems to offer further support for Huntington’s hypothesis.

How then do we, who are believers, need to live in such a day as this? We need to pray passionately for the invincible advance of the gospel (see the model for this in 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2). And we need to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers amidst the harvest fields of Islam, ever confident that God will save his people. Is the salvation of a spiritually dead western secularist easier than that of a fervent, yet also spiritually dead, Muslim? Of course not! The power needed to bring about salvation of both is alike to the Spirit. Oh the comfort of irresistible grace!