The Communism and Fascism which abolished God and disabused civilization of the sacredness of human life in the name of enlightened progress also destroyed much else. If we are lucky Islam is simply progressing through a Western vacuum that has not yet been filled, stepping over a population still mesmerized by the illusions of the 20th century. If we are unlucky it is coming to build the cities that we ourselves have dreamed, the necropolis over the ruins of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
This is extremely perceptive. In my three part piece on Narcissism and Society, I argued:
The second type of evil is more subtle, and it comes from the the opposite side of the Self. This side also does not see other people as individuals either; and instead sees them only as fodder for the expression of an IDEAL or as pawns for an Omnipotent Object (e.g., a dictator). People with this Idealizing Narcissistic defect (and by the way, such people are also capable of Narcissistic Rage when thwarted) completely reject the needs of the individual and enslave him or her to their IDEAL. Eventually, the enslavement--whether religious or secular--snuffs out human ambition, confidence, energy and self-esteem. These "do-gooders" cause considerable human misery and their ideologies can lead to genocidal practices and unbelievable atrocities on a grand scale, all in the name of the IDEAL or GOD.
Or, as C.S. Lewis wrote:"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
The necropolis visualized by the Soviets; the Caliphate desired by the Islamists; the Day of Christ's return hoped for by the Christians --all of these are monuments to the side of the Self that cannot survive without the awe inspired by Ideals; dreams; and the Omnipotent Other.
One way to think about religion, I suppose, is that is almost an absolute necessity for a healthy Self--or a healthy "Soul", if you will. There are few people who do not require belief in God or something powerful outside their individual self to feel whole and complete. Even those who vociferously denounce religion--from the Soviets to the Objectivists--get caught up in a quasi-religious worship of their ideology or its founders, or both--as a way of compensating for the loss of the God within.
Thus it matters greatly how a particular religion or ideology captures that uniquely human need for the Omnipotent Other. In my piece on "Union with and Evil God", I said:
The essence of religious ecstasy occurs when one's Self is perfectly united to the elusive omnipotent object of one's infancy; and this fusion has little room in the crowded psyche for the consideration of of those outside the fusion. It is just one's own pathetic little Self and God.
Usually, this is not so bad as experiences go; and many who are caught up in this incredible ecstasy are led to new understanding and appreciation of their own humanity; their Self is strengthened and renewed; and they may feel a benevolence and peace toward all other human beings. Fusion with a benign and caring god can even provoke monumental spiritual changes for the good in some individuals.
But this is not the case when one unites with a brutal, bloodthirsty, compassionless god like Allah the Merciful (what a misnomer!). The Allah of the gentleman quoted in the article above is hardly benign and demands not only your death, but that you commit murder in his name. The perfect union is still perceived ecstatically, even if the Self undergoes medieval torture; for it is still the desired Oneness that the developing Self lost early on in life. Allah the omnipotent object remains omnipotent--just evil-- and the result is a profound loss of humanity and a rejection of the good.
If, as Wretchard notes, we are lucky, the soul of the West--always questing for meaning and union with the Other to enhance the Self--will resist the lure of yet another totalitarian religious ideology. Islam will only be a passing attraction; and the West will realize that they have within their grasp already, a benevolent, just, and freedom-loving system that can nurture the best within each individual human soul.
If we are not lucky, then the soul of the West will be blown apart by the blood of suicidal Islamic "martyrs"; or alternatively, be harnessed forever to the eternally sick and sterile vision of our new 21st century totalitarians. In either case, "the shining city upon a hill" that Reagan spoke of, will become a malignant city of death and misery for the poor souls who inhabit it.