B. Thornton on Common Word from Indistinct Union by cjsmith
Matthew linked to this series on National Review’s Uncommon Knowledge (link is to pt 2 of 5) with Bruce Thornton a Professor of Classics at Cal-Fresno. He discusses his new book Decline and Fall Europe’s Slow Motion Suicide.
It is certainly true that Islam built an empire quickly and empires are built with military prowess. See Britain in the 19th century, or America in the 20th for other examples.
Islam’s empire came from within as it were. Christianity converted a pre-existing (without) Empire, The Roman, and then proceeded to oppress Jews and Pagan slaughtering God only knows how many thousands in the process.
This is why Empires are very bad by today’s standards: Christian, Islamic, or otherwise. They were better than tribal arrangements which fought one another otherwise. Empires unify tribes which on the positive side decrease intra-tribal warfare at the cost of projecting more violence at enemies beyond the empire. And any conquered group not considered within the bounds of the Empire are relegated to minority/oppressed status–e.g. dhimmitude in the Islamic Empire.
That’s why modern social contract liberal democratic governments are to be preferred–and globalization which creates economic warfare between the nations (which not without serious problems is probably to be preferred to imperial conquests and wars).
And there are elements that seek a renewed Islamic Empire while generally Christianity is not in such a phase. (Though the War on Terror is seen by many as Christian–both pro and con it). But even that could change with a renewed Christianization of Sub-Saharan Africa or China or South Korea.
But there is no argument that a modernized post-imperial Islam (like a truly modernized Christianity) is any threat to world peace. And A Common Word might better be viewed as a very small start in that direction.