This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Concerning the name Islam

Perhaps the first thing we can say about Islam is that although the Prophet of Islam was named Muhammad, the religion cannot rightly be called Mohammedanism, as outsiders throughout history have occasionally named it.

To name the faith after the founder is appropriate in the case of Christianity, but not with Islam, and the reasons for this are important. For Christians, Christ was and is God. Christ is the one in Whom Christians believe and through Whom they believe salvation must be obtained. Moreover, the office of Christ is one in which all believers are permitted to participate through faith in Him. Thus, due to the fact that Christ was God Incarnate and the participatory nature of the office that Christ performed, such that all believers work to become ‘Christs’, it is entirely proper to name these people Christians.

Muslims, on the other hand, do not believe that Muhammad was the Son of God or that he was a Divine Incarnation. As we will see, the whole emphasis of Islamic doctrine runs against such an idea, insisting on the contrary that ‘there is no god but the God’. For Islam, God’s oneness is paramount. Thus, it is heretical and therefore insulting to imply that Muslims worship Muhammad in the same way that Christians worship Christ. To call Muslims ‘Muhammadans’ would be like calling Christians ‘Paulists’ on account of St. Paul, which if not entirely inaccurate, at least gives the wrong impression.

Christians do not usually consider it strange that their religion centers on a man and a historical moment, rather than on the pure and transcendent Absolute that stands outside of time. They do not realize that they are somewhat exceptional in this regard. If it be pointed out that Buddhism derives its name from its founder, we can simply respond: no, it does not. The man who taught the Buddhist way was not named ‘Buddha’ but became ‘the Buddha’, from budh, ‘awakening’, and so Buddhism is in fact named by what it cultivates, and this corresponds to an attribute that is sought by all.

Like Buddhism, Islam is named after its doctrinal point of focus, that which it seeks to cultivate in men. The word Islam is derived from roots meaning ‘peace’ and ‘surrender’ and the goal of Islam is in fact ‘the peace that comes with surrender to God’. The word Muslim means simply ‘one who submits’.

To summarize: Muhammad is not the Islamic Jesus, and although we cannot press the point here, we can remark that the Koran is also not the Islamic Bible, and that here too important distinctions will need to be made when we discuss the Koran specifically.

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