Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century

I don’t know if this is considered an acceptable source, but I wanted to know what you all think:
sneps.net/RD/uploads/1-Shall%20the%20Religious%20Inherit%20the%20Earth.pdf

Scary stuff there.

Indeed, Islam is implicated in 81 percent of the 42 post-1940 civil conflicts involving religion, and 90 percent of the ten civil wars fought within a single religion. Religious civil wars tend to be more intractable and ‘zero-sum’ in nature than other forms of civil conflict, and in this sense, more prolonged. (Toft 2007) Islamic terrorists also virtually own the field of transnational religious terrorism.

This, within the context of a section on Islamism’s ascendancy within the Middle East and growing power outside of it via immigration! :frowning:

One thing that struck me is something I have been thinking about for years now: The growth of illiberal forms of “democracy” via Islamist or otherwise fundamentally anti-libertarian forms of political participation. I remember when Hamas beat Fatah in the Palestinian elections and many in Washington were shocked, a friend of mine who follows the Palestinian situation closely said something like “I don’t know why anyone should be surprised. Fatah can’t even organize garbage collection, let alone run orphanages and elementary schools like Hamas does.” It’s not really about who guarantees less social/personal restrictions, it’s about who can provide what the current regime does not. If, as in Egypt, the religious opposition can paint itself as “oppressed” by the quasi-secular state, then the natural reaction of the religiously-mobilized citizenry would be reflected in increasing popularity of hard-line Islamist parties. The result would be “democratic” only in the sense that the will of the majority of voters would be represented. It would not result in a more open, free, or pluralistic society, or any of the benefits that we in the west associate with the adoption of democracy.

[quote="dzheremi, post:2, topic:195501"]
Scary stuff there.

This, within the context of a section on Islamism's ascendancy within the Middle East and growing power outside of it via immigration! :(

One thing that struck me is something I have been thinking about for years now: The growth of illiberal forms of "democracy" via Islamist or otherwise fundamentally anti-libertarian forms of political participation. I remember when Hamas beat Fatah in the Palestinian elections and many in Washington were shocked, a friend of mine who follows the Palestinian situation closely said something like "I don't know why anyone should be surprised. Fatah can't even organize garbage collection, let alone run orphanages and elementary schools like Hamas does." It's not really about who guarantees less social/personal restrictions, it's about who can provide what the current regime does not. If, as in Egypt, the religious opposition can paint itself as "oppressed" by the quasi-secular state, then the natural reaction of the religiously-mobilized citizenry would be reflected in increasing popularity of hard-line Islamist parties. The result would be "democratic" only in the sense that the will of the majority of voters would be represented. It would not result in a more open, free, or pluralistic society, or any of the benefits that we in the west associate with the adoption of democracy.

[/quote]

If you read further, you will see that it goes into more orthodox of all religious practices increasing in population and thus, will reverse the secularization trend.

Yes, I read the whole report. I just think that the projections for Islam are most striking, as that population has proven most resistant to secularism.

I find it rather disappointing that nothing was said in the entire report about the resurgence of Orthodox Christianity in post-communist Eastern Europe. These countries generally have large numbers of Muslims, as well, though they're probably more likely to be natives (Tatars, Circassians, Azeris, etc.) than recent Arab or North African immigrants, so perhaps they fell outside the scope of the projections.

VERY interesting report clearly written from the perspective of a secular modernist.

The author shows no sign of comprehending the difference between what he sees as the Islamic/political motivation of leaders in the Islamic world who encourage their people to have babies as demographic weapons versus the catholic idea of higher fertility being a natural outcome of a sexuality lived in accordance with Natural Law. He further shows no sign of recognizing the possibility that once the "rump" catholics who are more resistant to secularization become the majority in catholicism that their replacement fertility rates will have to differ from secular ones to account for the celibate roles of priesthood and religious life. IMO, that will tend to throw off his projections.

Overall a very interesting article though he seems barely able to refrain from referring to religious people as a threat to his ideals of civilization.

[quote="manualman, post:5, topic:195501"]
VERY interesting report clearly written from the perspective of a secular modernist.

The author shows no sign of comprehending the difference between what he sees as the Islamic/political motivation of leaders in the Islamic world who encourage their people to have babies as demographic weapons versus the catholic idea of higher fertility being a natural outcome of a sexuality lived in accordance with Natural Law. He further shows no sign of recognizing the possibility that once the "rump" catholics who are more resistant to secularization become the majority in catholicism that their replacement fertility rates will have to differ from secular ones to account for the celibate roles of priesthood and religious life. IMO, that will tend to throw off his projections.

Overall a very interesting article though he seems barely able to refrain from referring to religious people as a threat to his ideals of civilization.

[/quote]

Agreed. I might simply add that he does not seem to take into account the fact that most Middle Eastern societies are profoundly tribal, a situation that accentuates the importance of numbers. It isn't just religion there.

I don't know a lot of Muslims from or in the Middle East, but it is my impression, gained from those I do know, that those societies are a good deal more secular than we are sometimes led to believe. But it's a sort of "secret secularism" because the adverse societal and legal consequences of openly disdaining or defying Islam can be severe. Paying lip service overtly while doing whatever one wants in private is, for the most part, acceptable.

Ridgerunner, I’ve heard of this observation before too. Certain military members of my family have said that when Saudi officers (especially) get out of Saudi Arabia and visit the West for training or deployments their entire personality changes. Sort of a “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” approach.

Mind you, this is a rather small sample size and I’m one person removed from the personal obervation…

I suspect the same was true of christianity in earlier ages. When it was socially expected, lots of people went along just to get along instead of out of conviction.

[quote="manualman, post:7, topic:195501"]
Ridgerunner, I've heard of this observation before too. Certain military members of my family have said that when Saudi officers (especially) get out of Saudi Arabia and visit the West for training or deployments their entire personality changes. Sort of a "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" approach.

Mind you, this is a rather small sample size and I'm one person removed from the personal obervation.....

I suspect the same was true of christianity in earlier ages. When it was socially expected, lots of people went along just to get along instead of out of conviction.

[/quote]

I wouldn't doubt it, Manualman. A power of rough-hewn pagans got converted more or less perforce of force.

I know one can't make a general rule out of anecdotal stories, but this one is supportive of what you said above, and I do enjoy it in a wry sort of way.

A Muslim Arab who lives in the U.S. but was born in Jordan and does a lot of traveling in the Middle East for business, informed me, somewhat ruefully, that Arafat blew one of the best opportunities Palestinians ever had. During Clinton's administration, Israel and the Palestinians came very close to a real peace accord. The U.S. was going to provide a very large amount of money. Israel was going to provide water, power and talent, and to do guess what? Build casino resorts on the shores of Gaza!

You see, Beirut used to be the place where Arab Muslims could go to sin freely. Everybody knew it. But it was "out of sight out of mind" because Christian largely ran it, so one did not need to worry too much about being "ratted out". They had casinos and houses of prostitution and lounges where liquor was served, and combinations of all three.
As you said, "what happened in Beirut stayed in Beirut".

Well, Beirut isn't what it used to be, so Gaza was to become the "sin city" of the Arab world. Big, lavish hotels, casinos and other things, to cater to the wealthy and the sort of wealthy. Fatah would provide the "muscle", and its AK-47 thugs would become the guards of the wealthy and their indiscretions.

Arafat, of course, stole the money and put it in Swiss banks, as he was wont to do, and started the Intifada to cover it up. But not everyone was fooled. There is some question whether he was actually poisoned. In any event, Fatah was furious and it and his widow made some kind of "accommodation" over the Swiss bank account money. To some degree, because of the failure of what would have been a good deal for Gaza, which Fatah's leader had blown, Gazans turned to Hamas, the distributor of Iranian money.

Nobody knows how it would all have gone had Arafat not stolen the money. But there was little doubt in the Middle East at the time that the project would have been enormously successful.

One last one. I had occasion once to look for an unusual wine to give to business associates. I wanted something good, interesting and exotic. Well, to my great surprise, I learned that a very good winery is located in, of all places, the Bekaa Valley! It's operated by Christians and Druse, (neither of whom object to alcohol) in what has to be one of the world's worst hotbeds and training grounds of Islamic terrorism! Well, I came to find out that while the Islamists could wipe it out without a lot of trouble, they don't. They don't, because a substantial number of the Islamic operatives go tippy-toeing to the winery, largely at night, to tipple a bit, and they don't want it to end. I guess the patrons don't tell on each other, either.

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