VIEWS\r\nCauses and Catapults\r\nThe Incarnation and Its E^nemies\r\nby Philip Jenkins\r\nFor over a thousand \\ears, Western ci\\ilization was defined\r\nb\\' the shifting rcHgioiis fi^onrier behveen Christianih and\r\nIshim, and the MusHm rehgion was the uUiniate enemy.\r\nWhenever Western Cliristians wished to eondenin a person or\r\na movement, the obvious tactic was to compare it to Islam.\r\nWhen a mecHeval French king wanted to justify his bloodv\r\nplunder of the order of Knights Templar, he claimed (falsely)\r\nthat the knights worshiped a sinister pagan idol called\r\nBaphomet, a simple mangling of the name of "Mahomet." hi\r\nStuart England, orthodox Chrishans faced a rationalist challenge\r\nfrom skeptical Deists, and they replied in the traditional\r\nmanner b\\' accusing their critics of being closet Muslims. As a\r\npiece of scholarly name-calling, it is difficult to beat Humphrey\r\nPrideaux's Life of Mahomet (1697), more fully The True Nature\r\nof Imposture Fully Display'd in the Life of Mahomet. . . Offered\r\nto the Consideration of the Deists of the Present Age.\r\nAnti-Muslim rhetoric is nothing new for Western socich', but\r\nwithin the past centurv', some distinguished Christian thinkers\r\nhave explored the full significance of that chasm between the\r\nCross and the Crescent. Mtcr all, jirst looking at the countless\r\nwars between the hvo sides, there is remarkabK" little to choose\r\nbetween them in terms of the saints and villains each produced.\r\nEven...
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