Belloc on Heresy

One of our regular commenters, here, Mr. Richard W Comerford, brings to my attention certain quotes from that most insightful and fascinating book, THE GREAT HERESIES by H Belloc (1938 AD).

He shows a correct insight about the generations after him shared only by CS Lewis and GK Chesterton. Ask yourself why Leftwing predictions, starting with the utopian daydreams of socialists, or their predictions of eco-doomsday, are ever so risible and wrong, whereas those of these writers so perternaturally accurate.

Belloc correctly categorized Mohamedanism as a heresy, not as a seperate religion. The words below are his.

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“It is, in fact, the most formidable and persistent enemy which our civilization has had, and may at any moment become as large a menace in the future as it has been in the past” (93).

“Mohammedanism was a heresy: that is the essential point to grasp before going any further. It began as a heresy, not as a new religion. It was not a pagan contrast with the Church: it was not an alien enemy. It was a perversion of Christian doctrine. Its vitality and endurance soon gave it the appearance of a new religion, but those who were contemporary with its rise saw it for what it was – not a denial, but an adaptation and misuse, of the Christian thing” (76-77).

“The success of Mohammedanism had not been due to its offering something more satisfactory in the way of philosophy and morals, but, as I have said, to the opportunity it afforded of freedom to the slave and debtor, and an extreme simplicity which pleased the unintelligent masses who were perplexed by the mysteries inseparable from the profound intellectual life of Catholicism, and from its radical doctrine of the Incarnation” (103).

” …’that there would be a resurrection of Islam and that our sons or our grandsons would see the renewal of that tremendous struggle between the Christian culture and what has been for more than a thousand years its greatest opponent…. The future always comes as a surprise but political wisdom consists in attempting at least some partial judgment of what that surprise may be. And for my part I cannot but believe that a main unexpected thing of the future is the return of Islam. Since religion is at the root of all political movements and changes and since we have here a very great religion physically paralysed but morally intensely alive, we are in the presence of an unstable equilibrium which cannot remain permanently unstable”  (127-28).

” It still converts pagan savages wholesale. It even attracts from time to time some European eccentric, who joins its body. But the Mohammedan never becomes a Catholic. No fragment of Islam ever abandons its sacred book, its code of morals, its organized system of prayer, its simple doctrine. In view of this, anyone with a knowledge of history is bound to ask himself whether we shall not see in the future a rival of Mohammedan political power, and the renewal of the old pressure of Islam on Christendom” (130).

“These things being so, the recrudescence of Islam, the possibility of that terror under which we lived for centuries reappearing, and of our civilization again fighting for its life against what was its chief enemy for a thousand years, seems fantastic. Who in the Mohammedan world today can manufacture and maintain complicated machinery whereby the religion of Islam can play an equal part in the modern world?” (131).