The Gate of Artemis


Foreign ministries in the West are now organizing seminars on religions! You wonder who are the experts. Isn’t it a bit late to rediscover a phenomenon that filled our libraries up to the mid of the eighteenth centuries? Surely, the scenery has changed.
Who would pretend today that the West, having inherited the lands of Christianity, lives according to Christian ethics? The West ceased to be Christian long time ago. Despite the “fault line” theory or the “war of cultures” of Samuel Huntington that worry some on both shores of the Mediterranean, the major risk is not of a conflict between Christianity and Islam. You need two for this conflict.
Where is Christianity? Were colonization and imperialism expressions of Christian charity? Look at only two examples concerning our daily life. Lust: Christ promoted a chaste attention (“thou shall not have adulterous eyes”) but chastity, as a fundament of Christianity, was destroyed by Freudian theories. Greed: the scholastic Church used to say “cupiditas radix omnium malorum est” or “greed is the roots of all evils”. Look at the 2009 crisis, Wall Street Part two, three, four… The middle class is still paying dearly for it through a return of poverty in our countries. So the confrontation we should try to avoid would be between Christ and us, the so quote Christians. (“you shall call me Christ, Christ, and I shall not recognize you”).
But, granted, militants are brandishing religious banners and a conflict is taking place. Can we recognize it?
What we seem to witness however is a confrontation between Islam and modernity. Realizing this helps us to understand Muslims for a simple reason. This conflict emerges also for us. Many Westerners increasingly disagree with the negative aspects of post modern societies such as, for instance: i) the collapse of families leading to dazed children, loneliness and aging populations; ii) the lordship of money leading to lubricated economic exploitation, smooth transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, missing nurses in hospitals or dioxin in pork meat…
Hence instead of the virtuous North pretending to have the monopoly of morality over the corrupt South, we should help ourselves in the North by looking at our own dysfunctional behavior, families and societies. We believe in human rights while dismantling the rights of the family. Sensible Christians and Muslims would respect each other’s if they could find together the way to humanize modernity.
For this, both Christ and the Prophet established a spiritual foundation for morality.
We have not much choice left. Self-empowerment, the core of what religions were supposed to be, can pave the way for a return to united families, ethical behavior in participatory economics, responsible finance or the restoration of sustainable eco systems. The religion and the solution are inside. This is what religious masters told us. Shall the experts listen? Knock, knock, knock, anybody there?