CHESTERTON AND ISLAM

I was delighted to see my colleague Tommy Kidd writing so enthusiastically about G K Chesterton, and especially about The Man Who Was Thursday, one of my absolute favorite books. Chesterton’s other novels are also very well worth reading, and each in its way is quite as bizarre as Thursday. Who knew, for instance, that as far back as 1914 he would write a novel depicting the Islamic takeover of Great Britain? I draw the following from my book God’s Continent:

Chesterton used Islam as a means of denouncing leftist and liberal secularists. In his fantasy The Flying Inn (1914), England’s secular elites delude themselves into seeing Islam as progressive. They see it as intellectual and rational rather than ritualistic, and (appealing to their own prohibitionist creed) it is militantly anti-alcohol. Islam thus knows what is right, and has the willpower to enforce it. In every way, then, it is superior to superstitious Christianity. Britain gradually falls under the power of Islam, Islamic law is enforced and alcohol banned.

Chesterton’s point is that secularism, whatever its adherents think, is itself a religion and a rigidly intolerant one, which leads naturally to new forms of authoritarianism. The book concludes with a successful revolution by English Christians, who rediscover their religious and cultural identity just in time to cast off the Muslim power.

It’s a fascinating work.

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  • https://twitter.com/#!/ThomasSKidd Thomas Kidd

    Thanks for the tip, Philip–will have to check this one out as well!