Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Theologians for the most part are a placid and contemplative tribe. That is a shame, for practical theology can be exhilirating. No-one allow me into a PhD program in theology, one academic friend warns, much less give me a teaching position at any reputable (or even disreputable) institution of higher learning. That’s probably for the best. I probably would do things like this:

“Class, your final assignment for the semester is: Devise a heresy for someone else’s religion.”

In today’s Spengler essay at Asia Times Online, I suggest — just for purposes of argument, mind you — that certain intelligence services might have an interest in devising Islamic heresies.

Asymmetrical warfare was supposed to benefit the insurgents. For the price of a few flying lessons a gang of jihadis brought down the World Trade Center, a terrorist with a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and powdered Tang can blow up an airplane, and a few pounds of plutonium can cripple a major city.

Meet the Reverend Terry Jones, asymmetrical warrior. It appears that pinpricks can produce chain reactions in the Islamic world. The threat may be termed asymmetrical because Islam is more vulnerable to theological war than Christianity (or for that matter Judaism). 

Instead of trying to stabilize the Islamic world, suppose - just for the sake of argument - that one or two world powers set out to throw it into chaos. I am not advocating such a strategy, only evaluating its effectiveness.

I cite a few candidate for instigators (including Russia and Turkey) and offer some examples of prospective heresies.

Not that I am actually proposing to do this — as Richard Nixon said to the tape recorder, “We could do this, but it would be wrong.”



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles