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 European Witness


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The European Prospect
Page 2

    Without having gone deeply into the subject, I am convinced that the Turks are the only branch of the Mohammedan faith, which has never made any contributions to the progress of civilization or produced anything which, as Sir Edwin Pears says, "the world would gladly keep." They have been destructive and not constructive.

    To understand how human beings could have developed such traits of ferocity and have left such a record of massacres, and for the benefit of those who believe that a high state of civilization is now to be built up by these people, who have definitely rejected the teachings of Christ, let us cast a glance at the comparative doctrines of the Koran and the Bible.

    That the teachings of the New Testament are infinitely more softening and uplifting than those of the Koran, no one can deny after a brief and intelligent comparative study. The general spirit of the latter book—and the statement is made despite the contention of those commentators who hold the contrary—is that of spreading its doctrines and the power and dominion of its followers by the sword; to destroy the unbeliever or make him pay tribute. It is polygamous in its teachings.

    It is founded on the Old Testament and in it appear the chief historical characters of that book. It is completed, or rounded out, by much of Oriental fable and belief in supernatural beings, such as the Jinns of the Arabian Nights; to which are added the so-called Revelations of the Prophet. Some of these are merely for the purpose of allowing Mohammed to gratify his own desires, as, for instance, the case in which one of his friends is commanded by the angel to give his beautiful wife to the Prophet.

    A great literature of commentary has grown up around the Koran, and it would be possible for its defenders to find much in it preaching tolerance, but its general effect upon its disciples, combined with the example of the Prophet’s life, convincingly prove that Mohammedanism is a creed to be spread by the sword. Written originally in Arabic, it is claimed for it that its beauties can only be appreciated in that language and that the lines in which it is composed make a peculiar appeal to its readers and linger in the memory.

    This contention can only be understood, of course, by those who are versed in the Arabic. It was for a similar reason that Tupper’s Proverbial Philosophy was at one time universally popular. I have read the New Testament in the original Greek, in Latin, French, English and portions of it in German and Swedish and I am competent to state that the words of Christ lend themselves to translation because of the beauty and value of the thought intrinsically, and because of the universal appeal, in every age, which it contains.

    The Sermon on the Mount is as overwhelmingly touching and irresistible in English, French or German, as it is in the original Greek. The same may be said of the Lord’s Prayer, and of most of the words of the Master. This is why, when Christianity is blotted out of vast areas of the earth’s surface by the sword, the club, by the ax and fire, we can consider that the world has retrograded for some thousands of years in those regions, and that the interests of the race have in general been irretrievably injured, no matter who gets the concessions.

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