So, we see our eschatological fantasy come to life in our time. The great Clash of Civilizations is upon us. This is a time of Profound Upheaval, but even Righteous Warriors need a little humor sometimes; for they must keep their spirits up in the midst of the corporeal carnage that is meant to pave the way to our respective Providential Victories. Turning our civilizations into cartoons is an effective way to achieve that.
Reza Aslan explains how this paradigm was employed recently:
...the sad irony is that the Muslims who have resorted to violence in response to this offense are merely reaffirming the stereotypes advanced by the cartoons. Likewise, the Europeans who point to the Muslim reaction as proof that, in the words of the popular Dutch blogger Mike Tidmus, "Islam probably has no place in Europe," have reaffirmed the stereotype of Europeans as aggressively anti-Islamic.
Civilization W(est) mocked its adversary, Civilization I(slam), using as a stealth weapon one of its strongest, but judiciously used, precepts, Freedom of Expression (FOE). Using caricatures of CI's prophet (Mohammed) as the vehicle of ridicule was a brilliant idea. CI, however, saw through this tactic; it realised that CW knew that CI shared all of CW's prophets (Jesus, Moses, Abraham, etc.), so could not retaliate in kind. In its retaliation, CI sought to knock down CW's boosted spirits by simulating Hell in the shrines of another of CW's purported precepts, Diplomacy. Having apparently gained the upper hand, CI then proceeded to turn CW's FOE weapon back on CW, and shot back with cartoons mocking the attempted extermination*, 65 years ago, of what is now CW's local proxy. This was an easy target for CI, since this CW proxy's existence and behavior in CI's midst had been a bone of contention between CI and CW for over half a century.
An unintended side-effect of this skirmish was that each side turned itself into a caricature of itself. This must be what they mean when they say that God works in mysterious ways. I wonder if He's laughing with us or at us. Possibly neither...as I think about it...He's most likely going, "Hmmm. A civilization is just like the people it's made of. It can endure injustice and humiliation up to a point. Eventually, if pushed relentlessly, the eruption of its cumulative outrage can be triggered by the slightest jab at a raw nerve."
* Corrected inaccuracy: Changed "attempted genocide" to "attempted extermination."
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