The postmodern world is fond of congratulating itself that, owing to the withering away of ancient superstitions and the final triumph of science, religious warfare of the 16th and 17th centuries can never be renewed in Western societies. What can we possibly be thinking? Religious warfare has not only reestablished itself: it’s doing so in a vastly expanded and almost infinitely variegated form.
Back in the 16th and 17th centuries, arguably when European civilization had reached its apogee, the warring parties were limited to the Catholics and Protestants. As the struggle dragged on, the latter, as a result of Protestantism’s inflexible logic and innate natural tendencies, divided further into increasingly numerous sects at war among themselves.
Today, the field is even more diverse. The rival combatants belong to the innumerable religions that have arisen in the vacuum left by the decline of Christianity. Now we must contend with all manner of secularist, individualist, identitarian, and globalist. And, unlike us, they all have a sort of home-field advantage. They’re the natural flora and fauna of a world where various cultures and faiths have been brought into close proximity—and thus, inevitably, into conflict—by rapid, easy, and cheap means of transportation and communications. ….