Thursday, August 7

War on Terror, and Faith

The "War on Terror." The US has, in the past, declared war on poverty, and on drugs. In both cases little progress was made on those fronts. It's really hard to wage a negative campaign against a negative concept. In this one we seem to have a war with a few more concrete objectives and photo-ops, but until the Western governments get what, and why, it is they're fighting they stand to lose a lot more than their confusion lets them see. The war that has embroiled the "Western Powers" is far more far-reaching than a bush operation against a motley bunch of sand bandits, as the American Press would have us believe. What we are looking at is an ideological war- a campaign of values, ethics, and dogma that forges the rival Islamic sects and nations into a de facto coalition, and either joins Liberal Western leaders with them or at least keeps them out of the way.

In order to see the real battle lines, and the motivation behind the anti-Western forces we can look at the history of Western relations with the Arab East over the last two centuries, but that the resentments built up there are used more as a motivation tool than the primary cause. So also the fact of the more recent Western intrusion on Arab culture through the Media. It is not hard to see that the image of "America" that is seen overseas with the increase in porn in even the mainstream movies and the outrageous crimes in the news shows a nation of total disregard for the most basic sense of decency. To a people raised to revere a god of wrath and judgment, who condones the execution of a woman for allowing a bit of hair to show from under her head scarf, this "America" of such blatant indecency and violence is a great threat to their traditional family-centered way of life! On one hand, an Arab's religion is everything to him- his pride, his tradition, the ground of his being. On the other, no religion can change a person from the inside, to give them different "want-to's," so at the core there is a deeper motivation than "my pretense is higher than yours." Besides, why would the Left, both in Europe and the US, have such heart trouble opposing a militant "fundamentalism?"

In Belfast this summer a strange thing happened. When President Bush visited Belfast there were protests both at Stormont, the Northern Irish Parliament building, where he spoke, and at the Belfast City Hall. Significantly, one of the protestors hauled down the British Union Jack from the City Hall staff and replaced
it with an Iraqi flag. Now the Iraqi government is actually allied with the Western forces in trying to carve out some semblance of stability for those poor folks. Either he was just borrowing the flag pole to express his appreciation for the current government there, or he was cheering for the previous administration with its
untold atrocities against its own people. The first option wouldn't fit the anti-Bush, anti-America, message of the protest, but why on earth would he choose the second?

What other ways does this war show itself? Marxism, politely known as Liberalism today, is consistently coming out against Christianity. Whether in the different "freedom from religion" initiatives that make it an offense to wear a cross as jewellery or be seen with (let alone read!) a Bible in public in North America, or the more "progressive" laws in, say, mainland China where a person may still get 20 years of hard labor for praying with friends in his or her own home, the Left seems to see Christianity as a great evil, while wholesale abortion, even forced, and even late term and at-birth is somehow virtuous. This could be the reason why thousands of Christians in Asia or the Muslim nations for that matter, can be imprisoned, tortured, even beheaded on the way to school like those four teen girls in Indonesia, and the (Marxist) Press turns a blind eye, and even the big human rights groups have a hard time noticing! Are we talking conspiracy? Absolutely, and not at all. Con + spire, to breathe together: There is a growing movement among those who reject the Gospel to reject it more aggressively. Is there a Central Committee pulling the strings? Not that I'm aware. John wrote, "We know that we are of God, little children, and the whole world lies in wickedness," and that Jesus' light was revealed in the midst of this world's darkness, but the powers of this world are not able to comprehend that light.Today we see a growing animosity toward the Church on two fronts, and for two reasons. On the one hand, there is a message of righteousness which goes against the grain of everyone who would rather make, and break, their own laws. Just look at the noise that gets generated when a Christian group suggests that abstinence would slow the spread of STD's or that self-control in any way might even be an option! On the other hand, though, there is the problem of gross hypocrisy in the Church. The Gospel we too often preach, and live, is so weak and diluted that millions of people are claiming to be new creatures in Christ but living at least as badly as before they presumably were "saved." Anyone with the least bit of self respect is going to resent being told they "need" something which they see as completely hollow, and is going
to be in no hurry to associate with people who claim to take it seriously. In short, in order to survive this attack the Church must find her "clue bag" and take hold of the God Who is straining to transform and empower her to once again be the one effective offensive force against the spiritual darkness of this world, or
else wind up a battered and bruised laughingstock like the sons of Sceva. We don't fight fear, or curse darkness: Just turn on the Light! Is your Light bill paid?

9 comments:

  1. Your choice of images are A1.

    In Belfast...

    I think the most friendly people/strangers I have met were in Belfast.

    Just turn on the Light! Is your Light bill paid?

    A call to embrace the sanctification God can provide us.

    Cheers, Robert.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah over there they say that the Irish are the friendliest folks in the world, as long as you're not Irish!

    Brother, you're sounding more like a "Reformed Anglican" every day!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Reformed Baptist, more like it.;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yeah, well I love ya anyway!

    (1 Jn. 3:1,2!)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really don't see how the jump from "against Bush's war" to "against Christianity" was made here. There are many Christians - and I mean conservative Christians - in the world who oppose the US involvement in Iraq.

    Consider this. The US-supported governments in both Iraq and Afghanistan have proclaimed Shariah as the basis of their law. It is, at least technically, illegal to preach the Gospel and to convert from Islam into Christianity in these countries. The Christians in Iraq are reportedly worse off now than they were under Saddam, who would never force them to wear veils etc.

    And the US Christians are forced to foot the bill for propping these regimes up (through the tax-supported US military). So, YOU are paying for persecution of our brethren. And, strangely, supporting it.

    I don't have an answer on what to do in Iraq now; I would support reinstating Saddam were he not dead. I would start with legalizing Baath effective immediately.

    As for Afghanistan, the Russians tried first and they were not propping up Shariah; the US armed the Islamists - and got 9/11 as gratitude from them. With Afghanistan I think the only way is to acknowledge the old mistakes and just do it together. Starting with telling Karzai to drop Shariah (or at least the part of Shariah dealing with "apostasy") NOW or get szero arms and zero dollars.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Did I say, "against Bush's war?" The point is that Bush probably doesn't realise what it's about except, of course, from a political point of view. The bottom line to it all is that it is a part of the playing-out of the Scripture, that, "The kings of the earth, ..against the Lord and against His Messiah." The "Crusades" happened as a reaction against Islamic incursion. The Europeans no doubt handled it quite badly at times, but the reality was that the war then, also, was not East vs. West, though each side likely used the other's cultural distinctives for propaganda as today. The dividing point in this world is not primarily East/West, in or out of NATO, UN, Masons, or any other club; The main line is drawn at "What will you do with Jesus, who is called Christ?"

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well, you wrote some paragraphs about protesters at the US presence in Iraq, and then some paragraphs about opposition to Christianity. And I fail to see a connection.

    In much of the world, including Russia, American influence is widely seen as anti-Christian. And this is not because of some Orthodox/Protestant disagreement, but because of the immorality of the US mass culture. Most Russians know something about McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Hollywood; but you have to be a buff (like me) to hear of anything Christian coming from there, except perhaps some dubious stadium preachers.

    The war in Iraq, unlike the medieval Crusades, is NOT in any way a war with Christians on one side and infidels on the other. Also unlike the medieval Crusades, it did not bring any ease to any Christians. The Muslim Kurds and the Shia are better off because of it, but the Iraqi Christians are worse off.

    I do agree that many oppose America in Iraq and I do agree that many oppoose the Gospel, but these are not the same crowd and their reasons are not the same. In fact, I would see hedonism (emanating from American mass culture) and Islamism as the two biggest current trends against the Gospel, now that Communism and Nazism are solidly beaten. If one fights the other, there is no "Christian side".

    Of course I have to acknowledge I am not neutral. I strongly oppose the US presence in Iraq, while holding to a moderate conservative Christian view. And it would take some Biblical persuasion for me to leave that opposition - the fact that Bush sometimes quotes the Bible is not enough.

    You note yourself that the US has a major abortion problem - did Bush do anything, except empty rhethoric, about it? If he is not a Christian ruler in home affairs, I don't trust him to be one in foreign affairs.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Just to make things clear: in many cases I do support the US against Islamists, as it's definitely the lesser evil. Hollywood is better than Shariah. In Iraq there was a non-Islamist side, represented by Saddam; I'm not sure if it can be reconstructed now.

    But I deplore the fact that in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, the US actually support one kind of Islamists to hold back another, and this bankroll pesecution of the faithful. This alone, in my view, rules out any application of "The kings of the earth, ..against the Lord and against His Messiah" to these wars.

    Unfortunately this applies to most politics - one has to support the lesser evil. And we may legitimately differ on whether the US staying in Iraq or leaving it would be the lesser evil now. But I think we should at least not apply Christian slogans so loosely to the current wars.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Michael, I'm either doing a nasty bad job at explaining this idea, or something. This is not about patriotism, but the ongoing reaction in this world against the Light of the Gospel. Where the Light is allowed to shine, however weakly, no matter what darkness may also exist, is seen as a problem to the tribes & nations which reject that Light. You point out that the Islamists and the Left are two different groups. So were the Pharisees and the Herodians very different, and antagonistic, groups, but they shared common ground in their desire to get rid of Jesus. Islam sees the world as the kingdom of peace (islam) and the kingdom of war (everybody else), and seeks to establish a world of "peace" on those grounds. Socialism/Liberalism/Marxism as I understand speaks of "world peace" in which the planet is a unified super-state governed by purely Communist principles. The three things these two ideologies have in common are power & widespread acceptance, ambition to succeed, and zero tolerance for the Gospel of Christ. Leaders in both camps are pragmatic enough to use those common traits to their advantage. Speaking of pragmatism, I'm not sure we can say that Ba'ath is not Islamic, or that Saddam's reign was secular. He supported/used Ba'ath (a sect, I think, within Shia, his own tribe's sect) to oppose "mainline" Shia, Sunni, and other forms when he wasn't provoking against Israel and the West.

    I saw a sign in Belfast: Know Jesus, Know peace...!

    ReplyDelete

So what's your take?