Nothing “senseless” about it

I don’t like war. But when it happens, it doesn’t matter what I like. And if I dub an act of violence “senseless” when it makes perfect sense in war, I practice self-deceit.

We’re watching war, like it or not. We’re at war, like it or not. We have a tough time saying that word “war” because a) the events don’t fit our patterns of territorial acquisition – though they really do – and b) our very neighbors can be turned into the enemy without our knowing. And let’s be sure we fully understand the murderous antipathy that happens in b); body counts tell a vivid story of hatred.

The root of Islamic terrorism is a mix of greed, poverty and broken, missing or dysfunctional government. I don’t mean American or European government, but that in the Middle East from where most jihadists hail. They find Quranic verses to justify all manner of depravity and slaughter. But they recruit those who calculate they have little to lose in life and yearn to be heroes of something. And indeed they do not.

jihadpic

Why then are the targets America and Europe? It’s because those nations are seen – somewhat accurately – as those with interests that prop up corrupt and oppressive regimes while vaunting an un-Islamic culture. Jihad is waged against infidels – those of another belief system. But it’s more than that internally. It’s a tribal-based chauvinism directed against those who have shamed the tribe. And there is no statute of limitations on such feelings of shame – the nations of Europe and America are called Crusaders due to a long, selective memory (indeed there was no America yet).

It is of interest that if America and Europe stopped consuming Mideast oil that China and Russia would continue – propping up those same leaders.

As important as any of those sentiments are, there is one that is greater. It is so strong that bitter Muslim enemies unite behind it. Of course I mean resentment towards the democratic state of Israel. Its Jewish identity offends Muslims. The tragic relations between Arabs and Jews have created a permanent state of war. Of course, who but the Europeans and Americans are those who support Israel? Thus, the lumping. And again, not inaccurate.  Though to emphasize the good sense in supporting Israel – it remains one of the only nations in the Middle East where an Arab (yes Arab!) can vote.

But there’s no getting around it – Western Civilization, for all its flaws and injustices – stands opposed to the caliphates, monarchies and oligarchies of the Middle East. And I have no issue with citing its evolved superiority. I don’t say that proudly because there is no human history without systemic crimes and injustices. But the means in place to address those are further along in the West.

It’s obvious that this war cannot be fought conventionally. George W. Bush said that after 9/11 but no one has gone deeper into strategy beyond better military options. I am no pacifist in this conflict, but if one leads with guns one or uses only guns, then it will only enforce the hatred, ironically because our guns are better than theirs.

So, what to do? There are thousands of lists out there, so here’s number 4903:

  1. Love a Muslim. It is absolutely true that most Muslims are NOT jihadists. They don’t even bite. They need to be heard, understood and loved.
  2. Nix the tribe. Individuals are much more effective to engage with than armies. And I don’t even mean the armies with guns. If I want another to surrender his/her preconceptions, I should surrender mine. Because most of them did not come from me in the first place.
  3. His name is Jesus.  The Crusaders got it wrong.  Very wrong.  This is not at odds with “nix the tribe” because Jesus followers are from every tribe.  He didn’t conquer by force, he did so by dying, loving those who were killing him.  And yes, that’s more powerful than suicide belts.
  4. Work and support justice for the poor. Very few charities get the money to the problem. Find one. Support it. Raise a child.
  5. Become energy independent. Not only in the name of being green, or more natural but because Mideast oil is too valuable to the whole world.
  6. Advocate for better Israeli/Arab relations. It’s a bitter past but not all Arab people are united in the desire to destroy Israel. Nor are all Israelis hateful of Arabs. There has to be middle ground to find here. Support those who seek to find and walk on it.
  7. Pray. Doubtless there are those who are decidedly non- or even anti-spiritual reading this. That’s okay, we’ll pray for you too. These problems are bigger than us all, so I have no problem promoting them to One who can actually help.
  8. Fight and support the fight. Yes this includes supporting the military forces of the West, but it’s also a cultural and moral fight. Learn the truth and tell it – even if it indicts our side and thus pollutes our cause. Truth wins the war.

We have a mess on our hands. Doing nothing is not an option. Jihadis want us dead. It’s a war.

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Faith to kill for or die for

The Queen of Hearts “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!!”

Disney’s depiction of the Queen of Hearts is accurate to Lewis Carroll’s story.  Wonderland is not a real place though in her dream, Alice is certainly convinced it is.  So the Queen and her army of cards is to be laughed at as a caricature of real power.  Though she may in fact have her capital sentence carried out, it’s make-believe and the reader, along with Alice, will awaken to a more peaceable reality when the story ends.  Or the Queen dies, or something.

Radical Islam in its many apparitions is making similar threats and carrying them out for us all to view on Youtube.  The latest and most savage of the groups with the penchant for separating head from shoulders is ISIS.  Reports are becoming verified that they are in fact doing it against people who don’t share the Muslim faith, showing “what happens” to infidels.  Well, what happens in Mosul to infidels when marauding, ruthless men with guns and knives take the place over.

Beheading, except when done by the guillotine, has never been a particularly efficient way to get the job done.  Even ISIS resorts to mass execution via single-shot-to-head means when time is short.

No, decapitation is to make an example of someone, to humiliate and terrify one’s enemy.  And in the case of radical Islam, it is to keep those in the faith quaking in their boots to stay in the faith.  Such a faith could demand 40-times-a-day prayer instead of the 5 without any resistance.

Except by those who are  pledged to heaven.

I’m going to get quite spiritual here because the whole authority radical Islam claims is purportedly spiritual.  Allah – Arabic for God – is the one whose will they fulfill as they carry out their barbarism.

The God I believe in, in contrast, has exercised authority over death.

1 Corinthians 15:55  “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

And He will exercise that authority for me and all who believe as well.

It is an elementary observation that, as Jim Morrison pointed out “no one gets out of here alive.”

Now, this is no celebration of death like the gory Islamist but a celebration of life.  Eternal life.

Yup, I believe that, as all –  even those presently in ISIS – are invited to believe.

And I’d rather have a faith to die for than one to kill for.

There a lots of beheadings in the Bible.  Goliath, Saul and John the Baptist, to name three.  And songwriter Keith Green wrote a song of dedication when he read of the story of John the Baptist.  Here’s a cover of it (I don’t know the singer, but he does a good job):

Now because people get things wrong, I need to explain this is NOT a death wish – I am not looking for someone to behead me, specifically.  Nor is it in any way a condoning of the butchery going on right now.  Nor am I a pacifist – I think ISIS will be fought on the ground by international forces someday and it will be just.

But should the end come – however it should come – I have it covered.  You should too, really.

This is not an evangelistic meeting.  Nor formulas, ceremonies or magic incantations.  Just pray, okay?  Ask Jesus (Arabic Isa) to show you who He is.  Just you and Him.  Ask Him to save you.  He can and will.