In this changing climate of terrorism, fear and warmongering, it is difficult to know where we stand.
In the fallout of 9/11, a seismic shift occurred in our concept of war and terrorism. Previous to the twin towers attack, battles and wars had been between tribes, countries, people groups or empires.
Even terrorist organisations were restricted to one people group or country, so identifying an organisation or regime was relatively easy. Once identified, it was a matter of isolating them, retaliating and eliminating them by taking out their financial support and command structure.
The IRA is a classic example. Once George W Bush declared war on terror and outlawed all terrorist financing, money laundering, the IRA effectively closed shop overnight. All of the U.S. based IRA sympathisers’ donations to their cause dried up immediately. All Tony Blair had to do was to round up the ringleaders and put them in prison!
The problem with 9/11 was that this was not an attack by a people group based in one country making a protest about borders or boundaries, rights or wrongs. This was the followers of a religion taking matters into their own hands to punish America (known asThe Great Satan to fundamentalist Muslims) for their perceived ungodliness, apathy and greed.
What this meant for the defence forces was that the enemy was invisible. He did not have a name or a national identity. He was everyone and no one, he was was everywhere and nowhere!
This enemy had no obvious political agenda in the traditional sense, these were people who subscribed to an ideology.
As they have watched the Western World becoming more decadent, more permissive, more hedonistic they have sought to reconnect with the solid immovable tenets of their faith.
This combination of disillusionment and a need to identify more with their heritage, has prompted not only Muslims, but also other non-Muslim young men, men with a lack of purpose and identity to spend time seeking to explore and understand the more extreme, more radical streams of Islam.
I am not condoning their actions, not by any stretch. I am merely trying to understand what makes a reasonable human being give up living in a comfortable western society to live in a dusty desert and behead people!
The Arab Spring was hailed as a new dawn for North Africa and the Middle East. Reasonable thinking educated people rose and defied the authorities, demanding basic human rights; dictatorship after dictatorship toppled. This promised great progression for a new rational era for the Middle East with reasonable new players at the tables of power governing the world of tomorrow. Unfortunately, as the iron fists which had held down the common man were unclenched, a new and frightening era was unleashed.
The centuries-old dream of resurrecting the Caliphate, a Muslim empire governed by Sharia law became a real possibility. And so now men and women are flocking to Syria to take up arms and to fight with ISIS for what they believe in…
The question is, what do we do about it? Fight them? This seems only to make them dig their heels in more.
Let them get on with it? If we do so, they will continue to get strong and will continue to threaten our civil liberty.
And what happens if they start trying to impose Islamic fundamental ideologies onto Western countries?? An horrendous thought…
Maybe, the answer is to look at ourselves and see whether any of their issues with the West, are justified. Have we become too liberal? Has our sinful attitude inspired a kickback from fundamentalists? Their methods may be unorthodox but do they have a point?
Christianity has absorbed many changes, has adapted to changes in modern thinking, has become more liberal and has strayed from its conservative origins. The church has remained silent about abuses in the corridors of power, in the financial sector and about injustices exacted in the name of war throughout the world.
John The Baptist had the balls to speak to Herod and to call him out for the lowlife that he was. He’d killed his own brother to get the throne and to marry his brother’s wife, the queen, sounds like something Shakespeare could have written! Yet this actually happened! And what happened when John spoke out? He lost his head! But, his integrity remained intact. What price is the church willing to pay to maintain order?!
Personally, I would rather lose my head and keep my soul than sell my soul to the latest fad that comes up the river so as not to lose face… (Or should that be my head?)
I believe it is this unwillingness to stand up and speak the truth about what the bible says and to hold God’s Word as sacred which has led to a terrible slide into debauchery and sin by society and is this continued silence which creates the breech into which Fundamental Islam has marched.
What is necessary now is that the church becomes visible and vocal. Visible in the media, not just the Church of England, but a coherent group of established Evangelical churches in agreement speaking out against injustice, sin and apathy in society towards issues affecting many millions of people worldwide such as hunger, crime, poverty, slave labour, sex trafficking and common civil injustice.
They should be vocal in clearly stating the word of God, vocal in stating where errors have been made and leading the way towards righteousness and right-ness.
Silence has led to great injustices, paedophile rings in the institutions we have built modern Britain upon. The media, the government with doubt even being cast over the royal family.
The church is the conscience of the nation, there to provoke her to honesty, integrity and holiness. “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin condemns any people” Prov 14:34 NIV
Only through humble acknowledgement of sin and a true repentance by turning away from the sins of our fathers can we see a sea change in the heart of our nation, then just maybe we will be able to a thermostat for spiritual change within the hearts of the nations of the world.