Terrorism as Fake Evangelism
More good stuff from Bojidar Marinov: time to quote the man and toss in a few of my own words!
You are not to say, “It is a conspiracy!” in regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, and you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread (Isaiah 8:12-13).
True enough. After all, I’m certainly confident that Our Masters would launch false flag operations if they thought that they could generate more fear… and thus, more power for themselves. But no conspiracy can stand against the reality that God has made, and fear as a basis of government only consumes resources, including the legitimacy the Authorities need to maintain their power.
I’m going to pass by the first few of Marinov’s essay in silence: we already know that the American evangelical church are largely a bunch of “Two-Kingdom” secret secularists, happy to retreat more and more into the ‘spiritual’ box and give the government a bigger and bigger ‘worldly’ box, ‘for our own safety’.
(Until the State finally gets the technological ability to read minds: after which, the supposed liberal value of ‘free thinking’ will die so fast, you won’t believe it. Just as fast as the supposed liberal value of ‘free speech’, come to think of it…)
The assumption is that since the function of the civil government is to “provide safety,” therefore the political elite controlling that government can be trusted to “solve the problem of terrorism.” Of course, that elite is quick to propose and carry out the only solution it ever has to anything: war.
What has been missing is a Biblical analysis of terrorism, and therefore Biblical solutions to it. An analysis which would look at terrorism, terrorists, their motivation and their tactics and strategy from a covenantal perspective, that is, ethical/judicial perspective. An analysis which would take in account individual men and their self-conscious moral commitments; individual men on both sides of the dividing line – both those who commit terrorist acts and those who are their victims and, more importantly, their “target audience.” An analysis which would look at man in his covenantal standing before God – created, fallen, and regenerate or unregenerate – and through this understanding of man try to understand his culture and his civilizations. An analysis which would take the Biblical concept of civil government as a limited reactive judiciary over against the modern neo-pagan concept of civil government as a quazi-divine pro-active executive, and apply the dichotomy between the two to understanding the nature, origin, and solutions to terrorism. An analysis which would place terrorism – and especially Islamic terrorism – against the backdrop of redemptive history between the first and the second comings of Christ, and apply the demands and the power of the Gospel of Christ to both our thinking and our action concerning terrorism.
And the stage is set for some real Christian thinking!
And if the “war of terrorism” continues without any hope for victory, and if we are less safe than we have been before – and more enslaved – it is because we as Christians have dropped the ball.
Did you really expect liberals to take your liberty and freedom seriously? Or conservatives, for that matter?
Oh, please. Every terrorist act is merely a way to strip you of your liberty, from Bush’s “Spy-on-the-World” Patriot Act to Obama’s “Strip-em’ & Fondle ’em” Airport Security.
It’s time to pick it up, and go back for answers to where every Christian should go by default: the Word of God.
As opposed to the New York Times, or Talk Radio.
Terrorism as “Evangelism”
And with this subject title, the rubber meets the road.
Our analysis must start with the obvious observation that terrorism is not just a regular crime.
For one thing, most criminals want to live – and live free – to enjoy the fruits of their crime. Terrorists… not so much.
Unlike the criminal, the terrorist wants his acts to be public, to impress as many people as possible and become global news. As a rule, a terrorist – especially the Islamic type – doesn’t try to escape; he continues murdering and destroying until he can do it no more and then he is either killed or turns his weapons on himself. […] Criminals prefer to remain in the shadows; terrorists openly claim responsibility.
The actions determine the nature of the act.
Neither is terrorism warfare, modern popular mythology notwithstanding. Warfare in all its forms has as its strategic aim the capture of resources; and therefore the tactical methods of warfare are designed to achieve the lowest relative expense of resources for the highest relative damage on the enemy, or the highest relative capture of resources.
The terrorist is seldom concerned about such strategic and tactical considerations; the relative balance of resource expense and loss is almost never in favor of the terrorist.
Neither is terrorism simply acts of madmen devoid of any rationality. To the contrary, terrorist organizations are usually manned by men quite rational and intelligent, who are passionate about their beliefs and good psychologists. A man with mental issues who kills people driven by his madness doesn’t try to send out a coherent message nor convince his victims to do something. […] A madman is seldom focused on anything else but his own issues. A terrorist – or at least an ideologue of terror – must understand people very well
A good, logical breakdown on what terrorism is not – and so, leaving us to focus only on what terrorism is.
The motivation of the terrorist and his ultimate goal is this: sending out a message. The murders, the destruction, the spending of resources and even the sacrifice of his own life are all directed not to his immediate victims but to a broader audience. He knows that his message is at best peripheral to the world and life of that broader audience; if he was to use the conventional methods of “preaching” his message, he would be just a small person standing on a corner of a vast universe. He lacks the resources to capture a significant part of the media market and make his message mainstream. His message is morally and intellectually inferior to all other ideas in the marketplace of ideas. He is short on time: the more time goes by, the less relevant his message is to that broader audience, and his conventional preaching can’t catch up with the course of history. What he needs is a “marketing campaign” for his idea, a stunt that will make people listen to it. And since the ethical standards behind his message do not condemn murder, arson, or suicide – and even encourage them – his decision is to commit public crimes to make his message heard.
In essence, therefore, terrorism is the perverse counterpart of Christian evangelism. Both the Christian and the terrorist have a message to the world, a “gospel.” Both messages are religious and ethical, that is, they have to do with commitment to ultimate principles and standards for good and evil. Both the Christian and the terrorist are willing to spend their resources and lay down their lives for their message. The difference comes in their belief about the judgment that confirms the message: The Christian leaves that judgment to God, the only Judge. The terrorist believes his message makes him quazi-divine and therefore he takes upon himself to administer judgment in order to make his message heard. The Christian prays to God to change people’s minds to accept the Gospel without punishing them (Luke 9:54-56; 23:34). The terrorist administers his judgment as part of his message.
If you have been paying attention, you already know that Islam is at it’s heart a Christian heresy. Here, we know just how slavish and twisted an imitation it is.
And, just to repeat:
His message is morally and intellectually inferior to all other ideas in the marketplace of ideas. He is short on time: the more time goes by, the less relevant his message is to that broader audience, and his conventional preaching can’t catch up with the course of history.
These people are as much predestined losers as the Marxist are. Or the anti-child, anti-capitalism, anti-family endpoint of secular Western Civilization.
The Satanic World Order is entering its death-throws.
Fear – Godly and Ungodly – and the Limits of Both
Now, even though the Satanic System is dying, it is best for Christians to encourage as much a non-violent death as possible: or, even better, the salvation & redemption of the doomed people & culture.
This point may seem trivial to some but it is of an utmost importance for our analysis of the situation and specifically the solutions to it. If terrorism is not an ordinary crime, not warfare, and not simply the chaotic work of madmen, then all the modern attempts at solution of the problem with terrorism are doomed to fail. Of all people, we as Christians should know best that a message, an idea, a “gospel” is not stopped by government intervention. Sending more troops half-way across the world will increase government spending but won’t stop terrorism; terrorism is not warfare and therefore warfare won’t kill it. Giving more power to law enforcement institutions here at home will destroy our liberties but it won’t stop terrorism: terrorism is not an ordinary crime. Psychological profiling of people won’t stop terrorism: terrorism is not a mental deviation, and terrorists are just as sane as everyone else. These measures will only increase the risk of terrorism, they will deprive us of our liberties, but they won’t achieve their goal. Because an idea, a message, a “gospel” is not stopped by government action.
The only way to stop a “gospel” from being preached is through a superior “gospel,” one which will make the target audience resistant enough to make the efforts of the preachers useless. When the “preaching” doesn’t work but instead produces the opposite effect in the “listeners,” then the “preacher” will be forced to review his methods.
Which should lead us to the next conclusion: If terrorism is on the rise despite the war on terrorism, then we are doing something to encourage terrorists rather than discourage them. That is, there is something in our collective reaction to terrorism which the terrorists assess as “success.” We are obviously not only taking their “gospel,” we are submitting to it in a way. What we think is “solutions” – more military interventions and more power to the government at home – is apparently fuel in the fire of terrorism. If the “evangelism” of terror continues, then this must be because its target audience is submitting to the “message.” And unless we stop submitting, there will be no end to it.
In order to stop submitting, we need to understand what we are submitting to in our reactions to terrorism. And what we are submitting to is fear.
When we fear the wicked, we give a form of honour and power to them. Even a form of worship.
We are not to fear them: we are to fear God, and Him only.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. — Proverbs 1:7
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. — Matthew 10:28
But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. — Luke 12:5
But of course, our secular, atheistic society refuses to fear God.
So, people who do not fear God, shall be taught to fear men instead. A pathetic and cowardly shame: since even Godly fear is meant to be out-shown by Godly love.
None of this is to mean that fear is sufficient and that love is not a needed motivator and emotion. To the contrary, even though fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, we also see that God pushes His people to adopt love as their chief motivator. Jesus declared the greatest commandments to be “You shall love your God” (Matt. 22:38), and traces true obedience back not to fear but to love (John 14:15; 15:10). John repeats the same principle in his epistles (1 John 5:2, 3), and adds that “perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18), because “God is love.” The Apostle Paul makes love his most “excellent way” (1 Cor. 12-13). So while God takes in account man’s depraved nature and makes a lawful use of fear as an appeal to man’s selfish heart, He doesn’t want the redeemed man to be driven primarily by selfishness and therefore fear. As Joel McDurmon describes the problem with fear as a motivator:
From just these two quotations we can understand the relationships between Law and love, and Law and fear. Both have a relationship, but each reveals a particular spiritual orientation. When we serve God merely out of fear of punishment, we are self-oriented – concerned with only what will become of us – and thus we do not really serve Him. This is a stance of autonomy, for we are most concerned with our own well-being. But any autonomous standard is a humanistic standard, and this has consequences. . . . In short, those who live in fear will become servants of fear.
There’s also a darker side of fear. There is godly fear, but there is also ungodly fear: fear of men, and fear of idols. And if God wills that even the godly form of fear – which still appeals to the selfishness of man – diminish as a factor in the life of His redeemed people, how much less will He tolerate ungodly fear. In one form or another, the command “Do not fear” is the most frequently used single command in Scripture, even more than the command “Have faith.” The importance of this command is emphasized by the fact that the list of those whose fate is the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8) starts with the cowardly and the unbelieving. And no wonder, since ungodly fear is directly related to lack of faith. For example, the motive for the Israelites to refuse to enter the land was fear (Num. 14:9), and yet, the author of Hebrews interprets it as lack of faith (Heb. 4:2). Jesus also contrasts faith to fear in several places (Matt. 8:26; Mark. 5:36; Luke 8:50; etc.). Thus, if the righteous shall live by faith (Hab. 2:44; Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38), then the reprobate shall die by fear; and indeed, our salvation is described as being freed from the bondage of fear (Heb. 2:15).
A cowardly and depraved society soils itself in fear of some loathsome murderers from an ugly and oppressive society. Just as the godless were always predestined to do.
But remember: God is just. And this set of repulsive murderers is – in part – nothing but the natural result of our own evil. A weak, godless and insipid Europe invites a weak, godless, and violent people to dwell among them, thinking to use them as cheap, easily controlled labour. A violent America, trusting in guns and spies and lies and without confidence in the truth, law, or liberty looks for endless war to fuel endless oppression at home, and a never-ending stream of more funding and more government power.
This adds a new layer to our analysis: fear is not only an instrument of the terrorists to spread their “gospel,” fear itself is a “gospel,” an idolatrous religion which wars against the faith in Christ. Therefore, the very succumbing to fear as a result of a terrorist act is already a surrender to the religious demands of the terrorists. A terrorist says, “Fear me and accept my message.” While most of the time his target audience doesn’t accept his message, it still succumbs to fear, which itself is a form of worship. This succumbing to fear is a sufficient reward for the terrorist: he may have not been able to “convert” his audience to his religion, but he has made them worship it in a way through their fear.
Logically, then, if terrorism is on the rise, and if our war against it seems to be fruitless, there can be only one explanation: we in the West are succumbing to fear in one way or another. We are giving evidence to terrorists that their strategy works, that as a result of their actions, the West is abandoning its professed religious and ethical values and is reacting exactly in the way the terrorists want it to react. If there was no such surrender, terrorism wouldn’t seem to pay off; if it pays off, then we have been manipulated by the terrorists. We as a culture have responded in fear, and we have disobeyed the command “Do not fear.” We have become the “cowardly and unbelieving” of Rev. 21:8, and we are getting a foretaste of the lake of fire in the increased terrorist activity of our day. We have failed to pass the test.
Actually, I would say that we failed to pass the test in the late 1960s/early 1970s, when the fear of the future led to widespread legalized abortion. But let’s avoid getting sidetracked.
A Failure of Nerve
It’s a shame that with all the preaching and teaching and writing on the issue of “trials and tribulations,” American Christians are so ignorant concerning the real nature of the concept of “trial” and how it works. And because they are ignorant, when a real trial comes to the American church, it fails to pass it, most of the time. The cultural defeats of the American church, of course, must be traced ultimately to the abundance of false doctrines which diminish the Gospel to a few propositions about salvation, diminish the victory of the Gospel in history, and diminish the scope of God’s covenant with His redeemed people to their religious meeting Sunday morning. But a great deal of the cultural defeats of the church was caused also by the practical failure of the church in general to pass one trial after another, thus leaving the impression of being ridden by inconsistency and hypocrisy.
Because Biblically, that’s what a trial is: a test for consistency.
While some apostasy may consist in verbally denying one’s principles, most of the time the temptation is to continue paying lip service to them while at the same time abandoning them in practice. This temptation is widespread, and people succumb to it even without trials, just out of the habit of convenience or hypocrisy. Those of us who have strong ethical convictions but weak ethical nature are very often easily duped into adopting a superficial language of faithfulness and obedience while at the same time re-interpreting practical applications to fit our own passions.
And when it comes to terrorism, Christians completely fail the test, abandoning their principles at the excuse that “the situation is different.”
What We Should Do, versus What We Are Doing
Ideally, Christians would subscribe to these ethical and judicial principles:
1. We are obligated, individually, to help the stranger and to make sure he has equal access to all the economic opportunities in the land (Matt. 25:35, 43; Num. 9:14; Deut. 23:15-16; 24:21-22).
2. The government is not allowed to control the movement of non-criminal individuals. It is lawful to cross a border – even the boundary of private property – as long as there is no harm done (Deut. 23:24-25).
3. When there is harm done, liability is personal, not collective, and must be established on the basis of two or three witnesses (2 Cor. 13:1; Deut. 19:15). A person can’t be held legally liable for the crimes of even his closest relatives, let alone for the crimes of others in his group (Deut. 24:16). Only God is allowed to judge collectives, as He does in limited cases. Human courts can only try individuals, not collectives. (Christians know this principle very well when they respond to gun-control advocates or to accusations that the crimes of a few Christians represent all Christians.)
4. True justice is retributive and restitutional, never preventive and pre-emptive (Rom. 13:4). Giving the government power over non-criminal individuals because they may commit crimes would declare the government being capable of reading hearts and therefore divine.
5. No matter what happens, and no matter what danger is perceived, the Principle of Just War applies to foreign policy: A Christian can never lawfully advocate for aggressive war abroad as a solution to a problem at home, for targeting innocent life in vengeance for crime (Deut. 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chr. 25:4). Christian foreign policy must revolve around evangelism of populations and Christian war theory must be focused on punishing criminals in power in response to specific crimes, not target their subject populations.
These are righteous Biblical principles, and Christians have used them since the very beginning of the Christian church, both as an apologetic method against their persecutors (see, for example, Tertullian’s Apologeticus) and as legal principles in a Christian civilization (see, for example, Magna Carta, Blackstone’s Commentaries, etc.).
But terrorism, apparently, is a trial too harsh for American Christians to stand. Suddenly, these principles are forgotten, and American Christians want to be “wise” and “prudent.” Why? Because all of a sudden, after centuries of social and political experience with wars, terrorism, immigration, etc, “this situation is different.” The good Biblical principles above are then abandoned for the opposite principles:
1. The stranger should be subject to different rules than the homeborn, and his access to the economic opportunities in the land should be limited. There should be different laws for the stranger and for the homeborn.
2. The government must be given the power to control the movement of non-criminal individuals, even to the point of banning its own citizens from traveling without passports or other means of identification. Because, you know, security trumps liberty.
3. All foreigners must be guilty by default for the crimes of a few, unless proven innocent by a process of vetting, which, of course, is in the hands of the Federal government. Real witnesses for individual crimes are not needed, rumors of crimes establishing a collective guilt are enough, and suspicions based on irrelevant speculations or false data. “97% of them are young men in fighting age!” “60% of the women of Sweden were raped by Muslims!” “All the crimes in Norway were committed by immigrants!” “ISIS fighters take over a German town!”
4. The function of the civil government is not justice anymore but “safety” and “security.” Which means preventive justice and pre-emptive executive action. Which boils down to “Show me your papers.” And eventually the concentration camps.
5. The perceived danger of Muslim terrorism justifies aggressive war in retaliation, directed against people who have nothing to do with the terrorist acts but are themselves victims of oppressive regimes.
In short, somehow our generation had the bad luck of living in times so overwhelmingly oppressive and dangerous that abandoning fundamental ethical and judicial principles is now “wisdom” and “prudence.” Somehow our times have changed the meaning of “safety” to mean not “God’s protection” but “state tyranny in violation of God’s Law.”
(More to come, in my future blog post “Terrorism as an Excuse for Total Control”)