This is a continuation of my look at Bojidar Marinov’s post Terrorism: Biblical Analysis and Solutions.
We have look at terrorism as a false gospel, and the fear of the terrorist as a form of idolatry. We are now shifting to the desire of the State to promote the fear of terrorism as a way to gather control to itself.
For the [outside] observer, it seems strange that Americans, and Christians in particular, should be so overcome by fear of terrorism as to abandon, or to temporarily suspend, their professed fundamental principles be they the Bible for Christians, or the Constitution for conservatives in general. If anything, our society today is the safest society that ever existed in history…
Add to this the domestic statistics: The chances for an ordinary innocent American citizen to be summarily executed by a police officer on the street are at least 10 times higher than being caught in a terrorist mass-shooting spree. The chances of being killed or robbed by a police officer are about 60 times higher than being killed or robbed by a first-generation immigrant (terrorist or not). The chances of being hit by a car are about 300 times higher than being shot by a terrorist. Etc., etc. Why is terrorism the factor that so paralyzes us as to make us abandon our fundamental ethical and judicial principles? Why don’t we call for banning all cars, or for abolishing police?
The author notes that this could be because we are spoiled…
Living in danger and persecution has been the share of the majority of Christians in history; that Americans are so panicked while living in the best possible conditions that ever existed on earth is indicative not of the level of threat they are facing, but of moral and psychological failure.
But there’s another, even more plausible answer: and it is that the very civil government and political class in the US, of whom Americans expect to act to prevent the threat of terrorism, actually take advantage of it for their purposes. And in order to understand this, we need to understand the transformation the totalitarian ideologies in the 20th and the 21st century.
…but at the end of the day, the real reason is because of Reasons of State – that is, more power-grabbing by Our Loving Masters.
Once upon a time, in early years, the Nation-State could pretend that it existed for positive reasons: for love of The People, or The Race, or The Working Class.
When the Classical ideal of the total state re-emerged in the Enlightenment, the totalitarians of the Enlightenment generally tried to imitate Christianity in giving a quazi-religious, positive vision to their subjects in which the state was the new god giving the optimistic vision of the earthly New Jerusalem. Before the rise of secular political ideologies in the 18th century, the future was separated from the government: governments stayed limited to their sphere of retributive and restitutional justice, while religion was independent, giving a restorative, optimistic vision of the future, whether in history or in eternity. In its political theories, the Enlightenment attacked the church by advising the rulers to take the place of Jesus Christ by giving vision, salvation, optimism, and a purpose of life, all under the ægis of the new totalitarian state.
As always, The Establishment wanted the fruits of Christ, without kneeling to Him. Always thieves, these people.
As much as all these ideologies hated Christianity, they had to rely for their success on the attitude of love and optimism created by Christianity: an attitude of future-orientation and sacrifice. But with Christianity’s influence diminished, such attitude disappeared, and in the final days of all these ideologies, the very people who espoused them were overwhelmed by pessimism and cynicism. Only the presence of Christ’s Spirit can maintain a lifetime of self-sacrifice and commitment; without it, people lapse back into selfishness, cynicism, and therefore despair.
With this death of secular altruism – and therefore of secular optimism – the old ideologies are gone completely. They can’t return unless there is a return to the same secular optimism and spirit of sacrifice. That’s why the claims of some Christians about some modern “cultural Marxism” replacing the old Marxism are false: Marxism without optimism is dead.
Marxism is going to stay dead, too. So, for that matter, will the democratic optimism Kennedy attempted to preserve:
But even as early as January 20, 1961, the gradual shift from a politics of love and heroism to a politics of fear and selfishness was indicated by those famous words from President Kennedy’s Inaugural Address:
Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. . . .
Kennedy, apparently, realized that there was a shift in moral commitment – from “what I can do” to “what the government can do for me.” As great as his words sound, they were only a powerless wish of a dying civilization.
In 2001, [Bush II’s] main message was a call to “duty” and “work,” assuming a population of self-conscious responsible adults who could be trusted to both provide for themselves and to fulfill their civic duties. In 2005, he started with fear-mongering, speaking of “our vulnerability” and of “survival of liberty,” and delivered the most patronizing and condescending inaugural address in the US history. America in 2005 was safer and more powerful than any other time in its history, and than any other nation, and yet, a President was officially declaring that “my solemn duty is to protect this nation and its people against further attacks and emerging threats.” To compare, Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural address in 1905 had nothing of the sort, and yet, just three years prior he saw President William McKinley assassinated by the hand of a homeborn anarchist!
Behold, the difference between adults and children; people who have faith in the future, and a mob of fearful children!
The official legislative break with the past came in the “Great October Revolution” of October 26, 2001 with the signing of the Patriot Act into law. The American public discourse was now changed: Liberty took the back seat; Safety and Security, provided by a paternalistic government, became the focus of politics. In the Patriot Act, the politics of fear became the official legislative principle of the new totalitarianism. The political discourse in America – and in the Western world – shifted to be entirely dominated and defined by fear.
Today, the real terrorists are not the isolated Muslim groups around the world; while they may be skillful in using fear against their target populations, they are still amateurs. The real terrorist are the different levels of government in the US, from the Federal government to the local police stations, armed with the ideology of fear of the new totalitarianism. It is they who have a consistent agenda based on manipulation through fear. And everything we said above about the nature of fear as a form of “evangelism,” applies to modern politics to a much greater extent than to Islamic terrorism.
So, both Islamic evangelism and secular evangelism is entirely built on fear. Fair enough, as they can no longer credibly promise anything.
To this, of course, we must add the more traditional display of brute power designed also to produce fear: the increasingly militarized police which treats civilian populations as an enemy in a war zone. The motive there, again, is religious, and is specifically designed to convey a message of divinity for the state. As I mentioned in another article,
It is for this reason that we see, in modern America, the growth of the police state. Since civil government in America has long lost whatever legitimacy it had under God, its has become a pagan state. Projection of raw power, then, becomes crucial to the maintenance and the legitimization of the authority of civil government. And not only just the projection of raw power, but the exercise of raw power in terrorizing the population is crucial: to destroy the rule of law, which is a testimony for the Gospel, a pagan government must replace it with rule of man, and that rule of man must be exercised against the Law, so that the mighty men may legitimize their authority. The claims that police needs all this excessive firepower to do their job are proven false by the fact that police is one of the safest jobs around; more police officers die of reckless driving than of assaults. The projection of power is needed because for a pagan state, it is the only means to legitimize authority.
The purpose of the “war on terror,” therefore, is not defeating terror; it is only a tool in the practical politics of the new totalitarianism. Its real purpose is defeating liberty by using fear to convince the American people to give up their liberty for security. All the aspects of the “war on terror” – total surveillance, immigration restrictions, national ID, gun control, military interventions – are ultimately directed against ordinary Americans, not against terrorists.
Muslims are amateurs when it comes to gaining worship thru fear: the American government is far more successful.
I love to see how Marinov separated the men from the boys:
The Real Solutions
These three main points of our analysis of terrorism must become the foundation of our solution to it:
First, terrorism is not an ordinary crime, not warfare, and not acts of madmen. It is a perverse version of “evangelism,” a message, an idea which terrorists want to convey to the world. Any “solution” that doesn’t take this in account, but instead applies military, judicial, or therapeutic methods, is doomed to fail.
Second, fear itself is perverse worship and idolatry. Succumbing to fear is forbidden by God. Even more forbidden is being so paralyzed by fear as to abandon one’s fundamental moral principles to “resolve” problems that are temporary and insignificant. When we are driven by fear in our reactions and policies, we encourage the terrorists; our failure of nerve is their victory.
Third, the government is never a solution. To the contrary, the government is the greatest terrorist of all, for it uses fear to appropriate even more power to itself. When we are panicked and call for more government intervention – closing the borders to refugees, more immigration control, more military intervention, more government surveillance and more power to government agencies, we are surrendering ourselves to our worst enemy, worse than any Muslim terrorists.
To start with, we as Christians need to pay very serious attention to the most frequent command in Scripture: “DO NOT FEAR!!!” Fear of man is idolatry. Fear of man is lack of faith. Fear of man is rebellion against God. We are not facing the giants in the land as the Hebrews of Moses’s time did. We are not facing Goliath on the battlefield. We are not facing the mighty Roman Empire, nor are we facing the Black Death, or extinction, or anything else. We are facing the smallest threat ever of all the threats that have faced Christians in history: Muslim terrorists. Statistically, they are less dangerous or lethal than our cats and dogs.
There is reality, and there are media-manufactured delusions.
No crisis, and no danger in this world can be a good reason for us to abandon the Law of God; no crisis, and no danger in this world can be a good reason for us to surrender our rights and liberties as Christian men under God; no crisis, and no danger in this world can be more dangerous to us than the God Who will judge this nation if we as Christians fail to abide by His standards in our personal lives, our preaching, our political actions, and our voting – and that only because we have swallowed the fear-mongering of the political class, hook, line, and sinker.
It is God who we must fear, and His Law that we must uphold. Men who are serious about fearing God have no time to worry about cats and dogs.
The politics of fear was designed with this ultimate purpose: to convince the masses – and especially us, Christians – to surrender government and sovereignty to the state. Once that sovereignty and government are completely surrendered, it will be easy for the new totalitarians to destroy the testimony of the Gospel. It is this threat that is the greatest threat to our generation today, not the bombs of the Muslim terrorists.
Giving the government a task which doesn’t belong to it will solve no problems. But it will surely create more problems. Safety and security are in the hands of God and of the people themselves. When we delegate it to the government, it will only destroy our liberty but it won’t provide any safety.
Amen, and amen.
The greatest, cruelest, longest and most brutal terrorist campaign against Christianity – the Roman persecutions – continued for two centuries. While the early Christians did use some temporary means to gain some temporary respite, they understood that the conflict was spiritual and that there was no earthly means to resolving a spiritual conflict. Generation after generation of Christians grew up with the expectation that the Roman soldiers could any time show up at the door and drag them to the circus.
But they kept calm, and carried on, evangelizing. This should be our solution as well.
The solution and antidote to false gospels is the true Gospel.
We in America are the safest and the most prosperous generation in history; we have the lowest crime rate in history, the longest life spans, the highest level of physical comforts, the best access to information; we have technological gadgets that would make the richest kings of times past green of envy; we can reach any point in the world within a day and make friends with people around the globe within seconds. We call “middle-age” what just 200 years ago was the longest lifespans. We have the Bible at our fingertips, and all the wisdom of mankind throughout history at a few clicks distance. We have received all this as a gift from our Christian forefathers who fearlessly proclaimed the Gospel and fought against wicked tyrannies.
And we are using this gift to succumb to fear of a dying pagan religion and surrender our liberties to a wicked tyranny.
It’s time to make a U-turn.
This U-Turn is done one by one, and then by family and churches; towns and counties, and only at the end by states and the nation as a whole.
But it begins with one soul, who will evangelize.