The west is in a holy war with militant Islam, our God against their God. The trouble is, we don’t believe in our God, so we can’t see the situation truly.
When I say “we” don’t believe in our God, I’m not, of course, talking about those who have thought the matter through to its core, those who have gone beyond straw-man smack-downs in which Biblical Literalism takes on Scientific Materialism, those who understand that there can be no rational claim to objective good without the existence of a Supreme Good, and who know that evil is evil everywhere, no matter what the culture, what the time. I’m talking instead about those who have been swept away by the prejudices of the age, who wallow in the vague sense that “science” has somehow disproved “religion,” that we’re beyond all that faith stuff now. I’m talking about those who are still in some kind of adolescent-versus-Daddy argument with a medieval authority that no longer exists, or are rebelling against some doctrine they don’t like and haven’t taken the time to understand. I’m talking about our political, journalistic, academic and entertainment elites. Who are fools, as most of us know.
These — our thought-leaders — are walking blind across the holy war’s battlefield, unable to comprehend the motives of our enemies, and unable to defend the values the rest of us hold dear.
When Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan shrieked “Allahu Akbar” as he slaughtered thirteen people at Fort Hood, Texas, in November of 2009, the media scratched their collective head wondering at his reasons. For days afterward — days! — these clowns ran stories offering fantastic theories that Hasan had suffered post-traumatic stress from listening to the war stories of his patients! Our government finally decided it was a case of “workplace violence.” What else could it be?
When Islamic terrorists executed a sadistic massacre at our diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, to mark the 2012 anniversary of 9/11, our leaders blamed it on an obscure YouTube video. Because, you know, Islamic terrorists never act unkindly unless we do something naughty to stir them up. So dedicated was our president to this lie that he stood before the United Nations in the aftermath and declared over the bodies of the American dead, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
That morally idiotic sentence could have served as a battle cry for the Islamic terrorists who staged an assault on the French left-wing satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last week. Charlie had been mocking Islam with relentless courage and integrity. After taking twelve lives, the killers left the magazine offices declaring “We have avenged the prophet Muhammed.” For a brief moment, even long-blinkered American journalists were moved by the spectacle of people very like themselves being butchered to cries of “Allahu akbar.” But the shock will pass — is already passing. Already, the New York Times is editing its copy to remove any suggestion that the murderers were acting in the name of their religion, and on the orders of their God.
Seeing is believing, literally. Our elites don’t believe and so they can’t see. They know — some of them know — Bill Maher for all his nonsense knows — that free speech is good, but they don’t know why it’s good. They enjoy freedom — because like children, they want to do whatever they want — but they don’t understand the foundations of their righteous claims to personal liberty; it’s the endowment of a Creator who has become invisible to them. They may find the brutal Islamist suppression, mutilation and honor killing of women a bit untoward, but they don’t even have the language of good and evil with which to condemn it. They think sweet reason will clear it all up once we get past our misunderstandings.
The Islamo-Nazis fight with murderous passion, not because some video offended them, not because of some action our government took, not because of western imperialism — and not because of “religion” either. No one does anything because of “religion.” They do these things because of their religion, because of the specific nature of their god.
Our religion is different. Our God is different. Our religion and our God have set the patterns of our beliefs, our narratives and our philosophies from the year zero onward. They set those patterns still. Our insistence on liberty, our belief in tolerance and free speech, our respect for women — these are all the gifts of our religion, the gifts of our God, and can’t be intelligently defended without reference to their sources. You might say, well, we too have done violent things, we too have been intolerant, we too have oppressed women… that is, you might say these things if you happen to be an ass. The truth is, ideas shape a culture over time, over centuries. Our elites think they have grown out of our religion — but in fact, when we are at our best, it’s because we have grown into it.
My fellow satirists at Charlie Hebdo made obnoxious fun of all faiths, not just Islam. I understand they did one cover that showed the Trinity in a mutual act of sodomy. And yet never mind that no Christians assaulted them for this; that goes without saying. More to the point, here am I, guided and uplifted by that selfsame triune deity they mocked, praying to Him daily, studying Him deeply, trying to know Him better, serve Him better — and yet mourning for the impious crew who ridiculed Him, and recognizing them as my colleagues and my brothers. Why do you suppose that is? Why do you think?
It’s because even in satirizing our God, they were, unbeknownst to them, following His principles. Our God knows us. Our God forgives us. Our God loves us. And so our God laughs.
The terrorists who attacked Fort Hood and Benghazi and Charlie Hebdo are primitive thugs. We can defeat them. We can destroy them. But we can’t even begin to fight them until we know what they — and we — are fighting for.