|The United States reeled in horror and disbelief when a
routine Tuesday, September 11, 2001, morning was suddenly and forever changed by the
thunderous explosions and vivid images of unbelievable destruction and death at the World
Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The pictures flashed before
a stunned nation seemed so unreal - the huge
fireball of a commercial airliner crashing into the north tower followed
within minutes by a second fireball erupting from the south tower coupled simultaneously
with the fiery scenes from the Pentagon building - more like the special effects from some
movie long forgotten than that of real life.
But as the minutes
and hours progressed and, glued to televisions and radio, we watched the twin towers
collapse into a huge mound of twisted steel, smoke, and debris;
the Pentagon burn uncontrollably; learned of another hijacked plane crashed
in Pennsylvania; and the estimates of dead and injured began to be broadcast, the reality
of the events bore down upon us. The nation was numbed of response to the vivid expression
of hate and violence.
America Faces Reality
Not that we didn't know there were those in the world that really hated us.
We learned, perhaps even grew accustomed, of their hatred over the years through various
terroristic attacks on our foreign embassies, kidnappings, the bombing of a naval ship,
and even the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. But those seemed distant, isolated
incidences of little significance perpetrated by insignificant people a long way from
home. Even the basement bombing of the WTC, while done in our own back yard, didn't seem
to threaten our sense of security or the normalcy of life in America as we had grown
accustomed to. Yes, we knew there were people out there, somewhere, that did not like our
way of life, but it is vague as to who they were and we were not real sure why they hated
As we watched the images of destruction repeated over and over on
television and as the estimates of fatalities began to mount and sink deep into our
numbness gave way to grief and anger, fear and anticipation, and a sudden realization
of the smallness of our world and our own vulnerability.
What began as impersonal estimates of casualties quickly became personal stories of
individual horror, courage, despair, and love. A nation listened to the voice recordings
of loved ones on cell phones, unexpectedly trapped either in burning buildings or
hijacked planes, attempting to make contact wanting to say goodbye; we saw photo
after photo of real faces as desperate husbands, wives, and children searched for those
they loved, we watched in horror as real people, forced from the towers by intense heat
and smoke, leaped in vain to their death; and we all truly grieved over the imagination of
horror the victims must have suffered and the reality of the horror suffered by survivors,
rescue workers, and loved ones.
Realizing that America would soon begin the search for the perpetrators, countries and
ideological groups began tripping over themselves to disclaim any participation or
foreknowledge of the attack. Pakistan quickly offered its full and unconditional support
to the US and even Yasser Arafat realized the potential consequences of the broadcasted
scenes of celebrating Palestinians on the West Bank.
Talk of war and retaliation quickly began emerging from our national leadership.
President Bush declared the atrocity an act of war against the United
States and many drew parallels with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. And yet the
heavy-handed talk seemed somehow hollow as there was no identifiable political enemy to
point our guns toward. Only a single personality with a rather large network of radical,
disbursed renegades, Osamma bin Laden, could be named the most likely suspect.
21st Century Guerilla Warfare
Targeting bin Laden for arrest as the principal mastermind, if not directly then certainly
indirectly, of the attacks presents logistical and ideological challenges to the United
States not previously encountered. Logistically, it has already been proven he is not easy
to apprehend. Shielded by the Taliban government of Afghanistan, bin Laden's constant
movement from one mud hut to another cave hideout makes it nearly impossible to know or
anticipate his whereabouts. Additionally, thoughts that the Taliban government, who shares
bin Laden's militant Islamic beliefs, would commit the ultimate Muslim act of treason by
turning him over to the kuffaar, the enemies of God and His Messenger, is absurd.
Past declarations of war have been aimed at specific and identifiable political
governments located in specific geographical areas of the world. Such is not the case with
bin Laden and his network of terrorists, the al-Qaida. Loyalists to bin Laden are
organized into "cells" that are reported to exist in over 60 different countries
around the world. Each cell, while under the guidance of bin Laden through a chain of
command, works independent of the others and, in most cases, doesn't know the location or
members of other cells.
The difficult logistics of capturing bin Laden and crushing his terrorist machine is
eclipsed only by the way 21st century Americans currently think about national
security, sovereignty, aggression, and what the appropriate response should be to threats
toward our individual and national freedom. Wars of previous generations have been
struggles for the control of territory, people, and natural resources. Past attempts to
make sense of embassy and vessel bombings by portraying the terrorists attempting to drive
Americans from their soil rang hollow then and is especially superficial in light of the
attacks staged on American soil. Perhaps claims of madness, religious zealousness, or
cultural eccentricity make us feel better simply because we can write the acts of
terrorism off as something we just don't understand. However, such a denial of the true
nature of the conflict only feeds complacency and accommodation toward the terrorists
rather than a resolve to eradicating the international criminals from society.
A War of the Worldviews
This attack on our home front, however, is not like wars of previous
generations, not even Pearl Harbor. While it must be maintained that every war is,
by its very nature, religious, America finds herself facing off against an organization
that has no geographical identification but whose entire identity and structure is defined
and guided by it's militant-Islamic religion.
Everything, if not in reality then at least in pretense, is for Allah.
America, on the other hand, is dominated by humanism. All other religious expressions,
including moderate American-Islam, have been swallowed and drowned in the mire of cultural
pluralism and political correctness. "Multi-faith" services held across the
nation called for Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Mormon, Pantheist, etc . . . to come
together and call on their respective gods, in a true pluralistically
agreeing that everyone's god has something to offer to the situation since every faith
sincerely believed and encouraging to the individual is a valid faith system. There seems
to be something comforting and unifying in everyone using the same term, "god,"
even if the definitions and implications are different.
In fact, religious America is so inept and impotent that it was the Muslim community,
enraged over the naming of the military operation "Operation Infinite Justice,"
that caused the administration to rename the operation "Operation Enduring
Freedom." The Christian community did not even have the presence of faith to
know that it should have been offended by the original name.
According to an AP report released by USAToday, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
said the next day [September 12, 2001] that the administration was reconsidering because
"in the Islamic faith such finality is considered something provided only by
Allah." Be assured, if someone in the Christian community had complained, they
would have been laughed out of town. It seems that in today's Christian America, the
Messianic State, and not Jesus Christ the Lord, is assumed the conveyor of final justice.
Contrast multi-cultural religion in America to that of the mono-cultural Islamic faith,
whose spiritual leaders have held ground against ecumenical dilution somewhat better than
we westerners. The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Ifta, under the general
supervision of the Grand Council of Scholars, reviewed inquiries, opinions and essays
propagated in the mass media concerning the "Call for the Unification of
Religions" i.e.; Islam, Judaism, and Christianity and determined, in summary:
- "One of the fundamentals of Faith in Islam, which is known as an essential part of
the religion and upon which all Muslims have agreed, is that there is no true religion on
the earth except Islam, and that it is the Final religion which abrogated all previous
religions and creeds.
- One of the fundamentals of faith in Islam is what Allah's Book (the Qur'an) is the last
Book that was revealed by the Cherisher of the Worlds.
- It is our belief that both the Torah and the Bible were abrogated by the Qur'an, and
that they were changed by means of additions or deletions by their followers.
- Another fundamental of Faith in Islam is that our Prophet and Messenger Muhammad
(sallalahu 'alaihi wa sallam) is the seal of all the prophets and messengers.
- One of the fundamentals of Islam is that any Jew or Christian who does not embrace Islam
should be considered and designated as an unbeliever (Kafir) as well as an enemy of Allah,
of His Messengers and the Believers (Muminoon), and such people will be the people of the
Fire in accordance to Allah's Saying, that, 'Those who disbelieve from among the people of
the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) and among al-Mushrikun (Polytheists), were not going
to leave (their disbelief) until there came to them clear evidence.' [Al-Qur'an 98:1] And
Allah says, 'Verily, those who disbelieve (in the religion of Islam, the Qur'an, and the
Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu 'alaihi wa sallam)) from among the people of the Scriptures
(Jews and Christians) and al-Mushrikun (Polytheists) will abide in the Fire of Hell. They
are the worst of creatures.' [Al-Quran 98:6]
- Adulterating the fundamentals of Islamic Faith and the facts of Islamic Law (Shari'ah)
to serve the call (for the unification of religions), by mixing them together and casting
them to one mould is but a wicked call. It aims at mixing the Truth with Falsehood,
destroying Islam, demolishing its foundations and bringing all Muslims to clear apostasy
(Riddah). This can be seen in the saying of Allah, The Most High, 'And they will never
cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion (Islamic Monotheism) if
they can.' [Al-Qur'an 2:217]. Allah Says, 'They wish that you reject faith, as they have
rejected (Faith), and thus that you will become equal (like one another).' [Al-Qur'an
"The inevitable consequence of such evil calls are:
- The cancellation of differences between Islam and Kufr, Truth and Falsehood, and
complete negation of enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong.
- Breaking of barriers of alienation between Muslims and Kafiroon (unbelievers) so that no
loyalty nor Jihad nor struggle for the sake of elevating Allah's Word on Allah's earth may
take place. Allah, The Most High, commands 'Fight against those who (1) do not believe in
Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and
His Messenger, (4) those who acknowledge not the religion of Truth - ie Islam, among the
people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing
submission, and feel themselves subdued.' [Al-Qur'an 9:29] "And fight against the
Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolators, disbelievers in the oneness of Allah)
collectively, as they fight against you collectively. But know that Allah is with the
pious." [Al-Qur'an 9:36]" (Fatwa No: 19402, Dated 25 Muharram 1418H; http://www.islaam.com/articles/interfaith.htm
Additionally, the call of the Taliban in Afghanistan to prepare for jihad, or
holy war, is no empty battle cry. According to Imam Ibn Taymiyyah in an article,
" The Religious and Moral Doctrine On Jihad" (Published at http://www.islaam.com/ilm/ibnta.htm,
"That then is the jihad against the unbelievers (kuffaar), the enemies of God and His
Messenger. For whoever has heard the summons of the Messenger of God, Peace be upon him,
and has not responded to it, must be fought, 'until there is no persecution and
the religion is Gods entirely.' [K., 2:193, 8:39].
"The command to participate in jihad and the mention of its merits occur
innumerable times in the Koran and the Sunna. Therefore it is the best voluntary
[religious] act that man can perform. All scholars agree that it is better than the hajj
(greater pilgrimage) and the `umra (lesser pilgrimage), than voluntary salaat and
voluntary fasting, as the Koran and the Sunna indicate.
"Since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion
is Gods entirely [2:189, 8:39] and Gods word is uppermost [9:40], therefore,
according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought. As for
those who cannot offer resistance or cannot fight, such as women, children, monks, old
people, the blind, handicapped and their likes, they shall not be killed, unless they
actually fight with words [e.g. by propaganda] and acts [e.g. by spying or otherwise
assisting in the warfare]."
The author's words seem cold and distant to a culture that not only views religious
martyrdom as archaic and insane but can hardly imagine that another person would view our
religion serious enough to want to kill us. We certainly don't take religion that
However, Middle Eastern sentiments of Americans are not quite as gracious as we are for
ourselves. Instead of being civilized and sensitive, we persecute them and others with our
oppressive foreign and economic polices, exploitation of weaker nations, and
self-satisfyingly lavish and immoral life styles. At least that seems to be a reasonable
excuse that Americans could understand if they would just believe it.
More westerners than we may think, it appears, do believe it. In a recent issue of
USAToday (Anti-war groups urge restraint, introspection; 9/16/01) Larry
Leaman-Miller, Colorado director of the Quaker group, American Friends Service Committee
was reported to explain, "Years of U.S. economic and military domination, and U.S.
foreign policy have hurt and exploited people, and left them feeling helpless to respond
except by terrorism. Additionally, Arab resentment has been building over U.N. sanctions
and bombing in Iraq, military support for Israel, and U.S. refusal to criticize the
occupation of the West Bank and Gaza."
The same article identified filmmaker and social critic Michael Moore as the author of
an e-mail widely circulated shortly after the attack telling of thousands of children
orphaned around the world with "our taxpayer-funded terrorism" in Chile,
Vietnam, Gaza, El Salvador and Nicaragua. In an essay in the September 24th
issue The New Yorker magazine, American writer Susan Sontag criticizes U.S. public
officials and media commentators for trying to "infantilize" the public in the
wake of the attacks: "Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a 'cowardly'
attack on 'civilization' or 'liberty' or 'humanity' or 'the free world' but an attack on
the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American
alliances and actions?" (http://www.newyorker.com/THE_TALK_OF_THE_TOWN/
Worldviews and Their Consequences
War is all about domination. War is the fleshing out of clashing ideas,
ideologies, philosophies, ultimately of worldviews when neither side is willing to back
down. Someone and their worldview will dominate until that someone steps to the side or is
pushed to the side.
But war is not the only means of domination, just the historical choice especially when
it comes to revolutions. The United States stands as the greatest nation in known history
to dominate the world through scientific, economic, and technological tools rather than
guns and muscles. Not that guns and muscle have not been used. But because of our
domination, 20th century Americans lived the most comfortable and secure
lifestyle of any time after the fall in all of the world. But more than that, many
other societies benefited significantly due to the fruits of our society spreading
throughout the globe.
It was America that harnessed electricity, lit up the world, and unleashed
a whole system of conveniences and technology completely unimaginable a hundred years
earlier. It was America that realized man's dream to fly that transformed the whole world
into a port 'o call. It was America that revolutionized the processing of fossil fuels
thus accelerating man's ability to manufacture and deliver what soon became in the mind of
our citizens the bare essentials of modern life.
One could go on with the list but the point is not the list but, rather, why in
America and why not under the supervision of, say, the Native American Indian or why
not some place else like Africa or the Middle East while under that people's
supervision? The answer lies in the difference between the way American society once
defined reality (i.e., worldview) and, thus, garnished and utilized knowledge, as opposed
to the way other societies in the world defined reality.
Prior to the civil war, our nation was dominated by Christian presuppositions in every
field of society and discipline of life. Never mind that there were prominent atheists or
deists in the field of politics or science. They lived their life not according to their
professed beliefs but rather in concurrence with most of society of that day - a society
comprised mostly of individuals whose parents or grandparents were directly influenced by
the Reformation of northern Europe and, therefore, were themselves still influenced by the
same presuppositions of their predecessors. It was a Biblical worldview, promulgated from
Reformated Europe to America, that set the foundation for the greatest and fastest
advancement of civilization ever in the history of mankind.
The benefits of discoveries and advancements in disciplines accrued to the rest of the
world not because they understood or adopted the Biblical presuppositions underlying the
discoveries, but rather because people are capable of acting contrary to their
epistemology. Even in this case, the terrorists used American technology and American
flight training to carry out their atrocity. Their worldview has not been sufficient
to equip them to carry out their plans of hatred. They had to borrow from a Biblical
Accordingly, a big bang theorist, for example, sees no contradiction in
utilizing the scientific method of proof to establish a principle of medicine or physics.
But in order to attempt to make proofs supporting his theory, he is forced to utilize a
Biblical worldview whether or not he realizes such or is willing to admit it. It is, as
Cornelius Van Til explained from an experience observed on a train - the spoiled
little girl could reach to slap her father's face only because he holds her in his lap.
Perhaps we are to be heartened by the sudden awakening of
patriotism and religious expression of our nation's citizens since the attacks. Who
could not be touched and encouraged by the constant stream of patriotic and religious
symbols, benevolence, calls to pray, prayers, and references to god coming from every
venue of our society? While we may be able to rally under a single flag of our
country, is there not one god that we can rally around? Apparently not.
President Bush, in his September 20th address to the nation, said, "
And what is at stake is not just America's freedom. This is the world's fight.
This is civilization's fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and
pluralism, tolerance and freedom."
Complete Speech Text
While I agree that this is a battle for civilization, I'm not sure that progress is
advanced through pluralism or freedom through tolerance.
But pluralism is the cry of the day (so long as humanism is
given the rights to dominate) and tolerance demanded - there will be no
exceptions. Accordingly, we're not sure what god is being invoked in all these
public prayer and faith meetings and, for the most part, we don't really care. After
all, who can tell the difference anyway. It's been 47 years since two words,
"under God" were added to the national pledge of allegiance. Perhaps it's
time to change the words to "many gods."
Or perhaps, on the other hand, it is time for Christians to
start acting like REAL Christians. Perhaps it's time for Christians to show a little
indignance of their own when some upstart tries to usurp the rightful property of our Lord
Jesus Christ, like being the one and only conveyor of infinite justice. Perhaps it
is time for Christians to lose their embarrassment for insisting that the God who got us
here is the one and only God who will see us through in the future, if He so wills.