Since September 11, 2001 - and frankly since long before then - the Western and Islamic worlds have increasingly collided. These clashes have sometimes produced sparks, sometimes brushfires, and sometimes raging infernos, but always something fiery - even the words that fly from them are hot and angry. At the base of this conflict is opposition, not just the fact that the West is one side and Islam is another, but also that at their most fundamental levels these two antagonists are polar opposites in nearly every respect. Due to this deep-seated difference, there is little hope of any individual or any nation bringing this conflict to a peaceful resolution.
As time progresses through the asymmetrical war that pitches these two major civilizations against each other, those of us here in the West are beginning to learn more about the Muslim mind. This is the best we can do; we can never hope to understand it because it is just too alien to us. It would be like a dog trying to fathom a cat's rationale. We can certainly try to understand why Muhammad's disciples act as they do, but we will never truly grasp the calculus of the Islamic mind. We may know what but never why to our satisfaction.
However, we have learned a few facts through tragic experience with Islamic fundamentalism. Generally, radical Muslim fundamentalists:
After 9-11, the Bush administration engaged in a public relations offensive to curry favor with the American Muslim community. The key message of that campaign was "Islam is a religion of peace," an idea that has correctly been maligned and lampooned ever since. Perhaps the promise of peace appears in the pages of the Koran, but only for adherents of Islam - and there is little evidence that even they have experienced it throughout Islam's 1,400-year existence. A brief examination of Muslim history shows a series of wars, infighting, and general mayhem ever since Muhammad sent his hordes out of the Arabian desert to slay the infidel.
Unfortunately, too many Americans - in fact, too many Westerners as a whole - fail to realize the life-and-death struggle in which our civilization is engaged. We are complacent, thinking nothing in this conflict affects our daily lives, and besides, the Islamofascists best efforts are only bee stings compared to the full might of Uncle Sam. We forget that under the right circumstances, even bee stings can be fatal. Many more of us need to wake up to the fact that our societies have a relentless enemy who is full of pent-up hatred, motivated by religious fanaticism, and unfazed by the Western values of life, liberty, fair play, tolerance, and compassion. He spits on these as proofs of Western weakness.
Why, then, are we vulnerable to the attacks of radical Islamic fundamentalists? Because we are spiritually weak, blind, and complacent! We are retreating before the Islamic thrust into our nations because we do not have the internal fortitude to resist with force and conviction. Our leaders, political and spiritual, have led us down paths of liberalism and humanism, and we have blithely followed. We have come to the point in our downward spiral that we cannot even differentiate between peaceful and bellicose attitudes among our bitterest foes!
Many of our leaders are like those who proclaim, "Peace, peace! when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 8:11; 6:14; Ezekiel 13:10, 16). God speaks this to the prophets and priests - the leaders - of Israel and Judah who failed to warn the people about their backsliding and the coming punishment in the form of national invasion. This failure in leadership has been the norm in our Western nations for many decades now, and society has backslid just as Israel's did. And what do we have to look forward to? The same imminent punishment they expected - and received. Notice Jeremiah 8:14-15, 17, where the prophet says:
"Why do we sit still? Assemble yourselves, and let us enter the fortified cities, and let us be silent there. For the LORD our God has put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD. We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and there was trouble! . . ."
"For behold, I will send serpents among you, vipers which cannot be charmed, and they shall bite you," says the LORD.
If fundamentalist Islam were a religion of peace, its adherents would behave peacefully. They do not. Their religion motivates them to kill themselves and others to advance Islam. Therefore, Islam is not a religion of peace but one of war and death. It is time we recognized this and turned to God for forgiveness for allowing ourselves, our cultures, and our civilization to descend into immorality, relativism, and spiritual lethargy. It is the only true way to avoid the coming conflagration and to find the way to real peace.
- Richard T. Ritenbaugh
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