Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Tale of Four Sons (Edited and Added)

Before church this morning, TCM had a movie on called "Four Sons" starring Don Ameche. It was the tale about how a family - and a nation - was split apart by the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia. Of course, the Czechs ceded the Sudetenland to the Germans without firing a shot. The ethnic German family in the story was torn son joined the Nazis while another remained faithful.

Since the initial post this morning, I can now complete what I wanted to say now that I have time. There are so many lessons in that 1940 film that I believe could and should apply to our time today. This film powerfully depicted how a once loving family could be torn apart by differences over political beliefs (and need I add theology). In fact, it reminded me strongly of another film from that era called "The Mortal Storm" starring Robert Young (Father Knows Best and Marcus Welby M.D.) and Jimmy Stewart. How many families in Germany and the nations later conquered were torn apart by events? Only eternity will reveal.

Students of history have long analyzed the events that led up to the global conflagration in World War II. After the first world war, weakness set in like gangrene in a plethora of ways. Weakness in a country's political leadership. Weakness in a country's populace who would surrender rather than fight for their freedom. Rather than bringing peace, surrender and submission only invited more bloodshed down the road. We saw how it was possible to take over entire nations without a shot being fired. All with a veneer of legality.

From what angle should we look at the underlying questions? The war with radical Islam? Their ideology doesn't use the swastika, but their lust for global domination is the same as the Nazis, as well as their lust for blood. And the world seemingly shies away from confrontation with these wild-eyed, frothing zealots. Some cartoons get published offensive to Islam, and they riot in the streets demanding apologies. They burn buildings down, firebomb cars, hijack airplanes, blow up pizza parlors, and care not at all if there are women, children, or other innocents around. They worship death.

The pope merely quotes an historical figure and his attitude toward Islam as part of a larger call for dialogue and peace. No matter. The Islamic street erupts in rage. Ironically, it escaped their notice that by pulling the violence trigger in protest, they only proved the view held in the quote, as well as the view many have - that the Islamic religion cheers and advocates violence. I watched several interviews on television after these incidents, and noted with interest that attempts to reason with Islamic apologists fell flat. But there's a reason for that. These radicals do not define "peace" the same way we do. There are a whole lot of words that mean one thing to us, and quite another thing to the jihadist.

Case in point - remember the late Yasser Arafat. He was notorious for making poignant calls for peace in English, and then when he was before an Arabic audience, calling for jihad. He even told his radical audiences that when he called for peace with Israel and the West, he meant the "peace of the Quraysh." Don't know what that means? You'll have to look into Islamic history to understand that one. In essence, it means sue for peace and bide your time until you are strong enough to rise up and vanquish your enemy. It's only a charade. But the American/Western media was either too stupid or too cowardly to pick up on Arafat's hypocrisy. I'll leave it to you to question whether there were even worse motives.

Contrast this with how radical Muslims can insult Christians with impunity and nothing is said other than mild protest. Part of Islamic theology is that "God has no son." One can say that to a Christian, and the Christian (provided he/she is bold and obeys the Lord in "earnestly contending for the faith once and for all delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3), will politely disagree and strongly refute him, and that is all. However, if the Christian were to say to one of these radical Muslim crazies that Muhammad is not God's prophet, they will try to kill the Christian or at least beat him senseless. Remember when Arafat's thugs took over the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem? They not only took it over, but desecrated the interior. Imagine what would have happened if Israelis or American G.I.s had desecrated a mosque.

What's the plain truth? What should be done? Keep in mind, I am talking about a STATE response to the terrorists. As individual Christians, we should obey the Lord and share the Gospel at every opportunity with Muslims, praying that the Lord will change their hearts and draw them to Himself in saving faith. However, from a governmental perspective, it must recognized that there is no negotiation possible with the radicals. They must be resisted and defeated - and the price they pay for their aggression must be high enough to deter future aggression.

Those who are in charge of our defense as a nation MUST understand the nature of the enemy we are facing and what drives them. Our governments (as well as our people) must understand that this isn't just going to go away like a spring thunderstorm. These people will wait days, months, years or even decades to hatch their vengeful plots. They must be watched constantly and slapped down hard at even a hint of aggression. Just as Germany went through the radical elements must be purged out of the nations where they are. Moderate Muslim governments need to prove their moderation by cracking down hard on the radicals in their midst. They need to purge this hateful ideology from the schools and mosques. What of the noble Western idea of freedom of religion? Well, that ends when you want to take everyone else's freedom away. I have no intention of being "dhimmi" class in America. I hope you don't either.

In the case of rogue nations whose governments are made up of the radical elements, there will be no option other than containment in the short term. In the long term, we could well be talking about regime change.

The final fly in the ointment of all this is, of course, the attitude of other nations who hate America and the West. It was said once that nations have no allies, only interests. That is often very true and it's sad. It would be nice to count on the support of other countries in the face of this conflict, but the national interest of other nations will not always match ours. Some nations in fact even take great joy in causing us trouble. America could well be fighting totally alone in a sea of hate.

You might be tempted to ask the question, "Where is your theology in all of this? As an evangelical who holds to premillennial theology, doesn't that bear anything in your thinking?" Well, of course it does. However, I have purposefully not brought my theology into this yet. I have analyzed this strictly in secular terms. Here is the struggle I have often had in pondering difficult issues such as this.

I totally believe that the world is progressing according to God's timetable. I believe that there will be a rapture of the church, an end-time effort at a global or regional government headed by an Antichrist, and that the huge battles described in Scripture will take place. As things happen around me, what is the proper stance and role that I should take as a Christian? Of course, I am told in Scripture to "look up, for my redemption draws nigh." But I am also yet in the world and am a citizen of the United States. As long as I am on this earth, my primary purpose must be to glorify God through His enabling, and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ as He provides the opportunity. I am to stand up for truth and to do what is right, governed by His Word. No matter what happens. I do not have all of the particulars of that worked out, as I don't know precisely what will happen in my neck of the woods. If the last seven years of world history as we know it will be the worst ones ever, who is to say the seven years prior to that won't be the worst up to that time? Here in America, we have never really known persecution or battles on our own soil past the Civil War. The terrorist attack on September 11th was a wake-up call, but it looks like lots of people have rolled over and gone back to sleep. They seem to think that if we take our toys and go home, that the rest of the world will leave us alone. I don't think so.

Ever wonder why the United States seems to be left out of many end-time scenarios? The United States doesn't seem to be much of a factor in biblical prophecy. Could it be that the United States as an entity won't be around any more? I don't know.

What about the division of families? While I personally know of no families within my acquaintance driven apart in the SAME fashion over ideology as depicted in the films, I have no doubt that it has happened as one individual in a family embraces a hateful ideology and it splits the family. I suppose the Cindy Sheehan situation could come close as the bulk of her family does not appear to embrace her radical anti-Bush/anti-war activism. As Christians become less and less liked in our culture, I can well see families suffering conflict in future as non-Christian family members pressure believing members into being less vocal about their faith, or pressuring them to abandon it altogether. That would certainly not be a new development, but it will get worse.

However all of this pans out, I do know this. As individual Christians and as the church corporate, we'd best stop playing games and get serious about our faith. Serious about our walk with Christ. If we are placing our trust in anything other than Him, we are in for a rude awakening when that rug gets yanked out from underneath us.

1 comment:

Palm boy said...

Huge post...
I agree with it, your common sense shines through.