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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Why Western Countries Cannot Defeat Terrorism



I tend to get in trouble when I write political posts, but I hope you will see that in essence this is a Christian message, rather than a political one. That is actually the main reason that current Western governments cannot defeat Islamic terrorists—they fail to acknowledge that the battle is ultimately spiritual. 
 
I’m sure Christians around the world share in the sadness and frustration when yet another terrorist blows up innocent people, and our governments respond with condolences and extra security. If only they recognised that they are fighting a spiritual battle and turned instead to God in prayer, things could be so different.

I had thought that the arrival of Mrs May to the Prime Ministerial position in England and the appointment of Vice President Pence in America might signal some form of change in tactics. Maybe even a collective humbling and a seeking God, as they both profess to be Evangelical Christians.

However, events of the last few days indicate that there will be no sudden reversal of policy in our respective nations, or calls to prayer. This despite the fact that current protocols are clearly failing and nothing else has worked. In England, the threat level is at critical, the highest possible: armed police and military are patrolling the streets to protect us, and yet still we are defiant.

Important people appear on TV to offer their heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims. Then there are promises that this will never be allowed to happen again. Followed by the guarantees to learn the lessons for the future. Next, the endless discussions about what has happened, how and why it happened, who was involved. Sadly predictable. Only this time, I’m noticing that people are starting to admit that they don’t have the answers.

These things have their place, of course. It is right that we mourn the victims and seek to help the families of those injured or killed. Any of us could find ourselves in this situation and we should remember that it is only by God’s grace that we are not. We can also try to investigate what has happened and try to prevent it happening again. But, with anything else in life, a thorough investigation would look at every possible angle. This is where the authorities seem to be falling short, as they refuse to believe that spiritual warfare should be a serious consideration.

For the first time today, I actually heard some politicians and commentators dare to suggest that Islamist ideology is the problem. They were immediately shut down with the usual reminders that mainstream Muslims don’t share the extremist’s views. We do need to be careful here, at the risk of alienating a growing percentage of our populations. We need Muslims on-board to root out the terrorists in their midst.

The problem is that certain interpretations of the Muslim’s Holy Book, the Quran, do lead to extreme behaviour. Within the Quran are the encouragements for a violent Holy War (Jihad) against all those who resist the Islamic faith (infidels.) (I’m not going to quote the verses here, a simple Google search will reveal them for those that care to look into it.) These instructions come with a promise of eternal life in heaven as an enticement. 

This is a serious temptation—Muslims cannot gain assurance that they will be saved without committing Jihad. They are reliant on the will of Allah at the entry point to heaven, in the same way that Catholics believe their fate will be determined in a place called Purgatory. According to their respective teachings, their good and bad deeds will be weighed and their afterlife destination decided at the point of death and not prior to this, but Jihad is a free entry pass.

With this in mind, we should consider it a blessing that the vast majority of Muslims choose to interpret the Quran in a peaceful way. Not to acknowledge the potential of the Islamic Holy Book to incite violence, however, is a serious error. Political correctness should not stand in the way of a proper investigation into the ideology that leads to these crimes.

Our governments cannot fight extremism with human weapons because they are fighting the devil himself. He is present in the minds and hearts of extremists and he lures people to extremism. He cannot be stopped with conventional methods—only using spiritual ones.

Our leaders may say that their thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims. How many of them are actually praying, rather than just offering the assurance that they are? How many of them even believe in the God they claim to be praying to? How many believe that it will make a difference? How many are trusting Jesus for their eternal salvation and therefore have the assurance that God will actually hear them?

It’s time for our governments to stop talking about learning the lessons and increasing security. Our leaders need to stop relying on themselves and earthly capabilities. It’s time for them to humble themselves and call our nations back to prayer. Then we will see what God can do with nations who once again are trusting in and relying on Him instead of leaving Him on the side-lines or relegating Him to a dark corner.

This message may seem hopeless—we cannot defeat terrorism, and it will continue. The opposite is actually true for a Christian. We can know that whatever happens, God is in control and has a plan. Even when evil seems to prevail and terrorists blow themselves up, we can know that there will be justice one day. 

Unlike other faiths, Christianity assures us that we can know now where we will spend eternity. We don’t need to wait for a distant deity to decide or for karma to kick in. The Bible tells us in Romans 10 vs 9 “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, YOU WILL BE SAVED.”
 
The Bible assures us that all of the events on earth, good and bad, are recorded carefully by a Holy, Perfect, Righteous, Just, Good, God. Jesus will one day return to earth and gather all those who believe in Him for their eternal reward. All who have rejected Him will sadly be lost to hell, forever. 

Let us remember that this is a spiritual battle and let us have hope as we pray for Jesus’ return.