Crusade II: The sequel

By Craige McMillan

“And I saw the heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and one sitting on it, called Faithful and True, and he judges and makes war in righteousness.”
–Revelation 19:11

Much of the world does not yet know it, but mankind has entered into one of those long-forgotten periods from our past. We are in the beginning stages of a religious war. The West in particular, which has either atrophied or progressed (depending upon your point of view) from its Christian heritage to a secular society, has no concept of what this means.

Secularists view all religions as equal – and equally valid. They are merely expressions of human spirituality. Many today in the West hold this view because to secularists, all religions are nonsense. The universe exists as a byproduct of the “big bang,” a cosmic accident, and human beings evolved from the chemicals splattered over rock and debris as it hurtled through space to its present destination. Tomorrow the universe will be different, we will be gone, and something else – or nothing – will take our place.

Seen from such a worldview, the idea that anyone would be willing to lift a finger, let alone detonate explosives wrapped around his body or fly planeloads of people into buildings to promote one brand of human spirituality over another, is to secular individuals, simply inconceivable. They are therefore unable to grasp the nature of the conflict. They imagine that militant Islam can be bought off with a few square miles of Palestinian “homeland,” by more financial and food aid to the impoverished, and by the promise of democratically elected governments among the Islamic states exporting terror.

So prevalent is the West’s secular worldview that our news services do not even bother to report the repeated demands that accompany Islamic terrorist claims of responsibility for mass human slaughter, and warnings of more to come unless we, the secularized and once Christian West, “abandon Israel and convert to Islam.” Read the transcript of bin Laden’s latest audiotape missive.

Religious people, whatever their faith, are better equipped to understand the nature and implications of worldwide religious warfare. Most religions share the common view that the universe was created by a powerful being, and that events in an unseen spiritual world can and do affect human beings in this world. The late Francis Schaeffer once said that as a Christian he shared more in common with the Hindu seated next to him on a transatlantic flight than with the secular Western pilot of the aircraft – because the Hindu at least understood there was an unseen spiritual world. It necessarily follows that the truth or falsehood of what explains the unseen spiritual world is of paramount importance to believers. A religious conflict is over the truth or falsehood of those claims.

The Christian West once understood those claims and the nature of religious conflict. The Christian crusades were a widespread response to forced Islamic conversion through war and violence of large parts of the then-known world. The history of Islamic society and the West since then vindicates that response. Islamic societies live under despotic regimes, men treat women as property, children are raised to become homicide bombers, and much of the population lives in unimaginable misery with little hope of anything better. The West, pursuing a vision built upon the unseen and seen worlds as revealed in the Bible has grown prosperous and free, which further ignites Islamic hatred.

Power abhors a vacuum, and religious power is no exception. Religious worldviews are powerful. As Islam has watched the Christian West disintegrate into battling secular enclaves, its adherents have sensed an opportunity to regain ground lost centuries ago. The loose nukes and mutated petri dishes developed by the fractured, secularized West to deter one another are now within the grip of Islamic fanatics reliving the Middle Ages. This is Islam’s chance to conquer the developed world and force its people to pledge allegiance to Allah – or be slaughtered.

Much like secularists, Islamists actually believe they can appropriate the technological and human benefits of Western civilization for themselves, while changing the underlying structure of the society to Islam – or in the case of secularists – nothing. Both fail to understand that the benefits they seek to appropriate grew out of the Christian culture underlying them. Without the supporting understructure, the benefits collapse.

The Christian worldview teaches that we are near the point when God’s patience with all this nonsense is due to expire. The Apostle John describes the encounter between a Holy God and his unrighteous creation this way:

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.”
–Rev. 20:11

But perhaps your righteousness exceeds that of the rest of creation, and you have no need of “religious crutches.” Go ahead and plead your case – everyone gets their chance. I know my failures, and I’m trusting that Jesus Christ is who he said he was. “Yes, guilty as charged, God, and sorry. But Jesus has already paid, and I’m coming home.”