So Many Terrorists

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Photo:ABCnews

Over the past 30 years the process of globalization has revealed a tremendous amount of information to us about the people of our world.

Quite simply, globalization is the concept that the nations and people groups of our world are now interconnected by financial and communication networks to such a point that events happening in one region have effects that cause international repercussions.

The last 20 years of our civilization have been marked by violent collisions between the organizational super-societies of the western hemisphere and the ethno-religious zealotry of the eastern hemisphere.

If these collisions seem to be happening more frequently and more violently, imagine what it feels like to live in the eastern hemisphere- a place constantly on the verge of turbulent conflict.

As the global desires of western countries continue to demand financial interactions with eastern regions, the return on these investments is secured my military personnel and private security contractors.

When the blood, sweat, and tears were being spilled by professionals on foreign soil this interaction was seen as an “acceptable risk” by most Americans, but globalization now means that this conflict comes home to meet us in fits and starts.

Which brings us to this week’s most recent bout of “fits”.

In our western mental paradigm two individuals decided to protest something by blowing up people who had no apparent connection to whatever grievances they might or might not have.

Our confusion surrounding the issue is apparent in the news coverage and speculative conversation taking place in public gathering places.

Individualism is such an essential piece of the American thought process that it can be especially difficult to understand how and why a person would be willing to engage in overwhelmingly destructive behavior, especially when they know that it will end with their own destruction.

It’s important to understand that individualism and self centering is not only repressed but punished by many eastern societies, especially those who value honor above justice.

In a society built around the prime values of honor and shame, loyalty to the social unit is a deeply guarded prize.

In these societies an attack on one person is an assault on all. To assault all is not an injustice, it’s an act of shaming that must be met with retribution. That act of retribution is then regarded as justice.

If that line of logic seems hard to follow, read it again… But this time from the perspective of an eastern thinker who believes that his entire society is under assault because one of the members of his social group has been shamed by encroachment from the structural government and immoral values demanded by individualism.

In terms of retribution, there is no “unconnected” person in an honor/shame paradigm. Assaulting one American is assaulting all Americans, and it is an act of collective justice issued for a perceived act of collective shaming.

In an honor/shame society it is not altogether difficult to “radicalize” young males. Their duty is a matter of honor, and that duty is to the group, not themselves.

In these societies, especially societies who have lost tribal authority or familial self-rule, assaulting the people they believe are responsible for oppressing them is a noble act that brings esteem to the entire social, religious, or ethnic group.

One of the most important pieces of this process is convincing the young of an idealized version of the past.

“Back when we were a free people we lived according to our noble customs and religious convictions. Now the outsiders have corrupted our purity and we are estranged from each other and God.”

In these idealized versions of self-rule, people are presented as having all they needed and living in peace thanks to a homogeny of thought and action.

Revolution against the outsider and the infidel is not so much a grab for truth and justice, it’s an an attempt to restore peace through purity and piety.

Which brings me to the American church… Obviously.

The parallels are incredibly consistent aren’t they?

Appealing to an idealized past to promote a righteous purity, by way of cultural homogeny, may actually be a “religious” concept, but it is not actually a Biblical one.

The Bible consistently presents Jesus as calling for people to break with their past and become a “new creation” through a transformation… Not a revolution.

In fact, refusing to lead the revolutionary reform of a religion for the purpose of re-establishing a failed social/religious/ethnic homogeny is what marked Jesus for death isn’t it?

Appealing to an idealized past never works and I’ll tell you why; because it costs youth their future.

Every nation that has ever lost its “golden age” still suffered from injustice, famine, and war during that golden age. People still got sick, children still died, there were people who lacked jobs, and there were still people who refused to submit to the rule of God in their lives.

These are all facts that must be “ignored” during the appeal to homogeny as a motivator.

Appealing to this motivation is actually appealing to ignorance, and this means actively discouraging education.

An uneducated person is more likely to make decisions that sacrifice their future for a past that cannot be restored because it never truly existed.

Jesus consistently calls his people away from the painful reality of their past for the purpose of living in a present reality that exists only because of his righteousness.

Submission to this reality is the only thing that creates a righteous future.

The fascism of social and religious homogeny is actually destructive because it is a lie presented by men whose power is only capable of concealing their spiritual impotence.

If 20 years of ministry have taught me anything about motivation young men towards righteousness, it’s that calling them away from the collective destruction of their past is only accomplished by pointing them towards a destiny that is solely founded on the personal righteousness of Jesus Christ.

When they are led to believe that it’s their job to restore their society they simply become cynics, critics, and Pharisees. The resulting destruction is a spiritual terrorism that strikes out at “wickedness” in the name of a self-righteous sense of honor that God is actually ashamed of.

When they believe that it’s ultimately God’s job to create his kingdom, and it’s their job to enter and live in it, then they not only embrace their destiny, but they also make room for others in it as well.

Jesus is the hope of the world.

He isn’t simply our heritage or history, he is our righteous destiny.

Over the past 30 years the process of globalization has revealed a tremendous amount of information to us about the people of our world:

They need Jesus as much as we do.

2 Responses to “So Many Terrorists”

  1. Bob Weaver April 20, 2013 at 6:51 am #

    Prayer: “He leads me in the paths of righteousness, for His Name Sake. apparently they got of the Path. Warning “Don’t get off the path.”

  2. Evan Batchelor April 22, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

    Wow!!! Beautifully put, Jon. Those last few lines are glorious!

    “…he is our righteous destiny.” = AWE-SOME

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