The War On Terror: A Perspective From Faith

If you are a Christian who believes in the Great Commission and takes your faith seriously, then you should be aware of the recent argument made by the author of Belmont Club, Matt Wretchard (he calls himself Wretchard The Cat), in the article What If We Win?  The Belmont Club is one of the most, if not the most, insightful blogs analyzing military issues and the war on terror.

After going through a survey of the current situation within the various arms of the terrorist movement, in which he argues a certain despair is setting in, Matt then proceeds to the heart of the issue behind Islamic terrorism, that the desire of those fighting this war is “to assert the existence of God [in this case Allah and Islam’s understanding of Him] in world that has forgotten Him.” He also notes that many argue that the only course to victory in this kind of war, is to move past all faith. Wretched uses a book by Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason to illustrate this position.

Harris claims that if we seriously subscribe to God in any form we will eventually wind up settling accounts with WMDs; hence we must abolish God.

From another author, British historian Karen Armstrong, he notes that the opposite argument is advanced.

Armstrong asserts that unless we accept all gods, any religion left out will eventually resort to weapons of mass destruction.

He then states the obvious conclusions of these positions.

The cure to religious extremism, according to these arguments, is a choice of two elixirs: believing in nothing particular or classifying all religious belief as madness. Yet on closer examination both these arguments are so close to each other that despite apparent differences they are virtually identical. Both require the abolition of belief as the price of survival, the latter by maintaining there is nothing worth arguing over and the former asserting there is nothing to argue about.

Wretched closes with what I believe we as Christians need to grasp out of the chaos that is happening around us.

It would be absurd to conclude that the war on terror is waged to make the world safe for nihilism. That would almost equal Robert Fisk’s declaration, upon being beaten by a Muslim mob that “if I had been them, I would have attacked me.” For where the mind can find no purchase it must ground its postulates in the simplest of things.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

We fight in the end not to disbelieve but for the right to believe again — and trust that we may find our way. [emphasis added]

I encourage you to read the whole article and think about the larger dimensions of this conflict, to think about how this is not just a matter for the United States or Israel, but about how it touches the roots of faith and life for everyone, everywhere.