Saturday, 27 December 2014

Fearful Astonishment

Like a Wolf on the Fold

A CNN reporter/researcher, Juergen Todenhoefer has travelled in ISIS territory and a report has been published of his findings and experiences.  The CNN report is here.  There is nothing particularly surprising in the report, but what is evident is that the reporter, his crew, and CNN hierarchy are the one's who are surprised.

The inability of the secular liberal Western mind to understand and take seriously Islamism in general and ISIS in particular never fails to amuse, in a grim sort of way.  The first thing which surprised Todenhoefer was the "glow in their eyes". 
Todenhoefer told CNN the enthusiasm the ISIS militants showed was one thing that stood out.  "When we stayed at their recruitment house, there were 50 new fighters who came every day," Todenhoefer said. "And I just could not believe the glow in their eyes. They felt like they were coming to a promised land, like they were fighting for the right thing.
Just why that should be surprising is puzzling, to say the least.  Have we not seen the glow in the eyes of febrile mobs protesting in the streets, demanding the right to kill unborn children on an industrial scale?  Have we not seen true believers in the West passionately committed to "noble" bloody causes.  It's normal.  The media and the Commentariat support and laud them as cultural warriors.  What supercilious condescension to be surprised when Islamic acolytes show similar passion and commitment.

But even more confounding was that so many of the people Todenhoefer met were educated.  From President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron on down we Western rubes have been lectured by our betters to frame ISIS and Islamists as ignorant, uneducated savages whose poverty, oppression, and general ignorance have allowed them to be captured by a bloodthirsty savage cult.  The CNN reporter is almost breathless when he declares:
"These are not stupid people. One of the people we met had just finished his law degree, he had great job offers, but he turned them down to go and fight ... We met fighters from Europe and the United States. One of them was from New Jersey. Can you imagine a man from New Jersey traveling to fight for the Islamic State?"
Can you imagine?  Yes we can.  It's all to do with the ideology at work.  Can you imagine educated and civilised people from, say Australia travelling all the way to the Arctic Ocean to scale and board a deep sea Russian oil rig in an attempt to shut it down.  Ideology, particularly extremist ideology which believes an imminent danger threatens the entire human race, will produce just such commitment and illegality.

More confounding still--indeed one of the strengths of the ISIS fighters--is their willingness and desire to die on the battlefield.
He went on to say that one of ISIS's main points of strength is their fighters' willingness -- even their will -- to die on the battlefield.  Todenhoefer met one somewhat overweight recruit in a "safe house" who said he wears a suicide belt to every battle because he is too chubby to run away if he is cornered and would choose to blow himself up, rather than be captured.
Once again, because the West is so deeply wedded to its materialist ideology it cannot comprehend the ideology of others, let alone take it seriously.  You can only do that if you are self-conscious about your own position--and for generations secular materialism has been asserted, not proven or demonstrated or justified by argument. It is one of the most lazy pseudo-cults.

Therefore, lacking epistemological self-consciousness, the Western Commentariat is utterly inept when it comes to taking competing ideologies seriously.  Its standard MO when confronted with another ideology is to ridicule it.  If one cannot understand one's own ideological fixations, nor ground them in reason, condescending mockery is the only response possible when faced with competing beliefs.  Oh, that, and the Obama/Cameron gambit, which we call the secularist's "hoity-toity jape": a baldly arrogant assertion that these Islamic people don't really believe all this stuff.  They have been hoodwinked by darker forces and given half a chance they would morph into secular materialists, just like Obama and Cameron. 

Why would Western folk be confounded and shaken by the willingness of ISIS fighters to die for their cause?  It is only a few decades ago amidst World War II that we face the Divine Wind suicide fighter pilots of Japan.  If your cause is big enough, willingness to die (or make other people die for it) is to be expected.  This becomes even more normal when your ideology has a focus upon other-worldly realities (Allah's heaven, Japan's ancestor worship) or apocalyptic perfection in this world (the dictatorship of the proletariat, or the feminist's sexual egalitarianism).  Western discombobulation over such things reflects the jadedness of the Western mind.

And then there is the eschatological relentlessness of Islam which troubles the Western secular materialist. 
One of the most remarkable episodes of Todenhoefer's trip to the ISIS-controlled region came when he was able to conduct an interview with a German fighter who spoke on behalf of ISIS's leadership. The man -- clearly unapologetic about the group's transgressions -- vowed there was more to come; he also issued a warning to Europe and the United States.

"So you also want to come to Europe?" Todenhoefer asked him.  "No, we will conquer Europe one day," the man said. "It is not a question of if we will conquer Europe, just a matter of when that will happen. But it is certain ... For us, there is no such thing as borders. There are only front lines.

"Our expansion will be perpetual ... And the Europeans need to know that when we come, it will not be in a nice way. It will be with our weapons. And those who do not convert to Islam or pay the Islamic tax will be killed."

Todenhoefer asked the fighter about their treatment of other religions, especially Shia Muslims.  "What about the 150 million Shia, what if they refuse to convert?" Todenhoefer asked.  "150 million, 200 million or 500 million, it does not matter to us," the fighter answered. "We will kill them all."
Ouch.  That does not compute in the mind of a secular humanist.  Oh dear.  Never mind. 

At the end of the piece, Todenhoefer provides a conclusion:
"I think the Islamic State is a lot more dangerous than Western leaders realize," he said. "They believe in what they are fighting for and are preparing the largest religious cleansing campaign the world has ever seen."
And that just might make your average, jaded, self-righteous secularist a mite uncomfortable.   The fulcrum upon which this whole matter will turn is this: long ago the West lost belief in anything that was worth dying for--unless of course it was our unborn children who continue to be "appropriately" sacrificed on the altar of our own cowardly self-worship. 

Maybe--just maybe--the Living God has raised up the Divine Wind of ISIS, like He raised up the Assyrians of old, not because the Assyrians were just but because our fathers had become so evil.  In which case, the only appropriate response in the West would be for all to repent humbly before God, and seek His forgiveness in Christ while there is yet time, for we have been so arrogant and foolish.  Otherwise . . .

The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee. . . .

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