Recently I came across a four year old column where Cal enunciated what I have felt for long time has been a common misunderstanding the west has regarding the religion of Islam. In this column, Cal was commenting on a speech given by Colin Powell.
In his address to a group of Arab and Israeli students gathered in Maine at a "Seeds of Peace" camp, Colin Powell lapsed into a familiar view of humankind: "It is important that you get to know more about each other ... (to) get a better understanding of the concerns, the anxieties, the anguish, the fears, the hopes, the dreams that other young people such as you have regardless of what language you speak or what country you come from or (what) religion you hold."
This one sentence exposes the central flaw in Western thinking that our enemies skillfully exploit. It isn't "regardless" of religion. It is because of religion that the battle continues with only occasional letup to allow the killers to rearm. Three weeks at summer camp will not deter a people whose faith is in a god many of their religious leaders believe wants a shotgun marriage between mosque and state. Many of them are taught that the heavenly kingdom and the earthly one are linked and that it is their job to eliminate "infidels" who don't see as they do. No one who understands the substance behind this battle and the unchanging objectives of those who fight it could possibly believe that such a religious vision will be modified by "infidel" diplomats.
While American leaders mouth platitudes, Palestinian TV broadcast a music video (two days prior to the latest homicide bombings) that reinforced the doctrine that heavenly rewards await all who die for Allah. The video begins with scenes depicting a romance cut short when Israeli soldiers shoot the woman in the back. She immediately goes to heaven, where she joins other young women dressed in identical long white gowns --- the "Maidens of Paradise." The maidens are dancing in water, a clear depiction of the afterlife in Islamic tradition. Later in the video, the man attempts to visit the woman's grave and soldiers also shoot him in the back. He is transported to heaven where he is reunited with the woman.
That's why the war on terror continues, not because of land, but because of the promise of paradise. What political doctrine can compete with that?
Known murders committed by Islamic extremists and terrorists for the past three months are listed here. An eye opening website detailing 'the religion of peace' is located here.
There is no political doctrine that can compete with the above. Our only hope for a world where people love one another, accept each other, and work to bring about a common good is for there to be a Great Awakening like that of the 1800's -- with only one difference: it needs to encompass the entire world, and not just colonial America. Our world needs Christ. Real peace only comes when the love that Christ gives to his people indwells an overwhelming majority of the people who are living. God has the power to change the hearts of those committed to terror and religion by force and to bring reformation to this world through the preaching of the gospel.
I pray He will.