Thursday, 5 May 2011

The impotence of our secular leaders

Consider this news story from the last week:

Hilary Clinton, the US secretary of state (equivalent position to the "Foreign Secretary" in the UK) calls upon the Taliban to "abandon violence and rejoin society" (quote from the article).

Every state must have a vision of "society". The purpose of laws is to define who is inside legitimate society, and who is outside of it. Every nation must, in its laws, have a vision of what is acceptable and what is frowned on. Ultimately, the source of those laws is the society's god. A totally god-less society is impossible. There has to be an ultimate source of law, from which the individual laws are derived. There may be times, as in the 20th century West, of transition, when the laws being made are inconsistent with one-another; where different "gods", different aims and ends, are being served. Polytheistic times. But ultimately such times of warfare-between-the-gods can only last so long. One of the "gods" must win out. There will be a overcoming impulse, and the "society" will express its heart more fully and consistently as time goes on.

The "god" of the present West, as judged by the laws made in recent decades, is the god of secular humanism. Secular humanism defines what is and isn't acceptable in Western democracies. Humanity is god, and our society is built upon the supremacy of man. Everything is good, as long as it harms no other man. Harm (defined as that which impedes human pleasure) is bad, all else is not only tolerated but promoted, especially if it keeps the old (and true) God at bay. You can easily think of examples of this phenomena.

That all being so, let's get back to the news article. When Mrs. Clinton calls upon the Taliban to "rejoin society", she is calling upon them to join society as she sees it; her society. On the other side, the Taliban are aiming to replace her society with theirs; they call on her to give up and join them (and they make this call with violent means). The same call goes out from both sides.

The question that comes to me is, how attractive is Mrs. Clinton's call in the eyes of the Taliban? What might entice them to abandon their god, and take on hers instead?

The Taliban worship Allah. In their "society", the source of law is the will of Allah, as expressed in the Koran interpreted through their the insights of their particular school of Islamic tradition. This source of law strongly forbids idolatry, and in particular forbids all manner of the idolatries of secular humanism and its elevation of man into the position of Allah.

In effect, what Hilary Clinton is calling upon the Taliban to do, is to concede that Allah must give way to her own god, that of secular humanism. She wants them to change gods. That's what leaving one society and joining another means. It means to concede that Allah as they conceive him is not the ultimate God, and instead to allow that hers is.

The whole point of the Taliban is to do the opposite: to defeat, according to the methods revealed by Allah, Mrs. Clinton's god, and replace him with their own.

I don't think they're very likely to do this, do you? The whole premise of the Taliban is that they reject our infidel society, and intend to replace it, through jihad (according to the will of Allah), with theirs, the Islamic Ummah. When the infidel calls upon them to give up following the will of Allah, abandon jihad and join the infidel's society, the infidel may as well call upon them to try to eat the Moon, or shoot themselves in the head before breakfast each day. Not going to happen.

But the sad fact is that our secular humanist leaders have nothing more than this to offer. This empty call is their whole lot. Their own "god" is actually a rather weak and feeble being - man, so obviously not worthy of our worship and obedience. The state of the political game won't allow our leaders to actually reveal the true object of their worship, and so they can only talk in generalities. They can't tackle the Taliban head on, and openly state that Allah has no real existence, and that violence in his name is immoral according to the true God as he has revealed his will in his true book, and all that regardless of what the false book, the Koran, may say.

Why is the Taliban's violence wrong, after all? It is wrong because their Allah is a non-entity. There is no such being. No being commanded jihad, and the actions they do in his name are for a name with no real individual behind it. But Mrs. Clinton's weak secularist ideology, and the state of the game as it tries to take over the previously Christian (in the basis of its laws) West, is not able to come out and say that openly, only implicitly. (And she does say it implicitly - because if Allah is in fact God, then she needs to join their society, not vice-versa). But unless any of this is said openly, what is said remains weak and impotent. If we allow the possibility that such an Allah does exist, and did express his will in the Koran, then it follows that violence against infidels may in fact be correct, and even praiseworthy. If Allah's purpose is to colonise the entire physical earth, by force if necessary, then the Taliban are in fact the ones inside the true "society", and the secular West outside.

In previous centuries, our leaders were not embarrassed by the implications of this. The UK has just had the Royal Wedding, which was an overtly Protestant Christian service. I personally think it was so for historical reasons, rather than for reasons of strong convictions of those involved; but that is not my point. In previous years, we looked to the triune God of Scripture; to God the Father, the Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit, as our source of authority, and invoked his name. We sought the source of law in his revealed will, not in our own fancies and desires. In his name, we could announce certainties about right and wrong, and not ungrounded platitudes. It was not just about what made us feel good, or avoided "harm" (also defined by our own measure). There was something solid in it. Again - why is the Taliban's violence wrong? In secular-speak, it's just because violence is wrong, because it causes suffering. But why is that the ultimate standard? Who says so? What if someone disagrees?

Obviously our leaders decided that inflicting the ultimate penalty - death - on Bin Laden was justified. We caused him the ultimate harm, and seem to think it was right. But why? By what measure was our violence against Bin Laden right, and the Taliban's violence against us, wrong? How do we know who's on the right side?

So, what it comes down to, is this. The secular god has no compelling reasons to demand that the Allah of the Taliban submit to him. His reasons are weak, and float in mid air. They have no intellectual foundations that we can discern in the double-speak of our leaders who worship humanism whilst trying to give lip-service to the old God and old order that they inherited at the same time. Whilst this is the case, hopes of actually defeating the Taliban can only rest upon us gaining temporary cease-fires by having bigger guns than them; but the intellectual war will never be won, and Allah will not lay down his arms for more than a temporary pause. What we need is Christian beliefs, Christian leaders and courageous Christian actions. We need a glorious gospel of grace, the Prince of Peace who causes swords to be beaten into plough-shares; the knowledge that the true God sent his Son to die for sinners, so that sinners can be reconciled to him and then to each other; the knowledge that violence against a fellow human made in the image of God in the cause of truth cannot please the God who really exists and therefore must be renounced.

But authentic Christian countries begin with repentance, and we see no signs of that on the horizon. Until then, it seems the best we can do is understand the signs of the times, and work and pray for a better day (which, since Jesus is the true God, will certainly come). And pray for God to even so guide those who have come into positions of leadership, even if they understand not what they really say or do.

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