TERRORISM AND THE BIBLE

Anonymous

(Investigator 93, 2003 November)


LONG HISTORY

Man lords it over man to his own hurt. (Ecclesiastes 8:9)

 
Terror tactics to achieve military ends have a long history. Ancient Assyrians routinely chopped defeated enemies hands off or skinned them alive with knives. Romans practiced large-scale crucifixion – crosses sometimes lined roads for miles. Mongols saw no value in cities and depopulated northern China to create more pasture for horses. Nazis and Communists raped and murdered each other's populations by millions in World War II.

Local terror to achieve political reform likewise has a long history. In the Middle East, Muslim "Assassins" murdered officials for 200 years. (Nour 2002) In India "Thugs", for centuries, strangled victims as part of their worship of the goddess Kali. (Daraul 1965) In Judea, in Jesus time, "Zealots" murdered Roman legionnaires and Jews sympathetic to Rome.

Barabbas, the man released when Jesus was crucified, was a murderer and probably a Zealot. (Mark 15:7; Acts 3:14)
 
 

TODAY'S GLOBAL NETWORK OF TERROR

 
If they say, "Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood, let us wantonly ambush the innocent…" — my son do not walk in the way with them…" (Proverbs 1:10-19)
 
Terrorists are guys who, with political or religious motive, shoot, bomb or otherwise hurt law-abiding persons of another country, religion or political group who have not harmed them.

After World War II the major terror targets were European colonies and conflict-areas between Communism and the Free World. Later came Muslim terrorists seeking to establish Islamic states.

In recent years terrorism has gone from regional groups to a global network. September 11 (New York 2001) and October 12 (Bali 2002) are well publicized.

More Americans died on September 11 than at Pearl Harbor – 2,792 compared to 2,334.

The event was orchestrated by the world's chief terrorist organization, al-Qaida, led by Arabian millionaire Osama bin Laden. The Bali bombing was perpetrated by Jemaah Islamaiah a South East Asian religious terrorist group.

Forgotten by most are numerous other terrorist bombings in Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Kashmir, Philippines, Israel, Russia, Tunisia, Iraq, etc.

Besides attacks on Westerners, Islamic fascism conducts a global campaign to remove moderate and pro-Western governments in Islamic lands. In Kuala Lumpur in 2001 three Muslim extremists were sentenced to hang and 16 others got life imprisonment for plotting to replace the government with an Islamic state.

In Indonesia Jemaah Islamaiah, a religious terrorist group friendly with al-Quaida, "aspires to create a pan-Islamic state across South East Asia centred on Indonesia." It wants to wreck Indonesian democracy and the moderate Islam of Indonesian society. Most terrorists were indoctrinated in Muslim-run schools that taught hatred of the West. (Nahdar 2003)

The most numerous terrorist bombings are in Israel – 103 in the three years to mid October 2003:

Such are the weapons of war in Israel today: nuts and bolts, screws and ball bearings, any metal shards or odd bits of broken machinery that can be packed together with home-made explosive and stripped to the body of a terrorist dispatched to any place where people gather… (Hoffman 2003)
 
Some terrorists are individuals acting in isolation. Such seek easy targets – tourists, missionaries and aid workers. A woman missionary who ran a pregnancy clinic in Lebanon for Palestinian refugees was shot dead in November 2002. (Theodoulou 2002) Three American doctors were murdered in Yemen in December 2002. They worked in a Baptist hospital that treats 40,000 yearly.

There's a myth that terrorism is due to poverty and poor education and the cure, therefore, is transfer of Western wealth. Yet the poorest areas like the Sahara and East Timor have least terrorism whereas many terrorist leaders are wealthy. Bin Laden's wealth was estimated at $100 million!  Israeli journalist Ronni Shaked says:

All leaders of Hamas [a Palestinian terrorist group] are university graduates, some with masters degrees. This is a movement not of poor, miserable people but of highly educated people who are using poverty to make the movement more powerful. (Hoffman, 2003)
 
The aims of terrorists include:
Terrorism is cheap – a bomb may cost $500. Business and governments, however, lose $billions by:


PRE-EMPTIVE USA

During the Cold War (1945 to 1990) the USA had a "no first strike" policy coupled with maintaining strong alliances and heavy investment in nuclear weapons. It won the Cold War economically when the Soviet Union could no longer afford the pace and disintegrated. Before September 11 America's Bush administration favored reducing overseas commitment to focus on domestic affairs.

After September 11 President Bush declared war on terrorists and on governments that harbor terrorists. Simultaneously the policies of no pre-emption and reduced overseas involvement ceased. Waiting for a first strike when the "striker" is invisible and seeking weapons of mass destruction (WMD), i.e. biological, chemical and nuclear, could be tantamount to national suicide.
 

FEAR AND THE BIBLE

The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him. (Psalm 25:14)
  The word "fear" occurs about 600 times in the Old Testament and 150 times in the New Testament. Fear refers to:  
Fear in the first sense is meant when people "fear and love God". Such fear motivates the good works and ethics that the Bible says God approves of. Fear in the second sense motivates thought and action to overcome the source of fear.

Fear is a theme of the Bible – from the first fear by the first people (Genesis 3:10; 4:14) to the end of fear (in sense "2") in the future.
 
 

JUDGING RIGHTLY

He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD. (Proverbs 17:15)
 


The Bible distinguishes evildoers from their victims. It condemns those who justify mistreatment of innocent people by reversing the meaning words:  
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

Terrorists who murder willy-nilly without accusing their victims of specific crimes and letting them defend in court are – in Biblical language – "an abomination to the LORD."
 

AFGHANISTAN and IRAQ

"Wicked rulers…band together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death." (Psalm 94:20-21)


Many governments give refuge to terrorists. China supported Pol Pot, murderer of 1½ million Cambodians. Arabia harbored Idi Amin murderer of 400,000 Ugandans. Afghanistan's Taliban harbored the instigators of September 11.

President Bush demanded, "The Taliban must…hand over the terrorists or share in their fate." The Taliban refused. America's first "pre-emptive war", therefore, was Afghanistan – after September 11.

America's second pre-emptive war was Iraq.

Iraq's president, Saddam, paid $17,000 to families of Palestinian suicide bombers. He re-called thousands of scientists in readiness to restart his WMD programs. He practiced genocide, used chemical weapons on his own people, started a war (with Iran) that killed 1,000,000, and pledged to "liberate" Jerusalem. Saddam impoverished Iraq but spent $billions on himself.

The water table in Jordan is dropping and Turkey is building dams across the Euphrates River. Rising populations, decreasing water reserves, and murderous dictators seeking WMD while preaching Israel's destruction is a dangerous mix!

However, Democracies rarely declare war on each other. If the Middle East became Democratic peace might prevail and oil wealth benefit everyone.

America ousted Saddam's regime in April 2003 but:

Sabateurs also have been attacking Bagdad's power grid and oil pipelines… American military officials say the daily grind of ambushes is beginning to affect their efforts at reconstruction. (The Sunday Mail, June 29, 2003)
 
After World War II it took Germany and Japan, with American help, ten years to rejoin the world's most prosperous countries! Iraq, with its oil reserves, could do as well – if terrorists don't prevent it!
 

TERRORIST STATES

We sometimes hear of "terrorist states". Precise definition is difficult but they include Iran, Korea and previously Iraq – countries President Bush called an "Axis of evil…"

The Korean War, 1950-1953, killed 3,000,000 people but it saved South Korea from perpetual misery. North Korea is among the poorest countries where famine has killed 2 to 3 million since 1995. The regime governs through terror and hundreds of thousands linger in prison camps.

North Korea wants to unite both Koreas, has one million troops, sells weapons to terrorists, has – US analysts believe – two nuclear bombs and, by using plutonium from spent nuclear fuel rods, can make six more. (Wadhams 2003)

Iran identifies America with "Satan", denies Israel's right to exist, and may also be developing nuclear weapons: "…secret Iranian facilities [were] discovered by US satellite." (The Advertiser, December 14, 2002, p.57)

Pakistan has democratic government but terrorists want to destroy this to gain control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. If they succeed Pakistan could become a "terrorist state".
 

SUCCESSES

The "war on terror" has achieved successes in dozens of countries. For example:

 

ISRAEL, PALESTINE, JERUSALEM

The hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. (John 16:2)


Many first-century Christians were murdered by people who thought such murder was, "service to God." Jesus' words in John 16:2 teach what psychology and history confirm – that people are able to redefine any evil as "good".

Palestinian suicide bombers also believe they are giving "service to God" by killing people. The perpetrators are indoctrinated and equipped by terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Palestine Islamic Jihad, and al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (Genuine "service to God" excludes murder and is described in Romans chapter 12.)

Palestinians call suicide bombers "martyrs". In Western lands "martyr" referred to Christians murdered in Roman arenas for observing their faith. The Palestinian use of the word – applying it to murderers, not to the murdered – is the reverse.

Bible prophecy predicts future world conflict over Jerusalem:

I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it shall grievously hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will come together against it. (Zechariah 12:3)
 
Possible catalysts for such a scenario include:  

PROTECTION VIA INCREASED CONTROLS
 
And it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. (Revelation 13:16)
 

Terrorism is leading to increased controls and increased surveillance: "Proof of identity will be required to buy common garden fertilizers under a plan to prevent explosive or toxic materials falling into terrorist hands." (Kearney 2002)
 
Writing after September 11 Jones & Marchant (2001) say:
  High-tech systems for identifying us and keeping tabs on our activities look set to be introduced after last week's atrocities… The ultimate Big Brother device must be a tiny chip implanted under your skin that can broadcast your identity and location. A Florida company that was developing such chips…is now considering resuming it.

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION

Smallpox killed 60 million in the 18th century. It spreads readily by close contact and as aerosol. It's one of many "terrifying threats":  

Terrorists could also cripple countries if they:

AMERICA

In past centuries life was "nasty, brutish and short." War, ignorance, oppression, poverty and disease produced average life spans of 15 years – compared to today's 50 in Africa and 70 in Europe.

The USA is benign compared to past empires. It promotes "human rights", produces much of the world's medicine and new technology, and defends freedom including Muslim freedom (e.g. Kuwait, Kosovo and Afghanistan). The US gives more aid to Muslim countries than to Israel or Christian countries.

In urging attacks on America bin Laden said, "If their economy is finished, they will become too busy to enslave oppressed people." (Eccleston 2001)

Actually oppression is rife in Muslim lands. Clayton (2002) reported that 12,000 Bantus of Somalia were being flown to a new life in America. The Bantus were, "former slaves… robbed, raped, bullied and chased into exile."

Wherever Islamic terrorists operate they cause death, poverty and despair. Contrast this with 5 million US Muslims who enjoy the world's highest living standards!

The liberal democracy and multiculturalism of the West is derived from two main institutions:

Islam, in contrast, saw no separation between mosque and state. In 622, "Allah" gave permission to wage war and Islam spread by war and conquest. This, in effect, fused church and state.

In practice many Islamic nations are ruled by tyrants supported by the religious establishment. It's a system parasitic on Western science and achievement yet hates the sources of that achievement – church/state separation, education, judicial equality of males and females, and freedom of speech and religion. (Burns 1994) 

Iranian intellectual Abdolkarim Soroush said, "Research cannot flourish…if you cannot explain your ideas freely, or have to hide part of them lest you be arrested." (Masood 2003)
 

FAINTING WITH FEAR

And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Luke 21:26)
 
Global terrorism; weapons of mass destruction; electronic monitoring of everyone; world conflict over Jerusalem – these are fear-inspiring ideas.

However, Jesus warned in Luke 21:26 that there is more to come.
 
 

WHY TERROR IF GOD IS GOOD?

A simplified Biblical explanation why an almighty and loving God seems powerless is:  

  1. Most humans think they "know" right from wrong, and choose to act according to this "knowledge" and contrary to God;
  2. God has distanced himself to let humans find out from experience what their "knowledge" is worth.
Terrorists, therefore, are giving their particular demonstration of what they think is right. However, if we judge them, as Jesus said, by "their fruit" (Matthew 7:15-27) then the fruit of terrorists is oppression, poverty, suffering and death.

Human effort to discover right from wrong has occurred during Earth's most favourable era geologically, climatically and astronomically. Take astronomy:

Bear in mind that we have reached our state of technological sophistication without having been interrupted by a collision with a comet or asteroid during the last few thousand years, apparently a remarkable stroke of luck. While major impact events are capable of destroying species on a worldwide basis, smaller objects that visit more frequently pose a continuing threat to civilization. (Verschuur 1998)   At present only America could develop technology to divert or destroy asteroids on collision courses with Earth. Therefore when Islamic terrorists want to destroy America and establish anti-educational theocracies they're risking Islam's demise from Space! (2 Peter 3:10-13; 2:6; Anonymous 1998)

Eventually, the Bible predicts, humanity's self-rule by their own standards will be terminated. Evil caused by humans, including terrorism, will then be gone forever:

God himself will dwell with them [His people]; and he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:3-4)
 

REFERENCES

Anonymous. Asteroids and Their Impact. Investigator No. 62, September 1998
Burns, R E 1994 The Wrath of Allah, A Ghosh, Texas.
Clayton, J. Coming to America: 12,000 Somali 'lost' people, The Weekend Australian, July 20-21, 2002, p.14
Daraul, A. 1965 Secret Societies, Tandem, Great Britain, Chapter 18.
Deffeyes, K. 2001 Hubbert's Peak: The impending world oil shortage, Princeton University Press.
Eccleston, R. Fears of Nuclear build-up. The Weekend Australian, March 16-17, 2002, p.15
Eccleston, R. Hit the economy, says bin Laden. The Weekend Australian, December 29-30, 2001, p.7
Fleming, T. Killing Innocents Terror a Weapon of War, America's New War, 2001, pp 8-11
Gaffney, D. Smallpox poses terrifying threat. The Weekend Australian, May 17-18, 2003, p.4
Harran, P. Diseases a terror threat, Sunday Mail, August 17, 2003, p.6
Hoffman, B. The ultimate Smart Bombs, The Weekend Australian, August 23-24, 2003, p.17
Hussain, Z. Pakistan claims Taliban losses in sweep. The Weekend Australian, October 4-5, 2003, p.12
Jones, N. & Marchant, J. Here comes Big Brother, Time, 22 September, 2001, pp 12-13
Lyall, K. Hydra now thinking with one world goal, The Weekend Australian, October 19-20, 2002, p.26
MacKenzie, D. Bioarmageddon. New Scientist, September 19 1998, pp. 42-46
Masood, E. Come the revolution, New Scientist, 16 August, 2003, p.38
Nahdar, S. Warning on closing Islamic schools. The Weekend Australian, October 4-5, 2003, p.10
Nour, S. Perspectives, Military History, October 2002, pp 10-14, 28
Rose, D. The two-bit terrorist. The Advertiser, February 1, 2003, p. 52
Shears, R. Dirty bomb terror alert in SE Asia, Sunday Mail, June 15, 2003, p.19
Sheridan, G. The New Arms Race. The Weekend Australian, June 13-14, 1998, p.24
Theodoulou, M. Missionary shot dead in fresh attacks on US targets. The Weekend Australian, November 23-24, 2002, p.13
Verschuur, G. L. Impact Hazards, Truth and Consequences, Sky and Telescope, June 1998, pp 27-34
Wadhams, N. N Korea's nuclear future hangs in balance. The Weekend Australian, October 4-5, 2003, p.57
 

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