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A New Normal

A New Normal?

“We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit.” (Bidden or not bidden, God is present.) Carl Jung

“Confusion not only reigns, it pours.” Friedrich Nietzsche

Do you ever wonder just how much more madness the world can sustain? Frankly, I do. Daily I scour intelligence reports and mainstream media searching for something good, something that brings a modicum of sanity to a world that seems to be spiraling out of control. Finding goodness in the news is as common as a sunny day in Moscow in the middle of winter. I understand that the world has been falling apart since the fall in the garden of Eden, but after having walked on this earth for the better part of six decades now, the current times seem different to me, strange and ominous.

It has been a few weeks since I have written ostensibly about the occurrence of specific extremist events. This has not been because there have been no killings, kidnappings or bombings. The lack of interest and concern for terrorist activities; the fact that the events stir our compassions less and less determine what the media actually reports. Sadly, extremist events have become the new normal.

Review.

Recently, mainstream media has been light on reporting Islamist extremist events. The reason is not that terrorist attacks are not happening. It could be that the environment of “islamophobia-phobia” has begun to prevail. It has become so in vogue within mainstream media to displace the cause and effects of terrorism on the shoulders of Islamist groups, that they simply may have stopped regularly reporting them. Although, this seems to me unlikely because mainstream media survives by reporting bad news.

Media has also, for some reason decided that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam and that anyone who says so is an islamophobe. This is quickly being associated with anyone who is racist, anti-gay or pro-gun rights. How easy it is to label people by creating nefarious categories which include anyone who does not agree with you! People become easier to demonize that way.

There is a trend in the making. Voices who say that terrorism represents such a minuscule threat compared to global warming, police brutality, and car accidents are increasing. They propose that keeping track of terrorist attacks is not even warranted. It seems that many thinkers have determined that there is nothing we can do about terrorism, therefore we should not concern ourselves with it. This same group would disparage any attempt to protect themselves against hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or earthquakes. There is only one problem. There is much that can be done to safeguard our nation and our communities from Islamist extremism, namely, Counter-terrorism. Its sophistication is developing by the day. It is not yet time to stick our collective heads in the sand.

The likely reason that reporting of terrorist events has decreased lately is due to the diminished tempo of catastrophic events around the world over the past couple of months. Or wait; has the tempo diminished? Or have we just gotten so accustomed to terrorist events that they no longer seem catastrophic? Is terrorism becoming a new normal?

So far in 2018, there have been 192 terrorist events in the world. Over the past two months that has included 1030 deaths. (These numbers have changed three times since I began writing this issue of “the Weekly.”) It is easy to say that these numbers are insignificant until you become one of them. It is extremely important to remember that terrorists do not rely simply on the deaths of victims. They thrive off of the fear caused as a result of the attacks. Terrorist attacks result in catastrophic economic effects as well. The combination of these three variables put terrorists in the driver’s seat, even when they do not carry out world-changing attacks.

As far as statistics go, the numbers for 2018 appear to present a better year overall. As of now we are on track for approximately 90 terrorist attacks per month, or 3.3 per day. During the first two months of this year, 516 people lost their lives due to terrorist activities. Compared to 2017, this is better. Last year there was an average of 100 attacks per month and 657 deaths per month due to terrorism. We are one catastrophic event away from increasing that tempo. Until there are zeros in both columns: attacks and deaths, we ought not be satisfied.

In 1958, a year before I was born, there was one terrorist attack in the world, the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Temple bombing. I am not attempting to insinuate that everything was better “back in the day,” but when you add 90 terrorist incidents a month and the monthly deaths of 516 human beings to the world’s already burgeoning problems, it adds up to a huge loss of life, peace and the general welfare of our global village.

The amount of fear, worry and general angst in the world is definitely ominous. Consider that 1 in 6 Americans are taking some form of psychiatric drug, the most popular being anti-depressants. That number has increased by 65% over the last fifteen years. Europe does not fare any better. About 15-20% of their populations also use anti-depressants. Interestingly in one study, Iceland was named one of the happiest countries in the world. In yet another study, it was named the world’s highest anti-depressant user. I am not a psychologist, but I’m just sayin…

The point is that terrorism is not taking a break. Islamist extremists are not reconsidering their actions and reforming. Global anti-terrorism campaigns have taken a fragment of momentum away from groups such as ISIS and al Qaeda…for the moment. These groups are learning creatures. They are re-grouping, planning and conducting their pre-operational reconnaissance. They are planning new ways to create terror. Additionally, there are a host of “lone-wolf” Islamists who are in the pre-operational phases of their attacks. My prognosis? There will be much for us to consider in the near future.

Why.

The question remains, “How will we respond to terrorist activities in the world?” Will we act with the mind of Christ or the mind of the flesh? Let’s not allow the current dynamic in the world to become the new normal. If we do, we will only be allowing fear to rule our lives; then soon it will dictate our actions. There will be no more strolls through the park, no more outdoor concerts, no more international travel and no more community worship services. Our homes will become fortresses rather than light houses. This is a deeply important issue for us.

We must allot the requisite amount of band-width in our lives to the very important matter of responding and being prepared for terrorist attacks. We should be ready emotionally, physically and above all spiritually. This is “the Vietnam” of this generation. There is much confusion surrounding the truth. There are passionate people on both sides indicating how we are to respond. The spectrum of thoughts are as broad as any subject being debated today. On one hand, there is the temptation to label all Muslims as terrorists and to be afraid of them. This is the wrong answer. Most Muslims want to get along with us. They don’t understand Islam any more than most Christianized-America understands genuine Christianity. They are not prepared to kill you. However, some of them are… There are many who hold to an interpretation of Islam that includes committing acts of violence in order to be faithful to their beliefs.

Action.

Muslims who are not violent are to be loved and showered with compassion in the name of Christ. (Luke 6:27-36) Muslims who are violent terrorists are to be loved and showered with compassion in the name of Christ. (Matt 5:44) For the genuine Christian, living in fear is not an option. Being violent is not an option. Do terrorists need to be allowed to run rampant in the world? No, certainly not! Stopping them is the task of the President and the Legislature. It is the role of the military.

Our first and foremost calling is to be faithful to Christ. (Matt 6:33) Our second, is to be loyal citizens and faithful members of our communities. Our calling is to serve. We are to serve in politics, military , education, entertainment, sports, business and healthcare. We are to do it as unto the Lord, for it is Christ Jesus whom we serve. (Colossians 3:23) The best thing we can do as a Church is to be faithful in all we do; faithful in our walk with Christ and faithful in our walk as Americans, Canadians, Germans or whatever our nationality. It is our commissioning from God. Islamic jihadists will not be defeated by gun-toting vigilantes, no matter how good their motives. They will be defeated by truth, love and compassion as we demonstrate that kindness through service to mankind in our churches, government and non-governmental organizations.

Should Christian young men and women serve in the military? Most certainly! Should Christian men and women serve in politics? Without question! I can assure you that these battles will prove to be far more palatable when fought by those who love, rather than by those who hate, by those demonstrating compassion rather than by those who are\ angry. Let’s not allow the chaos and confusion in the world today to become the new normal. Let’s determine to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. If you don’t like the decisions that the government is making, run for office. If you don’t like the way the war is being fought, become a soldier. Merely having an opinion does not change anything or help anyone. Resist the new normal.

Resources.

Terrorism… https://bipartisanpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/20…

Most anti-depressant users in the world… https://www.indy100.com/article/these-are-the-coun…

World’s happiest countries… https://www.livescience.com/50613-happiest-countri…

Lone Wolf Terrorism… https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283096279…

Americans name terrorism as number 1 problem… http://news.gallup.com/poll/187655/americans-name-…

The Trouble With How Liberals Talk About Terrorism… https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/…

Islamophobia… https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/…

How to Respond to Chaos… https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/take-a-break-…

How Terror is becoming the New Normal… https://news.sky.com/story/how-terror-is-becoming-…

Is Terrorism the New Normal?… http://natoassociation.ca/terrorism-is-the-new-nor…

What is Counterterrorism?- https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-counterterrorism…

https://theconversation.com/what-is-terrorism-what-do-terrorists-want-78228

www.ocfusa.org/2009/06/christian-serve-military-2/

http://byfaithonline.com/politics-why-christians-m…

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