US At a Disadvantage in War on Terror: Lack of Religious Conviction and Knowledge

Posted on October 8, 2010


Islamic terrorists cry out to Allah as they launch an attack.  In the US, we are more like Patrick Henry – “I regret I have but one life to give for my country.”  Not only is democracy our “religion,” we have seeming exhibited less fervor in expressing our devotion to this cause than in the past – factions for whom it is important are doused in heated cries of “extremists.”

We are no longer a deeply religions country when it comes to our founding religions – Christianity and Judaism.  Not only are churches and temples closing due to a falling off in interest, intermarriage has contributed to moving away from institutions that could threaten marital cohesiveness.  God is less feared and more user-friendly.  He is as portable as a Kindle and we don’t need anyone either to speak to him on our behalf or to teach us the truth of is being and ways.  So many among us are so godless that removing all sign in schools and in public spaces of a superior being have been their life’s work.  God is one major authority figure who has lost his authority.

This is not the case with Islam.  Articles in this space have repeatedly explained the strong conviction of the followers of Allah and the import of the Koran.  To declare loyalty to a secular government is to leave Allah.  Shirah law reigns supreme in most of their lives.  It is in the fabric of daily life.  It inspires the Islamic terrorists and gives them focus, purpose and strength – the kind of fervor we had as colonists fighting the Revolutionary war or even WWII but no longer.  We lack their conviction – religious and civilian.  We are no longer brought together over an ideal as they are.  We remain separated and, in some cases, cowed by fear.

Now the Pew foundation has done a study that we could have written in 10 minutes.  The thesis:  there is an inordinate lack of knowledge about the world’s religions in this society.  As a result, we cannot understand what is going on in this war on terror and are unable to see when the terrorists themselves have got their own religion wrong. [al Jazeera (English)]

However, for those who have been educated in the world’s religions, they now see their own as not supreme but one among many exhibiting similarities.  This is another element in reducing religious authority.  Studies can be simplistic and one-sided.

It is all part of a pattern known in these parts for decades.  American students have no sense of, appreciation for or knowledge of history.  As the old saw goes “those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”  More to the point these days, they are prone to go confidently off in the wrong direction.  The ignorant have conviction.  It is just they are convinced they are right in all things and that their position on the issues is key in all matters.

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