September Eleven’s Clash of Civilizations
Today we remember with great sadness and again extend our sincere and heart-felt condolences to all who lost loved ones on this tragic day in 2001. We also ask and answer the question as to why did this happen on September 11? There is a real reason....
A friend, a former professor from the University of Queensland in Brisbane Australia, was telling me how, back in the 1970s when Communism was the greatest threat to world peace, she heard a speaker who predicted that it wasn’t Communism we needed to fear for the future but Islam. Who would have ever believed that radical claim back then?
Some time ago Chuck Colson in his daily BreakPoint wrote, “In the mid-1990s Harvard professor Samuel Huntington predicted that the twenty-first century would see a great clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. Nobody paid much attention. After all, we had just defeated communism. There was peace in the world. All was well.
“Then came September 11, when we awoke to the fact that there are people out there who want to destroy us—not just defeat us, but annihilate us.”1
For radical Muslims their only worldview is convert to Islam or die. The numerous suicide bombers ought to wake us up to this fact. They are all too willing to die for their cause.
Can we in the West negotiate with such radicals? The reality is that we can’t negotiate with terrorists any more than we could negotiate with Hitler or Stalin. Their goal was to conquer the world. It didn’t matter one iota how many people they killed to achieve their goal of world domination. To them, the end always justified the means. That, too, is the goal and philosophy of radical Muslims.
However, today’s struggle goes far beyond that of Nazism and Communism of the 20th Century. Today we are not so much in a war against terrorism as we are, as Chuck Colson put it, in a clash of civilizations. Terrorism is just a means to an end. For instance, “The history of Islamic hostility toward the West goes back centuries. Radical Muslims are still smarting over the defeat of their armies south of Paris in the year 732, not to mention the catastrophic defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the gates of Vienna on September 11, 1683. That’s right, September 11. Bin Laden chose his date for a reason. He was avenging the defeat of Muslim armies more than four hundred years earlier. September 11 has roots in an [ongoing long-term] irrational hatred of the West.”2
Today, September 11, is a graphic reminder that we are indeed in a clash of civilizations. The politicians and political pundits don’t have the answer. The United Nations doesn’t have the answer. The media doesn’t have the answer. Sadly much, though not all, of Western Christendom, which has become wishy-washy, doesn’t have the answer either. And as much as I appreciate the military powers of the West that we desperately need to protect us, they don’t have the answer either. True, we need to pray for our leaders and our military that God will direct and guide them, but we need more than these for our protection.
Why do I claim this? Because we need to realize that long before Bin Laden and radical Islam the world has been in a clash of “civilizations” from the beginning of time—the clash between the world of evil and the world of good—a clash that seems to be heating up.
So wherein is the answer? What can we do? How can we win against suicide bombers—those who “hide in darkness” and are willing to die for their cause?
First, we in the West need to wake up and smell the “gun powder” and face reality. The radical Muslims are coming. They’re growing. They are on the increase around the world. We’re in a life-and-death struggle against the forces of evil.
Second, we in the West who claim to be Christian need to get serious and be willing to live for, be genuinely committed to, and practice our faith. If we don’t, we may die because those who are willing to die for their faith are intent on killing us.
Third, because we are in a battle between good and evil, the bottom line is that we in the West desperately need a great spiritual awakening. And that needs to start with you and me.
And fourth, be sure to note who of late has wanted God removed from their political platform. The reality is that the farther we move away from God, the more we move ourselves away from God's protection.
As God's word reminds us, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse [and military might] is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save."3
Suggested prayer, "Dear God, as King David prayed, 'we wait in hope for the LORD; [you are] our help and our shield. In [you] our hearts rejoice, for we trust in [your] holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.'4 Please send a great spiritual awakening to our land and let your work begin in me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Chuck Colson, BreakPoint, August 16, 2006.
3. Psalm 33:12, 16-17 (NIV).
4. Psalm 33:20-22 (NIV).