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Why does the mention of Holy War nearly scare us to death?
by Robert Randle
4/21/2010 / Christian Living
Ever since September 11, 2001, many if not most Americans have become increasingly jittery and paranoid when hearing words such as 'jihad,' terrorists, and al-Qaida; which have been added to our social and political Lexicon, but should this really be the case? It seems that many of us have a short attention span and selected memory when it pertains to the Historical and Biblical narratives. To the colonial settlers on the American frontier, the British "Red Coats" might have seemed like they were the 'terrorists,' and to the Royal troops these upstart, disloyal and traitorous brigands were waging some sort of guerilla or urban warfare against them. The American Civil War, WWI, WWII, Spanish-American War, Korean Conflict, Viet-Nam, etc., all have one thing in common, namely: At least one side in the conflict believes that what they are doing is "God's Will" or that their justification to participate in such horrific acts has some sort of 'Divine' sanction or "Higher Purpose." During the 1970's, Folk Singer Bob Dylan had a song entitled, "God is on our Side." Indeed, even that old "Rail Splitter," "Honest Abe," President Abraham Lincoln, penned the immemorial words about it is not so much a concern as to whether or not we are on God's side but rather if God is on our side. This overarching 'TRUTH' [religious sanction] is behind just about all the Wars that have ever been waged on planet Earth since people started to make weapons and use these instruments to kill; especially beyond that point used for just mere survival.
It is of special concern for those who study the TANAKH (Christian Old Testament Bible), because clearly, an undeniable "fact" emerges, and that is, Holy War [jihad] is throughout its many pages, and just as startling, namely, that "it is of God;" and not just something made up in recent times by religiously zealous Muslim and Arab fighters from predominately the Middle East countries. This assertion can be proven quite convincingly in the following:
Psalms 24: 8
Who is this King of Glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle.
2 Chronicles 20: 15b
Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's.
1 Samuel 17: 47
Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD'S. . .
Exodus 15: 3
The LORD is a man of war, the LORD is His name.
Exodus 17: 16
Because the LORD has sworn: the LORD [not Israel] will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.
Exodus 32: 20-21, 23
Then Moses said to them, "If you do this thing, if you arm yourselves before the LORD for war, "and all your armed men cross the Jordan before the LORD until He has driven out His
[not Israel's enemies??] enemies, "But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure, your sin will find you out."
2 Samuel 22: 33a, 35
God is my strength and my power, He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
Exodus 14: 14
The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.
Deuteronomy 1: 30a, 42
The LORD your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you.
Deuteronomy 3: 22
You must not fear them, for the LORD your God Himself fights for you.
Deuteronomy 20: 4
For the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.
Psalms 144: 1
Blessed is the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.
COMMENTARY: When Jacob's descendants grew into a mixed multitude of approximately one and one-half to two million people, doubtless an amalgamation of indigenous Egyptians and other slave laborers, after leaving Egypt became a confederation of 12 uniquely distinctive clans united under a single leader; each with their own clan or tribal loyalties. The one single thing which would unite these disparate groups and their leading families is embracing a common set of rules or conduct [RELIGION] to which everyone pledged loyalty and mutual protection. Under this agreement is belief in the God and His Torah [Law] as revealed to Moses and now these people were given the command to go out and conquer the inhabitants of Canaan and possess the land that God promised to the Patriarchs. So, this 'jihad' or "Holy War" against other peoples ("infidels") was not really so much different then than it is today. These acts of armed conflict and destruction aren't so much about a philosophical difference or morality, but rather faithful obedience to one's God and victory over another people and their god(s).
That being said, the one mistake that America makes when trying to understand the seeming inconsistency between Islam ["Peace"] or a Muslim ["submission" to the will of God/Allah] is viewing the religion or the Anti-American rhetoric spewed in the Madrasas by the Imams through the lens of Western cultural values. The warfare against America isn't retaliation from past Imperialist exploitation by the Western powers nor is it even personal, and it may not even seem rational, but one thing is certain: Muslim zealots take this mandate very seriously and one they are willing to give their very lives for, and in the words of Lao-Tzu in "The Art of War," WAR IS FOREVER.
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