Confidence, courage, and convictions
Please consider something with me: Do you suppose that the stench that is ISIS, or Al-qaeda, or any Islamic terrorist group for that matter, would have had the same level of success in conquest and murder that they are achieving in our day if they rose up during the 1940s…in the age of “the greatest generation” … an era in which morality was a little less tenuous than it is today? I submit that they would not.
And here’s why. Right and wrong were more sure and reliably fixed then. They had an objective standard which was largely recognized, and which engendered confidence in fighting for the right against the wrong. That standard and foundation is and has always been God, and back in the days of World War II few Americans questioned that. I believe that confidence would have given us the courage to do whatever it took to destroy terrorism. And further, that it would have and probably did deter the Islamic quest for world domination.
We used to hear that someone had the “courage of his convictions.” Not so much anymore. When our convictions are weak, so is our resolve. What we have today is an increasingly secular society progressively weakening the connection between right and wrong and the existence of God. So that even though most would still affirm the reality of objective morality, it rests on a shaky foundation, if it has one at all, if it’s not resting on him. And that leads to hesitation and debate instead of determination and action.
I am not saying we don’t have agreement that captured innocents being beheaded or burned alive is wrong. What I am saying is that without a more widely-shared belief in a God-centered morality, we are a weaker nation than we used to be and less emboldened and equipped to do something about it. When what’s true for me may not be true for you, morals are merely socio-biological adaptations, and evil is so prominent and fictionalized in the entertainment media that its connection to reality becomes blurred…we are close to toast.
I believe Islamic terrorists well recognize that the United States is not the same strong, God-fearing, resolute nation that led the fight against Nazi terrorism and Japanese imperialism…and won. And that has given them confidence. Unfortunately, they do have the courage of their convictions. Their convictions are wrong…objectively wrong…but nowadays you risk being branded as intolerant and bigoted for pointing that out. When pluralism leads to relativism, it leads also to indecision and weakness.
If we cannot confidently affirm that God is on our side, we’re fighting alone. We cannot be victorious against evil if we are not certain that we are aligned with the good. And if the good is something other than God, it’s subjective, relative, and an unreliable foundation on which to stand. Which means if we don’t shore it back up, eventually we will fall.