What would we die for?

This really does seem to be the lesson that is being taught us these days as our comfortable consumer life is being challenged. I can drive to the places where last Friday’s atrocities happened in only two hours. It is not the first time there have been bombs, explosions and terrorist attacks in our European cities. This one is brought home to us by its military precision and the sophistication of the weapons used.  Hell has visited us, as the west has visited hell on other countries for their resources and money.

I am one of those who are convinced that this is no isolated attack by a gang of crazed nutters, but by a deadly serious monster that has been created (however indirectly) by the west – by the US, but also by the UK, France, Germany and many other countries with their fingers in the pie. Our own world has created this fiend for its own profit, for money, and now we reap the whirlwind. The US guys are still wanting to leave the head-choppers in place until Assad is ousted, and most of Europe is following the madness. Russia got on with the job, knowing that there will be no peace in the world until those ISIS men are dead or rotting in supermax prisons. Perhaps France will come around and start playing ball with Russia, and M. Hollande might do it if he thinks he’ll get a couple more votes at the next election! France does seem poised to break with the madness.

War brings out the absolute worst of humanity, the lowest depths of depravity, the “devil’s arsehole” as I crudely described it in another posting. It brought us to the Holocaust, but let us not blame it all on Hitler and the Nazis! Before World War II, it was quite acceptable to treat Jewish people like dirt with the idea that they bore a curse for the death of Christ. What kind of Christianity is such an idea? That is the kind of Christianity that should be banished from this earth like any other creed of hatred and murder. I am a Christian because I know that Christ’s true expression was in the Beatitudes and the many parables and hidden teachings.

How often are the real perpetrators of this hell brought to justice? There was the Nuremberg Trial of 1946 which gave the bastards better than what they deserved, a fair trial before a more or less humane execution. That was an admirable moment when the west decided not to wreak vengeance and hatred, but give them the rights they took away from everyone else. But, were the real demons exorcised when Von Ribbentrop, Streicher and the others plunged to their deaths through the trapdoor? I suspect not. My bet would be on the real oligarchs not being in Germany but in America, making their billions from the misery of ordinary folk. Will men like Bush, Obama or the big guys in Saudi Arabia hear the words “For crimes against humanity, the Tribunal sentences you to death by hanging“?

There is now no alternative to war. There will be civil war and blood in Europe, millions of deaths of ordinary people and families of refugees. ISIS is not only a high-organised group financed with millions of dollars, but also represents the same stench of nihilism and pure hatred as Hitler as he vowed to take his own people down with him when he knew he was defeated.

I have no idea of how many terrorists got into Europe with the poor refugees (as most of them are, getting away from the head-choppers). We get to hear about Belgian connections on the media, about the bungling incompetence and lack of finance of security services and the police. I don’t know what to believe. As at the time of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in January 2015, we play into the hands of the real terrorists, the ones wearing suits and smoking cigars, because the knee-jerk reaction is to go for the ordinary Muslims like the Sturmabteilung went for Jewish bakers and tailors instead of corrupt bankers! Oh yes, we will swing to the nationalist Right, and the infuriating reality is that there is nothing else, no Churchill or Pius XII, only the monuments spouting platitudes about global warming and gay marriage! It is tempting to ride the wave – but we will regret it somewhere down the line, when our own foreheads are stamped with the Mark of Cain.

Some say that the only salvation for Europe is a return to Christianity. That is obvious, but it depends on what kind of Christianity. Russian erastianism? American neo-con fundamentalism with all the crap about the Rapture and so forth – all they need to justify starting a nuclear war? What Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism have become over the past fifty years? We are going to have to do better.

What would we die for? For the moment, not a lot. If the head-choppers came to our own doors and opened fire or drew their knives, what would our last thoughts be other than total terror? What will we leave behind us that they would not blow to smithereens? If we discover these things in ourselves, then the revival of Christianity would come from love, tolerance, humility, self-sacrifice and refusal of hatred. Perhaps it is already beginning. Let us hope so!

Nicholas Berdyaev wrote at length on a New Middle Ages, a notion of the period between the end of the Roman Empire and before the building of the cathedrals. He saw it coming after the demise of Marxist Communism or Nazism, but there was yet our own totalitarianism – of money – that had to run its course. We still have to suffer seeing the bottomless pit before there is any hope of God’s grace and light. There are prophecies that are more or less apocryphal, bringing tidings of beyond the end of the world and the burning ash planet. There are predictions of something to hope for in only four or five years – within our lifetime. We hope and pray… As Isaiah himself said:

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

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15 Responses to What would we die for?

  1. J.V. says:

    Poignantly written.

    The looming question that needs to be come to the fore of our mind is whether or not all of this is a prelude to larger geo-political realignment. Historically, geo-political realignments involve a major war. Are we at that moment? God only knows.

    “Some say that the only salvation for Europe is a return to Christianity. That is obvious, but it depends on what kind of Christianity.”

    I tend to believe that, so far as the West is concerned, we ultimately need the Western Tradition. Although the Romans and Anglicans have followed a certain trajectory, there is always hope that perhaps we can have a true revival of an authentic Benedictine monasticism, building communities around the monastery. Perhaps this is just a fool’s hope. But I see monasticism, if done without much of the post-Vatican II psycho babble that replaced an authentic spiritual life (among both RCs and ACs), as one remaining avenue to recover the Catholic Tradition. Again, I admit it is possibly a fool’s hope.

  2. Dale says:

    Although there is much here that is completely valid, I think that you take too limited of an historical view. The rise if militant Islam is not new, nor is in any way a reaction to what the west has done; we have always been at war with Islam. But we were lulled into a false security over the last few centuries, whilst Eastern Christianity suffered the brunt of Islam’s hatred of the west. That hatred and wish to destroy the west and all of Christianity has always existed in Islam. Welcome to reality.

    How is it possible to forget the previous, often successful Islamic invasions into the heartland of Europe? Have we already conveniently forgotten their invasion and occupation of the Iberian Peninsula for centuries?

  3. ed pacht says:

    “Some say that the only salvation for Europe is a return to Christianity. That is obvious, but it depends on what kind of Christianity.”

    JV says: “I tend to believe that, so far as the West is concerned, we ultimately need the Western Tradition.”

    Well, that depends on what is included in this “Western tradition. It seems to me that every “brand” of traditional Christianity has developed a solid tradition of reliance on the secular power and culture to support and/or enforce the Gospel. In different ways both West and East have carried forward that vision. That’s precisely backwards. Whatever tradition one follows, its external manifestation means little if it is not carrying forth a message and a life-goal of a Kingdom that is not of this world and will of necessity stand in opposition to much that is important to this world.

    What kind of Christianity? JV is right that the authentic monastic ideal points in the proper direction. Rejection of earthly power and wealth, subsuming everything to the search for God – that’s what drove the Desert Fathers – that’s what drove early monasticism – that’s what drove St. Francis and the many monastic reform movements. Every one of these, like every major Christian institution, has ultimately been coopted by worldly practicality, and every Christian institution very shortly needs to be returned to the way of Christ, over and over again.

    What kind of Christianity? What kind of tradition? A radical faith, one uncompromisingly loyal to the truths handed down in Scripture and Tradition, committed to the impossible task of LIVING the Sermon on the Mount in a life of continual repentance.

    I don’t believe Western Civilization as we have known it and almost deified it will, or actually should, survive. It will fail, but the Word of God will never fail. It will be small groups of Christians,
    ever learning (as true Christians always must) to walk closer to His will who will, as they have before, carry the Light through a darkening world. May we be among them.

    Whew! You can tell I’ve been a preacher. Pardon the high-flying emotional style.

  4. Once again I commend your concern about the dangers of an anti-Muslim backlash.

  5. Fr. David Marriott SSC says:

    I attach a part of my ‘Remembrance’ homily, as it speaks to far greater conflicts which have beset France in the 20th century, and of course, before, where many more innocent civilians perished at the hands of evil, which Satan assures us can be supplied in a whole range of disguises, all of which effectively mask the evil malignancy which has infected the perpetrator: after all even Christian faithful have been susceptible to the temptation of the devil. But as we approach closer to those end times we all await, it is sure and certain that if these recent challenges to our faith and to the moral and ethical foundation of society are pointing to anything, it is to the fact that the happy days predicted by the new Canadian prime minister are soon to be come overcast and far, far darker…….and maybe, just maybe, some of those ‘Christians in name only’ will realize that there is a reason for our faith, so they will come back to join with us in the search for the saving Grace of Jesus Christ.

    As we drove though France in the mid-1950’s, I, being 10 years old or so, was not aware of what had occurred only 10 years ago in this same countryside: “Yes, when we stopped for a lunchtime picnic by the side of the road, you could find, still recent, traces of the reason for the waves: as you went off exploring, as small boys are wont to do, there would be odd things in the undergrowth: from gun emplacements: massive fortified concrete shelters, to rusting rolls of barbed wire, overgrown with wildflowers, and yes, with those all-too-well-known poppies. But although they were old, although I could relate them to the war, trenches, guns and so on, there was no human impact of what had happened here: just the sight of a farmer, going up and down, cultivating his fields as he had always done – except when armies of men were fighting across the same land, turning it into a muddy waste, where men might drown in the water-filled holes made by impact of shells fired far away.

    The impact of what had happened, and what we commemorate this day, came when we stopped at a small city or large town: possibly Abbeville, possibly St. Quentin, and after looking around the main square, went off into what seemed to be a park: and it was a beautiful park, a garden of remembrance, with row upon row of white headstones, each engraved with name, rank and number, and many with the regimental crest, and many with the inscription ‘name unknown’, or ‘known only to His Maker’. This park might be found today, usually in a quiet corner of many of the towns and cities of Northern France: they are worth a visit, to understand what happened, and to reflect on how this incredible fact had an impact on the future for us all: how many dads lie there who never had the chance to become dads? How many dreams, how many hopes, how much ability, were never to be realized? Never to be realized, because these men knowingly enlisted in the forces, to protect what we now enjoy.”

  6. I believe that I made it clear that what had happened in Paris was in fact likely to happen. I will repeat what I said then: that unless steps are taken to differentiate between refugees and potential combatants in Western Europe, and to eliminate the latter from Europe, it is more than likely that what happened in Paris will be but the first fruits of a far more bloody and devastating harvest by the summer of 2016. I will repeat my suggestion that it would be wise to take steps to protect yourself against the coming onslaught.

    That said, perhaps the most cogent analysis of the aftermath of Paris is that of V. in his http://arealliveone.blogspot.com/2015/11/paris-isis-in-city-of-lights.html, and also in his http://arealliveone.blogspot.com/2015/11/war-is-hell.html, not the least because he addresses directly the questions you yourself ask.

    In answer to your question, “What would we die for?”, we must first answer the corollary question: “what is worth living for?” I would answer by saying that all of us have the right to live, and to defend ourselves. If we are to survive in the face of a common enemy, we shall only do so by finding common cause on those rights. In short, as my favorite wiseguy, Benjamin Franklin, has said: “Gentlemen, we must all hang together, or we shall all be hanged separately.”

    • Dale says:

      Bernard, this is a very well-worded response to the issues at hand. Where I might disagree, but only slightly, is that even if it were possible to weed out the terrorists from the Muslim migrants, that would accomplish very little. The one leader of this band of Islamic terrorists, and most likely many of the others, were/are the offspring of an earlier Muslim immigration, born and raised in the west, with hatred for the culture that took them in and helped them. So believing that ‘moderate” Muslim will produce moderate children is not absolute.

      I also disagree with the time-line; it may take one or two generations, but if the Muslim onslaught is not stopped, the problem will only grow and intensify, and as you say, the end result will be violence on a large-scale. Look at the situation in the Philippines, a Muslim insurgency that is almost unknown in the west, where hundreds of Christians are murdered each year, yet the government of the Philippines has caved in to all Muslim demands, they are still not happy. They demand to rule and to force the majority Christian population into submission, as they did to the Copts centuries ago. This will not end, and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

      Not too long ago, a migrant ship crossing the Mediterranean with 105 passengers threw Christian passengers overboard to their deaths; where were the “moderate” Muslims? Out of the 105 passengers (the majority Muslim), if we believe the Press, most of them should have been moderate.

  7. I note that my comment above is “awaiting moderation”. I had rather thought we had gotten beyond that sort of thing. I do hope that I was not mistaken, and that this present situation is simply a matter of inadvertence.

    • You are not on any moderation list by my doing.

      • Rubricarius says:

        That has been happening to my comments too.

      • On WordPress, unless you moderate all comments, a first-timer is moderated. Then, on sending a second comment, the comment is published immediately. I as moderator can stop that by putting the sender’s e-mail address into a special list on the settings page. I only do that when comments are troll-like or extremely rude. I don’t moderate people simply for having views other than mine. I believe such diversity to be a gift for us all, since life is a learning curve for me too. When I find comments in the moderation box, I do check to see if the e-mail address has ended up inadvertently in the moderation box. No, only addresses I put there. All I can do in the present case is to approve the comments in question, and the WordPress system will eventually “learn”.

      • Thank you for your kind responses. It is as I suspected: a glitch in the system. Or perhaps, to use another meme, “A ghost in the machine.

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