Faith, Reason and the Fallacy of Changing Hearts and Minds

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Daniel 11:1 & 32-34

Hebrews Chapter 11 is known to christians as “The Hall of Fame Chapter”. It references both by name and actions, those who honored their God and Creator through faith and righteousness. Four names not explicitly mentioned, but acknowledged through their actions, are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and Daniel. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were Jewish, young men who were slaves in King Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian Empire. Daniel, a young Israelite was captured by the Babylonian army when they conquered Israel, taken back as a slave, and given the job of working in King Darius’s government.

Daniel Chapter 6 tells us about Daniel, who refused to worship and pray to King Darius. By faith, he continued his prayers to his One True God three times a day, defiantly praying in front of his open window. Although Daniel was a favorite of the King, in the end Darius had him cast into an open pit that held lions. The Lion’s Den. God sent his angel and shut mouths of the lion, allowing Daniel to spend the night safe from harm. In the morning, the King rushed to the den and beseeched Daniel to assure him he was alive:

19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

Daniel’s reply is renown for the definition of faith:

21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.” 23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

Earlier in Daniel, Chapter 3 details the story of three young men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who refused to obey the order given by King Nebuchadnezzar, to bow down, worship and pray to his golden image. When the King personally ordered them to obedience, this was their reply:

16  “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

In anger, Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into a fire furnace. When the King looked into the furnace, he saw the three young men, along with a fourth, the pre-incarnate Son of God:

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

What do these Old Testament stories have to do with Prime Minister Theresa May’s statement on terrorism last night? (Independent)

It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam. It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth. Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time, but it cannot be defeated by military intervention alone. It will not be defeated by the maintenance of a permanent defensive counter-terrorism operation, however skillful its leaders and practitioners. It will only be defeated when we turn people’s minds away from this violence and make them understand that our values – pluralistic British values – are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.

Where do secular governments go so wrong in their understanding?

This is not isolated misplaced ideology, this is their faith, this is the essence of their religion, and the sooner we recognize that fact, the sooner we can combat it.

Scripture is replete with a panoply of stories about those with enmity against Israel fighting to the death because of their fervor and faith for the false Gods they worship.

Essentially, the enemies of Israel were in reality, enemies of the One True God. While the Church has replaced Israel as representative of Christ the King here on Earth, the battle against the Triune Sovereign Creator has not. There remain those opposed to the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, those who would and will seek to destroy his saints serving in His Kingdom here, and those who will go to their death doing so.

At no time in history has “changing hearts and minds” been successful outside of the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit. At no time in history, have secular governments convinced Muslims to willfully deny their faith, not to mention those ardent believers willing to follow Mohammad to the death.

Theresa May’s approach to solving extreme Islamic terrorism will have no more success than Pope Urban II, when in November 1095, he initiated the first Crusade against Muslims, who ruled Jerusalem and the Holy Land. History has shown neither the sword, nor diplomacy will move the heart of the Muslim away from Mohammad .

Today it is of utmost importance that we recognize the implacable strength of faith. Throughout history, men have sought out a “higher being” for worship. Whole nations have practiced child sacrifice in wicked belief in their false gods. Whole nations have fought to the death both defending their gods, and attempting conversion of others into their belief systems.

The point is this, we will not successfully remove the threat of Islamic terrorism by thinking we can convert their faith-based system via secular reasoning. Reason is natural, faith is spiritually unnatural. These two worlds can do nothing but collide. Centuries of history has shown us the only successful collision is aggressive confrontation with the sole goal of threat elimination.

Perhaps one day, reason will lead us to understand history does repeat itself, and does hold valuable lessons.

About the author

Wm. P. Fitzhenry

5th generation Texan, 2nd generation reformed Presbyterian, a twin and a serial entrepreneur.

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