Yesterday’s remembrance of the 9/11/2001 tragedy was an emotional experience for me. Though not as intense as living through it, it did revive memories of that memorable day. I remembered stopping by my wife’s office that afternoon just to see that she was safe, though I had no reason to think otherwise. I remember the horror I felt at images from New York: airliners flying into the towers, people jumping to certain death because of the fires, people covered in ashes running for their lives, the heroism of police and firemen – and more.
I remembered the blood-lust of the American people seeking vengeance on those responsible – and the almost universal view it was inconceivable we could have inspired such hatred.
We asked over and over, “Why do they hate us?” When I suggested some possible answers in a Bible Class at church, I was almost angrily shut up because they thought it inconceivable that God could use such unmitigated evil to bring us to our knees.
Over the ensuing dozen years, little has changed. Most are still hesitant to look past the evil of those who did this to US to how God might be calling us to repentance. In this, we are like Habakkuk who asked God why He didn’t do something about the wickedness he saw in Judah. When God answered that He was raising up the Chaldeans to punish Judah, Habakkuk responded as God predicted he would: with disbelief. “Why do you…remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?” (Habakkuk 1:13; see Hab. 1:1-17 for the entire conversation.)
So, why do they hate us so much? Here are possible answers to that question.
- They have not learned to forgive the atrocities of the past as Jesus teaches us to forgive. They remember the Christian Crusades of the Middle Ages as if people living today are responsible for those events hundreds of years ago.
- They attribute the vileness spewing from Hollywood as characteristic of our nation. Viewing the typical Hollywood fare as an insult to Allah and to human dignity, they react violently to the society that supports and the government that allows such to exist.
- They see Western support of dictators in the Arab world and conclude we have no real interest in their oppressed people. Then when we help overthrow some of those dictators, we empower radicals who are as oppressive as the dictators had been.
- We have killed far more innocent citizens in our response to the terrorists’ actions than the terrorists themselves killed on 9/11.
- They believe we are corrupting their culture and exploiting their oil by our crass materialism.
These are just a few of the reasons a devout Arab Muslim might “hate” America, the nation some call”The Great Satan.” Given their belief in violence as a legitimate defense of their religious goals, it should not surprise us that they react violently.
When we responded with more violence, we perpetuated their image of us, and things escalated.
When President Bush said he wanted Osama ben Laden “dead or alive,” I predicted that if he killed OBL, four more would rise to take his place. I think history has confirmed I was right.
President Obama ironically spoke about the situation in Syria on the eve of the anniversary of 9/11. Our relations with the Middle East, not good in 2001, have grown worse.
When will we stop to think that our hubris and arrogant attitudes toward those who differ from us just might have influenced their attitudes toward us?
When will we stop to consider that many of the things that are happening to America in our present time just might possibly be God calling us to repentance?
Think of the strange weather patterns of this summer: intense heat and raging fires in part of the country while other parts are afflicted with historic floods. Then, today the weather seems to be reversing itself. Flash floods are in the places where the fires had been and unusual heat is moving into the northeast. Then read:
“I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me,” declares the LORD. “I also withheld the rain from you when there were yet three months to the harvest; I would send rain on one city, and send no rain on another city; one field would have rain, and the field on which it did not rain would wither; so two or three cities would wander to another city to drink water, and would not be satisfied; yet you did not return to me,” declares the LORD…. yet you did not return to me,” declares the LORD…. yet you did not return to me,” declares the LORD….yet you did not return to me,” declares the LORD. “Therefore…prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” (Amos 4:6-12, ESV)
How do we respond? “This strange weather is the result of man-caused climate change – and what we caused, we can fix. You can’t say a good, loving God would do this!”
Really? Are we serious? If God did that to Israel, what makes us so sure He will not do something similar to America?
I challenge any believer to read The Harbinger, and say that God is not involved in current geo-political affairs.