On October 7, 2023, the terrorist group Hamas committed a heinous attack on Israel. This has brought the entire Middle East to the brink of a war that has global consequences. The hot war is centered in Israel and Gaza, yet the war of ideas and ideals has been brewing since the dawn of civilization. As Proverbs reminds us: “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7 KJV). Our worldview not only tells us how to see the world but also determines the kind of nations we will build.
There are three major competing worldviews: Atheistic Materialism, Islamic Jihad, and Judeo-Christian Theism.
Each narrative has a driving vision, a focus, and can be well represented by a symbol. Atheistic Materialism’s symbol is the condom. The vision is “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!” Its focus is the self and the immediate satisfaction of one’s natural instincts (hedonism).
The symbol of militant Islam is the sword. Would-be martyr Ijaz Khan Hussein expressed its vision: “We went to the jihad filled with joy, and I would go again tomorrow. If Allah had chosen me to die, I would have been in paradise, eating honey and watermelons and grapes, and resting with beautiful virgins.”1 The focus is obedience to Allah by murdering infidels through jihad.
Biblical theism’s symbol is the cross. The driving vision was stated by the apostle Paul: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free … You, my brothers, and sisters were called to be free … use your freedom to … serve one another humbly in love” (Gal. 5:1, 13). The focus is personal and national liberty through obedience to God’s order.
These radically diverse narratives lead to drastically different endings. The atheistic materialist worldview leads to a world of disorder (moral anarchy); Islamic Jihad leads to tyranny. Biblical theism leads to freedom.
This battle of ideas must be fought on two levels. First, the license of secular atheism and the freedom of biblical theism must face off. The winner – anarchy or freedom – will confront the tyranny of jihadist Islam. The outcome will determine the future of Europe and America, the future of the Middle East — the future of the world.
For more on this, read my book Emancipating the World: A Christian response to Radical Islam and Fundamentalist Atheism.
- John F. Burns, “A NATION CHALLENGED: A FIGHTER’S TALE; Bin Laden Stirs Struggle on Meaning of Jihad,” The New York Times, January 27, 2002, https://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/27/world/nation-challenged-fighter-s-tale-bin-laden-stirs-struggle-meaning-jihad.html. ↩︎