02 August 2010

Beslan, The Chechens, and The Legacy of Sacralist Russia part 2

Someone responded to my comments regarding the Beslan tragedy. It was over at a website called Defending/Contending. I didn't expect a response because it would seem all I succeeded in doing at the site was angering everyone. There's a thread called...It's about the beat.... some of you might be interested in it. It was largely a debate between a Pietistic view of Culture vs. my position in arguing Culture is Common. Some of the same issues appear here as a Sacralized view of culture will not allow for us to think outside a certain box that's often provided for us. I argue Pietism is one variety of a Sacralist view of culture and it interprets Christianity through that specific cultural lens. My post called The Good Old Days deals with that a bit.

I had intended to leave off interacting with this site. They pretty much seem to despise me. I'm sure to them I'm a worldly, leftist, apostate or something.

There are actually a lot of good things at the site. That said, it's often (to borrow Moo's phrase), like a symphony out of tune. They really like Spurgeon and Pink. Me too, but as I tried to point out, Pink and Spurgeon didn't exactly teach the view of culture and pietism they are espousing.

One type of Sacralism in viewing culture as holy focuses on power and conquest.

The other variety in viewing culture as holy focuses on separation-ism and critique.

I argue both tactics are wrong because they identify culture in the wrong manner. Am I saying we don't separate? Oh, we have to, especially when we live in a Sacralist culture. We may even be driven from the churches which espouse it. We have to be very self-conscious and very careful. It's actually easier for us to be self-conscious when we live in a secular state, which is what we as Christians should wish for. Shocking I know. Daryl Hart has recently written on this. Of course no state or society is static. In the end they will all move one way or the other.

Pietism seeks to escape worldly influence and thought by creating a Christian sub-culture. But the sub-culture is still defined by the larger culture and they cannot help but conflate or blend the two ideas. Thus often Pietistic Separatists are often just as pro-America and pro-Imperial as the Transformationalist variety.

I argue we need to be in the world, but not of it. Our Separatism is not about clothes or music per se. We need to do those things as Christians too. But the Kingdom is not about clothes or music....meat or drink....it's about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

So I'm calling for what would seem to a Transformationalist....as separatism.

What seems to a Pietist....as worldy.

This view doesn't make sense to either of them, because I'm refusing to accept their categories of thought.

Anyway, here is the exchange. A man named "Pilgrim" responded to my post from early July.

Here's Pilgrim's letter to me, sometimes quoting me....

Dear protoprotestant,
Jon Giduck covers the long history of tension in that region in the book.

Now, you said:

“What happened at Beslan was a horrible tragedy, but Russia bears much of the blame.”

So it’s Russia’s fault (or is as much to blame) for these innocent men, women, and children taken hostage, raped, tortured, and murdered in the Beslan school? I am sorry, but I completely disagree with you. This act was an act of terrorism. The people at the school that day were innocents.

There is no justification for what they did. Many of those kids weren’t even old enough to spell “Muslim,” let alone understand why Muslims were murdering them, their siblings, and their parents.


It was an act of terrorism, an act of murder. And yes the people at Beslan were innocents. But, Russia's multi-generational war against Chechnya has also been an act of terrorism.

They're both evil, both sides are terrorists. That's my point. The Russians killed 1/10th of the entire population of Chechnya in the 90's and early 2000's. Many of the thousands of Chechen children could not spell Russia or terrorism either.

In addition, when a society has been so decimated as the Chechens were in the 90's, by Stalin in WW2, and by the Tsars in the 1800's, they will reach a breaking point. They view, rightly, the Russian Empire (in its various forms) as completely evil and the fact that its citizens support it and refuse to acknowledge its actions as evil too. Are they right? Yes and no. It does not justify their murdering, but on a human level you can understand it. No one in this scenario Russian or Chechen is Christian, so we don't expect them to act like it.


You said:

“These people have been driven beyond the point of endurance. It is no surprise that radicalism has taken root.”

I would suggest it’s more than that. They like to play the victim but it’s a convenient excuse to act as savages. Islam has been a bloodthirsty religion since the days of its founder. The Beslan tragedy didn’t occur simply because they were “driven beyond the point of endurance,” but it sure is a palatable way of coping with their savagery.


I would argue the Russians have actually been more savage. Read the history. Islam is bloodthirsty? My oh my. Christianity, next to 20th century Totalitarianism ranks near the top in the most bloody religions in the history of the world...right alongside Islam.

Of course I argue, that what is often called Christianity is not, but a false form a perversion of Christianity called Constantinianism. This 'christian' form of Sacralism has been responsible for a multi-century holocaust. Biblical Christianity does not confuse nations or civilizations with the Kingdom of God.

They were indeed driven beyond the point of endurance. Even lost people don't wake up in the morning and say, "I think I'll go blow myself up today, or maybe commit mass murder..."

No, lost people will do that only when driven to it by extreme circumstance. People will blow themselves up and fly airplanes into buildings when their own people and cultures have been decimated and humiliated, when their children are being slaughtered. Then in desperation they will turn to such tactics.

Can brainwashing help? Sure. Kamikaze pilots certainly believed what they were doing was necessary. Japan too was a Sacralist state. It drives men mad. I can see Americans doing the same were their Empire in serious danger.

My point with Chechnya was, they don't have a heritage of that kind of Islam. Their history is Sufi, they're mystics. But Russia's actions have radicalized them. America has had and is having a similar effect all throughout the Middle East. Bush's Wars have probably tripled the numbers of terrorists.

So with Chechnya it would do Russia good to ask....what have we done to these people to drive them to do this? The Israeli's should ask the same question. And so should America.


You said:

“The same thing could happen here.”

You are spot on with that estimation, except that I would suggest that it’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN. Giduck sounds the alarm that this same tragedy has been promised to come to America.


Right, but I'm more interested in the why? If America keeps committing acts of terror and murder all around the world, then yes, it wouldn't surprise me of some Iraqis show up and do something like that. America has been destroying their country and murdering hundreds of thousands of their people since the 90's.

Sadly, the terrorists think will get the attention of the American public. They're not aware of American geo-political ignorance, and they cannot content with America's staggeringly powerful propaganda machine.


You said:

“Something like a 9/11 was inevitable…..and Bush’s Wars will only do more harm in the long run.”

Not to get political, but something like 9/11 was inevitable because Islam’s goal is world domination, period! Blaming us for why Islam hates us does not work, but sounds more like the hand-wringing liberals who want to appease everyone.

Columnist Cal Thomas hit the nail on the head a few years back when he said:

“The Bush administration is making a fundamental mistake when it promotes the fiction that our enemies can be made less threatening by what America says and does.”

Additionally, blaming Bush for supposedly knowing about the threat and not doing anything BEFORE 9/11, while simultaneously blaming him for doing something AFTER 9/11 (taking the war to them) has always humored me. Politicians in America showed their true colors after 9/11. It was never about the preservation of our nation with most politicians; it was about getting re-elected. And if attacking the president was the means to win votes, then the end justified those means.

Oh, and by the way, since Bush started “his” war (of which millions of Americans were behind him in his decision) we have not had a repeat of 9/11 on our soil . . . yet. We now have a different president and it’s only a matter of time. Additionally, had Bush not gone to war, then he’d have been attacked for not doing anything. It really didn’t matter what he did. His opponents were going to take the opposite side and attack him for whatever he did. It’s politics as usual in America.


America's goal has been world domination for decades and it has largely succeeded. Period. Your line about liberals is straight out of the FOX 'news' playbook. It demonstrates a non-Christian worldview that casts America as good, all of our enemies as bad.

The Biblical worldview is all nations are evil. And if you'd bother to look you'd see America is one of the worst. The Cal Thomas quote is typical of his astounding ignorance concerning the world, Christianity, and his confusion regarding his own position. Cal Thomas and those like him harm America by supporting and calling for murder and militarism. And for the church, Cal Thomas is a classic wolf in sheep's clothing.

The intelligence is clear, Bush did know and did nothing. The international community was trying to warn him. Did Bush 'let' it happen or was he just something of a joke? Someone else can figure that one out.

It's not about getting re-elected. That's the tactic. The strategy is power. It's always about power. I know millions of American's were behind Bush's wars, most of them were Christians. Millions of Germans supported Hitler too. As far as having a repeat of 9/11...we don't need one. He already let it happen. That argument makes no sense. Somehow he's vindicated? He's the one who dropped the ball.

It doesn't surprise me that America would go to war in response to 9/11. What saddens me was to see Christians completely swept away by the regime's propaganda. As far as his opponents taking the opposite side, the same thing happens now with Obama. Whatever he does is wrong. The whole system is corrupt and I refuse to support either side of what is in reality the same coin. I make this point repeatedly. The Biblical Two Kingdoms doctrine is not left or right. I refuse to accept the establishment's categories and argument frameworks.


You said:

“Yes, these people are evil…but so is the Russian government. The 9/11 attackers were evil, but so is the American government.”

Yep, you are correct. But that does not bring any comfort to the families who lost loved ones to the “religion of peace.” The wrongs of one’s nation never helps you to cope with your loved one’s murder.


Okay, but you've missed the whole point of the discussion. You certainly don't seem in practice to acknowledge America's evil. It seems to me you're promoting the Christian Right's militant line that we (confusing America and the Church) need to attack Islam with missles and bombs.


You said:

“But I am baffled that so many Christians think there’s any difference between American F-16 or drone pilots pushing a button from 10,000 feet and the guy who straps an explosives vest on. They’re both murderers.”

One targets terrorist leaders and military installations. One targets people on airplanes taking trips to visit families, husbands and fathers working at their cubicles, and children going to school. If you can’t see the difference between the two acts, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree.


Terrorist leaders and installations. These are the Orwellian euphemisms of our statist media. In Iraq and Afghanistan the United States bombs civilians. The 'installations' are often towns and villages.

Oh you don't like their tactic? It's the same one employed by the American colonists during the American Rebellion of '76. The used civilian shields, fought in a cowardly manner by not openly confronting the British.

We call them freedom fighters and patriots, but in Afghanistan and Iraq they're terrorists?

Why do they do crazy things like Beslan and 9/11? Because they're not fighting redcoats with musket and cannon. They're fighting a technological hydra that drives them by necessity to desperate tactics and they know the only way they can get the hydra to quit killing them is to win the propaganda war. The Vietnamese learned this and eventually let the American public do the work for them. It was only when the American public realized that Imperialism was not in their best interests and that patriotism is not supporting foreign wars that the tide began to turn.


You said:

“The threat to the Church of Jesus Christ isn’t the late Shamil Basayev, Bin Laden, Ahmadinejad, or Nancy Pelosi. It’s people like Pat Robertson, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Chuck Colson….they’re destroying souls and syncretizing Americanism with Christianity….. Singing America the Beautiful tomorrow morning during the gathering of the church is spiritually more destructive than anything Al Qaeda can do.”

Now that’s something I can completely agree with. The murderous hordes of Allah can only kill the body, whereas the wolves within the church kill the soul. This is why DefCon is not a political site, but an apologetics one.

If you have not had a chance to read Terror at Beslan, protoprotestant, I recommend you pick it up. Giduck certainly doesn’t take the sympathetic angle that you do in regards to Islam’s reason for targeting innocent civilians, but I think you’d still get much out of it.

- Pilgrim


But you don't. Because in this comment exchange you've argued for the same Americanist religion Colson and Robertson stand for. DefCon is at least in part a political site, because the religion it seems to promote is largely Americanism. When we confuse our culture with the Kingdom, we by necessity introduce a whole host of issues into our theology. So whether it's music, clothes, our attitudes about commerce etc...all these things will be affected by viewing culture as Holy...this is Sacralism. Sacralism conflates culture and government with the Kingdom of God. Yours is milder than others on the site and thus I encourage you to keep digging. Read history not as an American but as a Christian and then you too will see America for the Terrorist Empire that it is.

That said, I can happily live in America, but I will not worship the Beast.


John A.

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