As most of you already know, I don’t generally engage in adding more comments to those that are already pouring out about whatever hot-button issue might currently be flooding the airwaves. If virtually every other human being with a keyboard is writing about it, I don’t usually see the need to pile on, but I can’t seem to side-step this one.
For days now, the world has been tuned in to a new kind of ‘reality’ show that may be, as uncharacteristic as it would be to the genre, exactly what the name implies. Since last Wednesday, this particular show has run like an endless circular loop through every TV network’s news department, particularly the cable networks—both the liberal and conservative ones. Ever since two armed gunmen attacked the office of the Charlie Hebdo publishing company in Paris, France, and proceeded to murder 12 of its executives, we have been subjected to a ceaseless stream of ‘alert’ banners, ‘breaking news’ announcements, and crawlers creeping across the bottom of our screens like old fashioned ticker tapes. We’ve been offered detailed descriptions of every step, every stage, and every objective involved in every real and potential scenario remotely associated with the attack and the unfolding manhunt. Explanations of every nuance of every statement made by anyone with a title have been played and re-played. Insignificant details have been explored like they held the key to eliminating global poverty, and then reported with the kind of compelling urgency that might accompany the discovery of a cheap cure for cancer or that had the side effect of restoring sex drives and eliminating baldness.
As always, old and familiar questions once again emerge, and one wonders why they are even asked anymore. There are certainly not accompanied by any reasonable answers. The self-proclaimed repositories of brilliance that permeate our government and that populate the newsrooms of mainstream media have none. They can’t even manage to ask reasonable questions, much less provide any relevant answers. Instead, they invoke somber tones presumptive of philosophical genius and ask profound questions like, “Why can’t we better understand the Muslim point of view?” They intimate suggestions like, ‘Wouldn’t it be helpful if we sent them more humanitarian aid money? Surely they’ll stop wanting to kill us if we send them enough free money.’
I’m not a philosopher, and certainly not a genius, but even I can see that it really comes down to this, radical Muslims kill innocent people because they believe what they believe — end of story. Their victims are targeted for death simply because they believe differently, and that difference in beliefs is perceived by them as a threat worthy of any and every method of lethal brutality. It isn’t a money thing, or a matter of cultural traditions or individual preferences. It isn’t a conflict between those who have better houses, or cars, or electronic toys vs. those who do not have those things. It isn’t about language, skin color, national origin, or ethnic idiosyncrasies. It is about what people believe and/or what they do not believe. That simple and obvious reality is ignored by many in order to placate their blinding and binding sense of political correctness, and it is worse than disingenuous and futile, it is intellectually and spiritually vacuous. The ultimate responsibility for the soulless disregard for life that these terrorists displayed to the world belongs to the killers themselves, but some of it must be shared. Some of it belongs to the ones who successfully manipulated that one part of them that holds the capacity to override everything—their capacity to believe.
The ability to believe is the most powerful personal force that exists in the human condition. It is not the only force that can guide and direct behavior, but it is by far the most powerful. It coordinates with our emotional apparatus and can subjugate even the most basic and fundamental relational behaviors and responses. By controlling their beliefs, normal people can be made to do inconceivable things. Like calmly slicing off an innocent person’s head without the slightest sense of revulsion or regret. Warped beliefs can bring mothers to strap bombs onto their sons and daughters and offer them up to be blown apart in an attempt to kill and maim other innocent people. Because of what they believe, people willingly abandon personal comforts, crush dreams and ambitions, and discard primary relationships like worthless trash. Every tyrant, despot, dictator, and power-mad sociopath in history, beginning with Satan himself, has used that principle to manipulate and enslave others.
Now, in light of that, consider this. The Goochland County (VA) School Board adopted a policy last November that requires that “all (homeschooled) children age 14 and older submit their beliefs in writing to the board for examination.” They could even be summoned to a hearing where the board could grill them on their faith. That this is an overreach beyond comprehension is clear, and what is also frighteningly clear is that this has nothing to do with the quality of the education that these children are receiving. Instead, it has everything to do with the fact that homeschooled children have managed to escape the public school system’s opportunity to influence and manipulate what they believe. That could be problematic for the many proponents and defenders of that godless system who tend to see those who hold beliefs contrary to theirs as potential threats — not a new pattern of thinking, is it?
What we believe is vital. Jesus said that our eternal destiny will be determined solely by what we believe (John 3:14-18). If we ignore its implications, there will not only be ‘hell to pay’ later, but it may also determine the current status of our freedom here and now. If you live in Goochland County, Virginia, I’d suggest that you not ignore this unwarranted intrusion into personal liberty under the guise of education, whether you’re a homeschooler or not. And if you’re not a Goochland resident, isn’t it time to man up and be part of the solution? Your own religious liberties may be the next target.
© 2015 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
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Ron, Your remarks here are applicable to so many of the problems in this world, and yet I had never thought of how all these problems relate to a lack of belief- in the One who created the Earth and all that’s in it. Thank you for your deep insight- as usual.
thanks for noting the alarming situation in Goochland. I appreciate it.