I wonder if a similar disillusionment might help explain why hundreds of the finest young men of Europe were willing to engage in the madness of the Crusades in the face of the overwhelming power of Islamic civilization?
Could it be that the Arab suicide bombers in our day are not really enamored of Islamic theology? Is their willingness to die the expression of a deep sad disappointment with the Arab world in the face of American might? Osama bin Laden was banished from Saudi Arabia for his opposition to what was going on in his own Royal family.
It is the people who recruit the suicide bombers, and finance their operations from behind the scenes, who view western civilization (based on Judeo-Christian democratic values) as a threat to their status and power structure.
How do we relate to this paradoxical situation? On the one hand we expect
our government to deal wisely and justly with threats to our safety. Having
some who know Arabic and understand the Arab mind would help. But as Christians
we also render to God what is God's. And that requires a prayer conversation
with our loving God. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit long for
every person to have heart healing and hope for this life and the next.
That is why we love enemies. And my personal observation is that where
Christian congregations flourish and teach in a country there is hope that
effects huge political change.