I’ve often been asked what the world might look like if God had never provided His Manufacturer’s Manual. The answer is that without a Scriptural system of values and the blueprint of government that Scripture provides, we’d live in a world of unrestrained barbarism. Or as Thomas Hobbes put it in his 1651 book Leviathan, life would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
Or, to put it simply and truthfully, we’d live in a world governed by Hamas.
We’re into week two of the war between Israel and the terror organization Hamas. From pictures and videos that the terrorists were proud to publish, I saw that in addition to the cold-blooded, sadistic massacre of civilians, they also engaged in wanton destruction of trees, animals, houses, and farming equipment.
This reminded me of what the same people did when Israel handed Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005. Included in the transfer to the Moslems were acres of high-tech greenhouses from which a year-round profitable export trade to Europe of fruit and flowers flowed. In what appeared to be a mindless orgy of ecstatic destruction, the Gazans utterly obliterated what the Israelis had carefully constructed over many years.
And who were they hurting by shattering a million panes of special glass and miles of irrigation piping? Themselves. In a terribly ill-advised land-for-peace deal, Israel relinquished all rights to the Gazan greenhouse agricultural empire they had built. Civilized people assumed that Gaza would assume control of the export trade to Europe. They didn’t do so. Instead, they shattered the greenhouses and destroyed vast infrastructure.
For those of us who remember World War 2, the Gazan shattering of glass was, of course, an echo of another glass-shattering night, November 9th, 1938. Kristal Nacht, crystal night, thus called because of the shattering of the windows of thousands of Jewish homes and stores across Germany. Yet another instance of barbarism.
I remember the wanton destruction in so many American cities during the summer of 2020. Night after night we watched “protestors” (there’s an Orwellian word to normalize thuggery and barbarism) throw bricks through windows, set fire to buildings and vehicles, and tear up sidewalks while mainstream media collaborated by describing this all as “mostly peaceful protests.”
Barbarians love destroying things. That is an unmistakable characteristic of brave barbarians. Cowardly barbarians on university campuses and in media newsrooms merely applaud the activities of brave barbarians.
This is especially hard to understand if you are a civilized person raised by civilized parents. You are too many generations removed from barbarism to relate easily to the destructive instinct. Yes, instinct. It is perhaps best seen in a two-year old toddler left alone with some toy cars and wooden blocks.
One of the best ways for civilized people to understand their darker instincts is to note what activities God directs or prohibits in the Torah. Our instincts are frequently the opposite of God’s direction. For example, we are commanded to honor our parents. This informs us that our instinct is the reverse. Sure enough, we remember that all our friends had parents who were reasonable and accommodating and easily worthy of respect. Our own parents, however, were distinctly lacking in those fine qualities. Yes, it does take extra effort to honor our own parents. The Fifth Commandment reminds us that not loving and honoring those closest to us is one of our darker instincts.
The Torah contains a law against destroying trees. (Deuteronomy 20:19-20) Ancient Jewish wisdom explains how the wording includes prohibitions against all acts of wanton destruction. We see therefore that a desire to destroy for its own sake, is one of our darker instincts.
The giant chasm that cuts through the culture in many parts of the world today separates those who want to live in Civilization from those, who, incensed by civilization being a reflection of a Biblical worldview, devote themselves to its destruction. This includes many in the Islamic world who, for many centuries, have been engaged in a war, a jihad, to supplant the Judeo-Christian value system that seeded Europe and the West. Obviously, Israel and America are prime targets.
But the promoters of barbarism are also found among faculty and staff of Western universities, among politicians of the Left, and among activists of Black Lives Matter, who joyously encouraged the wanton destruction of the summer of 2020.
October 7, 2023, has brought us to a time of decision. We have arrived at a point today where support for Israel is a reliable barometer of whether people stand for barbarism or civilization. Those supporting Hamas are promoting a barbaric world of satanic evil, and those supporting Israel in its existential struggle are driven by a civilized vision of an uplifted humanity.
What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this Thought Tools post.
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Clash of Destiny
The events in Israel over the past several days make it absolutely clear that we are witnessing the latest in a long line of bloody battles between barbarism and civilization. If you have not listened to Clash of Destiny: Decoding the Secrets of Israel and Islam, we suggest that you do. This fight is not new and the Bible, from Genesis through the Book of Esther, sheds light on what is happening.