Saturday, 9 October 2021

The New Crusades

 In the Middle Ages Christians externalised the spiritual war and fought against the Islamic incursions into the Holy Land as well as their own homelands. We can talk about the rights and wrongs of this but the fact remains that several previously Christian areas, such as North Africa, were brought into the Muslim fold at the point of a sword, and Europe itself had to fight to retain its Christian identity. We look at the Crusades in a different way now but in the minds of the participants of the time they were in a spiritual war and the enemy was clearly identified.

There is a spiritual war now. We are in the middle of it. Unfortunately, most people don't realise it and don't see the enemy. Of those who are aware there is some kind of battle in the world going on today, many are diverted away from the true struggle into a fake one whether that be to do with politics, the environment or social concerns. In other words, worldly issues. They waste their energies on matters that really are not that important, and this is a reflection of their own state of consciousness and lack of a true spiritual awareness. Often they are even projecting their own faults out into the world. This is why so many of them seem to be motivated by hatred and resentment.

So there are many battles going on but the real war today is, in St Paul's stirring words, "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." This is the war that every spiritual believer is called upon to fight. It's the one we must fight. We can fight like monks through prayer or like knights dedicated to Christ through action, though in the modern world that action is with pens rather than swords. And not even pens now, of course! But the point is to proclaim the truth as best we can in whatever way we can, through word and through example. And true knights still pray so that aspect of the fight should never be neglected by anyone. God can only really act in this world of men through men calling on him. Ask and you shall receive. You must ask. Prayer is the asking.

Most people have no idea they are in a war. They don't know their enemy and that he can attack them inwardly as well as in the world in general. He can attack them through their own thoughts and even ideas. Therefore, they can be easily led astray and defeated.Those who do know we are in a war have to be very aware that it is conducted in their own minds as well as out there. The dark powers of St Paul's words can and will attack you, probing your weaknesses and playing on these if you let them. This can actually be helpful because when your weaknesses are brought out into the open and exposed you can more effectively deal with them. This is a good example of God turning the devil's weapons against him and using them to his own (God's) advantage. But you have to be attentive and honest with yourself to benefit from the opportunity. If you are not you may succumb.

Unlike before, the new crusades must be fought on two fronts. There is the outer war against the spiritual corruption of the world, whether that be through materialism and atheism and their latest development which is the creeping global totalitarianism with every soul reduced to just a piece of data. The complete quantification of man. And there is the inner war which is the fight against sin in one's own heart and mind. The outer war is clearly hotting up as we are being asked to submit to a kind of branding. It is up to us to resist this even if we don't fully understand why. I'll tell you why. The reason is that we are free beings. God gave us freedom and no one has the right to ask us to give that up which is precisely what the branding is intended to do and doing.


Bruce Charlton said...

"Most people have no idea they are in a war. They don't know their enemy and that he can attack them inwardly as well as in the world in general. He can attack them through their own thoughts and even ideas. Therefore, they can be easily led astray and defeated."


I have rather changed my mind about the crusades, from my earlier stance of regarding them as overall A Good Thing. I think there was indeed good cause for the first crusade, but those following were net evil - and the fourth crusade extremely so (leading to the sack of Christian Constantinople - a terrible event of world history).

The crusades conjure up the picture of two sides of approximately equal strength slugging it out over many years; but our current spiritual war is extremely different because - in worldly terms - there is only one side with organized coercive capability: the side of evil.

But looked at spiritually, this is a great gift. Because we have essentially No Chance of winning a worldly conflict, this closes-off the temptations, deceptions and corruptions of over-emphasizing the worldly and subordinating the spirit (which happened to the crusades).

In other words, we either fight this war spiritually - or else we give-up.

It seems like a majority have given-up (although most are far too dishonest and/or incoherent to acknowledge the fact) but those who have recognized the realities are perhaps being encouraged to focus on the spiritual war, without distraction.

I think even the bare fact of a Christian acknowledging that the war is spiritual and needs to be fought spiritually, is of itself a significant blow against the Enemy.

William Wildblood said...

I do agree with your assessment of the crusades. That's why I said that Christians externalised the spiritual war at the time though it is also true that they were under attack in their own parts of the world by a seemingly unstoppable force.

But I really just used the word as a metaphor for the ongoing spiritual battle which certainly takes a completely different form now. The point is there is (underlined) a spiritual war.

JMSmith said...

I agree with what you write but fear that we modern men find it hard to understand the gravity of a "spiritual war." As I commented last week, many of us equate the word "spiritual" exclusively with sweetness and light. Many of us also presume that spiritual things are less rather than more substantial than things of the flesh. When we offer another man "spiritual support" or say we are with him "in spirit," we generally mean almost nothing at all. When I hear people talk about "spiritual war," they seem to think that this is simply a matter of deciding which side one is on, rather than doing or suffering things for that side. I am myself no Richard the Lionhearted, so I have been and likely still am guilty this Pollyanna thinking. One sobering though I have found is that the enemy does not want to make me a martyr. The enemy believes Jesus's promise to reward those who suffer for his sake more than many of us believe that promise. The enemy wants to make be a child of the Devil by making me a traitor to "my side." This is, of course, grounded in the most sobering thought about this spiritual war, which is that we are actually the Holy Land and not the Crusaders. We may be fighting, but we are more importantly being fought over. The ultimate issue is who shall be our occupying power?

William Wildblood said...

I almost wrote that the modern Jerusalem is actually ourselves or within us at least. so I completely agree with you when you say that we are now the Holy Land and not the Crusaders. If truth be told, it was probably not a good analogy but it came to me and I went with it without thinking too hard about the details. Yes, we can adopt positions for or against the world as it has become and we should, but we must never be distracted from the real battle which is in our own hearts.