When one decides another fellow is his implacable foe, what happens next may not be as important as what happens eventually. Granted, the victim (and both sides are often victimized as one, along with collateral damage) must survive the initial onslaught and conserve as much of his defensive position as possible, if he is to hold any hope of "the eventual." His survival may depend on his ability to go on the offensive as soon as possible. The survival of others held behind the lines of the aggressors may also depend on his offensive capability; consider the persons suffering under the Nazi holocaust of WWII.
History, usually forsaken and often forgotten, demonstrates this; no one has such immense power that others will forgo the opportunity to attack him. Power usually begets riches. The ones without either surely want both and only await their opportunity to lessen the mighty power of the behemoth in order to collect his riches.
If defensive capability and retaliatory power are not guarantee of protection, what is there in life to defend the common man? By the common man, I mean the fellow who wishes to live in peace as much as he can, to grind out a trade and love a family. What protects him from the mighty in his own sphere, or the aggressors against him?
I ask this today because the alleged Times Square bomber entered a guilty plea in the federal court in New York the other day. He proclaimed himself a Muslim warrior and insisted he would remain a warrior until America gets out of Iraq and Afghanistan, stops drone attacks in Pakistan and ceases its policy of harassing Muslims around the world. Apparently, he gets to define when America has done enough to satisfy him and those like him. Then, he will stop trying to set off bombs in Times Square.
I am not sanguine about our ability to redress his grievance successfully.
After all, hating someone, making impossible demands, recruiting fellow soldiers and practicing violence of whatever form against one's foes is more emotionally satisfying for the deranged than living a common life (see above).
What do you do, immediately, and eventually, when someone identifies himself as your implacable foe? Well, you arrest him, you furnish him with counsel, you treat him with deference he did not extend to you and then you try him in your courts, for it is your laws he may have broken.
That is, you let the system work, you refuse to overreact, you watch others influenced by his influencers very carefully, and you try not to get warped. What happens when once we view someone as our implacable enemy? Who gets warped, emotionally and spiritually? Can you ever change your mind about your enemy? Can he ever change his mind about you? Can you ever be anything else to him? Can he ever be anything else to you?
I virtually quit going to meetings of religious conventions, associations, et al, (yes, I know, when I quit, I did not lose much and they did not lose anything; move on) when it became plain to me there would be little or not forward movement, away from the disasters post-1979. Every meeting took up a hopeful theme but soon retreated into more of the same; anger against the ancient atrocity, turf protection by the elite, mental inferiors fed, promoted and given the microphone, rank and file contributors first ignored and then humiliated.
After a time, it became impossible to know friend from foe. This is the immediate result of overreaction to naked aggression. When we cannot tell one from the other whole world gets skewed.
I started this blog by positing one thought. When one becomes your foe, does the eventual outcome matter as much as the immediate disposition? If a man becomes your foe, can he ever be other? Granted that every person looks first on his own best interests, is there any ground for meeting around the greater good?
Possibly, for geo-political matters around the world (and for religious quarrels at home) the political answer is more available/energetic in rapprochement than the religious/spiritual, for the simple reason that a fellow may give up some of his goods to stop the bombs but he will not surrender his religion for anything, regardless. The end, then, is this; the jihadist and the infidel have to meet in some venue other than under the mosque and the steeple. In this case, Islam versus America, we might remember the favorable emphasis in the Koran for the merchant. Mohammed was a merchant. Perhaps we can meet politically or commercially, so to find a way through the morass of quasi-spirituality, the worst kind of religion, where haters use sacred images to divert the attention of the common fellow (see above) from what he really wants.
Opinions expressed here are mine alone. They are not those of any church, person or organization.