The first thing taught in good survival courses is situational awareness. The goal is to not ever find yourself in a survival situation—being aware of impending threat and then acting to avoid it.
“Shout out, ‘Stop’,” our concealed carry instructor told us. “You want to stop the potential assailant before he gets close enough to force you to draw your weapon.”
Part of the burden of carrying a concealed weapon is knowing that any use of that weapon is likely to be a bad thing. It might save your life, but it will change your life in bad ways. Any self-defense shooting is going to lead to involvement of the police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and, most likely, law suits. Even when proven innocent, you are likely to become a poorer man. The best way to survive such an event is not to be in the even to begin with. If you can stop an approaching person, do so. If you can run, run. Better yet, don’t put yourself into the situation to begin with. Don’t travel into certain areas and travel only during the wiser hours of the day. When you see a potential assailant coming your way, cross over to other side of the street.
Situational awareness becomes more challenging in a house of mirrors. Distortion surrounds you. Optical physics can no longer be trusted. That person that appears only a few feet away may actually be at quite a distance. Trying to make sense in such a environment requires that you know, first of all, that you are standing in a house of illusion and delusion.
A few years back the US passed laws making the use of propaganda by the government against the US population legal. Not that it hasn’t been around for eons. It’s been used as part of the spycraft industry for as long as their have been spies and governments. The US has a long history of employing passive and active propaganda. OK, using the word “passive” for any propaganda is a stretch. But I refer to the simply publication of lies meant to influence a target audience, as opposed to actively engaging in the formation of dissident groups, funding opposition groups, and assassinating people, all of which I am labeling as “active.”
An example of very effective passive propaganda is the use of the media to create support for US involvement in World War I. We were a different population, then, in that we didn’t delight in the idea of involving US troops in every foreign war that popped up. Major corporatists, bankers, and political leaders had a solution. Through their ownership of the media itself, they were able to create facts out of thin air, specifically, that the Germans were committing atrocities against Belgian citizens. Ripping open the wombs of pregnant mothers. Chopping off the hands of children. The result was the creation of the dirty Hun. And the only proper response of a good people was to rise to their defense.
A more recent example is the Gulf of Tonkin incident used by President Johnson to justify increased US military response in Viet Nam. Lies were told. American responded. Or the direct cooperation of the US media in reporting news fed to them by the CIA, as documented in Senate hearings in the 1970’s. It isn’t something new or unusual. Add to the list weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Russian troops invading Ukraine, or a nuclear bomb in Iran.
Active involvement has likewise been around and has become common place. Whether it’s the funding and training of moderate Muslim groups or the outright purchase of rebellion in Ukraine. Of course it is rarely admitted to. And when it is exposed, it’s always couched as national defense. But when laws are passed to make it perfectly legal and official policy to carry out such things on American soil, we should all take note.
Few have taken not, or cared. The voluminous legislation that has gone through Congress since 9/11, most of which is never read by the Congressman who pass it, has established a truth that we would be wise to accept—we can’t take anything reported by the media or said by the government to be true. We aren’t talking about the consent barrage of lies told by politicians. No, this is carefully planned and carried out events designed to change the way that you and I think and respond.
It ought to bother us. It bothers people on the left when rich conservatives fund ideological movements. It bothers people on the right when wealthy liberals fund protests. But when the government and the oligarchs that own them carry out such things, something different occurs. Some of us deny it is happening. Perhaps we just can’t accept that we live in such a world. Or we assign it some other value in our lives, perhaps hoping that it is being done for good. But how are lies ever good? When did deception, much less the creation and carrying out of false events become acceptable?
Perhaps it says more about us than the people that rule us. That we aren’t the brave and free men that we believe ourselves to be.
For politically-motivated Christians, ever reluctant to think ill of their rulers, it exposes a terrible naïveté. Or perhaps a very poor understanding of the Bible. We are lacking in situational awareness. We don’t know our enemy. Nor his tactics. And we don’t realize the distinction between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Man. We are confused to our enemies, and to the actual field of battle.
Satan is not called the Father of lIes for no reason. He is the master of deception. Extremely adept at pulling the wool over our eyes. We don’t need much help, already being a fallen race. Lies about ourselves and the world around us are generally more palatable and comfortable than dealing with truth. We would like to think of ourselves a basically good men, admitting to some flaws, rather than see ourselves as the steaming pile of moral excrement that the Bible describes us as being. Our sins are not so sinful when we think of them in terms of mistakes or errors in judgment, or see ourselves as the product of a bad childhood rather than the rebellious creatures that we are.
Likewise, we project those same lies onto the world around us. Since we are not basically or totally evil, the institutions that we create must not be basically or totally evil. Well, except for those that we don’t happen to agree with. Conservative Christians have no problem labeling sexual sin as evil, when it occurs in the type that accompanies the homosexual activist movement. Our own lustful thoughts and behaviors are relegated to much lessor sins. But those institutions that we find ourselves more in agreement with are never seen as being subject to the sinful natures of the men that make them up. Thus, the increasingly bellicosity of the GOP doesn’t ruffle a feather. If they are seeking some new war, it can’t be due to the fact that they are being funded by the industrial-defense complex. They must be truly concerned about our well-being. They are basically good men, at least some of them . . .
Keep in mind that when government sanctions official lies and deception, it comes from all sides. Is deception good and honorable if it comes from the GOP members of the national security councils and groups and not when it is sponsored by others?
Know your enemy is the old adage. Our enemy is the Great Liar. But we need to also distinguish which battles ought to draw our attention. The grand lie overlying the smaller lies is that our battle is in the Kingdom of Man. The ruse is to draw the attention of the Christian to the world. The threat of communism. The growth of militant Islam and it’s war on the West. Rising crime and social disorder. The attack on marriage.
Amongst military tactics and strategies, diversion is an age-old technique. Create the impression that the enemy is attacking elsewhere, to draw forces to a false fight. The real target is then left weakly defended. When Christian leaders are drawn away from the pulpit and into the political sphere, they are effectively weakened and diverted. When humanism invades biblical theology, the same occurs. And when the congregations of churches can be diverted into social and government efforts, the solider is diverted and weakened. His money and time goes to para-church ministries aimed at changing society, electing leaders with Christian values, or in restoring prayer to the public schools.
Evidently, it’s an effective tactic. As the potential cast of the next Presidential Reality Show line up and begin to compete, they display remarkable skills at capturing the support of Christian voters. By calling for the spread of the Gospel? By no means. But by appealing to fears and enemies in the present world. They all spew the same—more war. More government, of the right type, of course. Less taxes. Justifying the NSA. Justifying the War on Drugs. A harsher response to social unrest.
It’s clear that the target group—Christian voters—is confused. Walking in this kingdom. Seeing their enemies as other men. All the while obscuring the real enemy and his intent.
As the great Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu, advised, know your enemy. Satan has one overarching desire—to thwart the Kingdom of God. The Church. And he well knows the mission of the church—to spread the Gospel and make disciples. At times he makes a direct attack, as when governments and societies directly persecute Christians or move to block the Gospel. It may be as broad as banning preaching, or as direct and violent as the lopping off of heads. But he’s equally if not better adept at using other tactics. Particularly the age-old tactic of diversion.
All of us would do well to know the ways of our enemy. He is using the government and media to deceive. But don’t make the error of thinking that it is the tactic that is the enemy. Surely we should be concerned about and speak out against such lies. But it is not the real enemy or problem, so it should not be our primary concern. The real enemy is sin and evil.
There is only one effective set of strategies and tactics that can be and will be successfully deployed against Satan and his minions—the Gospel that saves men. And God has graciously given us the manual of operating instructions, the Bible. It is as we recognize that we are fighting a spiritual war and properly equip ourselves that we will find the only effective defense.
As Paul wrote, in Ephesians 6:10-18:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.