Only Those with Beliefs can Defeat those with Beliefs

( [email protected] ) Oct 10, 2003 10:35 AM EDT

As both supporters and opponents of President Bush acknowledge, America is largely going it alone in the war against Islamic terror and tyranny. Until a month ago – yes, one month ago – the European Union would not even label Hamas a terrorist group.

There are many explanations for the lack of support for America in this war, a war of civilizations just as much as the wars against communism and Nazism were wars of civilizations. But the overriding reason is that America has far more believers – in religion and in their country – than any other nation in the industrialized world.

Faith in religion and in America also explains much of the ideological division within America itself. President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Condoleezza Rice are deeply religious, and the vast majority of deeply religious Americans support this administration and its foreign policy.

Of course, some of the president's supporters aren't religious and some of his opponents claim to be religious, but these phenomena can be also explained by the question of faith. Virtually all the non-religious supporters of President Bush's war on the Islamist threat to liberty have a deep faith in the United States and in its mission to preserve liberty. Religion is by no means the only form faith can take. Fervent believers have existed among communists and Nazis. They exist today among animal-rights advocates, environmentalists and countless other ideologies.

But in the modern West, hundreds of millions of people have no such faith in anything. They do not passionately believe in their country or in religion. Their highest values are tolerance, health, pleasure and not judging good and evil. They are deeply afraid of fervent believers in anything. And they especially fear American believers – i.e., believers in the Bible and in America. That is why they commonly equate fundamentalist Christians with fundamentalist Muslims and that is why they so hate George W. Bush, the believer in the biblical God and in an American mission.

As for the religious opponents of the president and his war against Islamic terror, they themselves will tell you that they do not share the true believers' faith. The Christian supporters of the president overwhelmingly believe that the Bible is the word of God, while the religious opponents of the president generally regard the Bible as a human document. Faith is therefore the dividing line even among believers in the same religion. That explains why most Christians who believe in the divinity of Scripture are closer on almost every moral and social position with Jews who believe in the divinity of Scripture than they are with theologically and politically liberal Christians.

We cannot defeat the Islamist threat without the same degree of faith fanatical Muslims have. That is why most Europeans have capitulated to the anti-liberty Muslims in their midst and to the Muslims in the Middle East who seek to annihilate Israel, the state in their midst that venerates liberty.

But in Israel, the Islamists have come upon an enemy many of whose people believe in their religion as deeply as the Islamists do in theirs. This is a major reason Israel is isolated along with America as the Islamists' main enemy. America and Israel have believers. The defeat of one or the other will render the Islamists' goal – a Muslim world governed by Islamic laws – probable, if not inevitable.

That is why this battle is a battle of civilizations. One civilization believes in liberty and one does not. The problem is that the civilization that has liberty has not produced anywhere the depth of belief in liberty that the opponents of liberty have produced. That is why most Europeans (and their supporters in America on the Left) see dying or killing for almost anything as pointless. When you don't believe in anything except not dying, you don't really believe in anything. For this reason, European civilization is in peril.

The great question mark is America. America is already in the midst of a civil war, thankfully still non-violent. It is between those who fervently believe in America and in Judeo-Christian revelation and those who fervently believe in neither.

If the former win, the Islamic totalitarian threat, like the totalitarian threats before it, will be vanquished. If the latter win – as represented by the Left, many Democratic Party leaders, pacifists, the cultural elite and academia – liberty will have been nothing more than an aberration that lasted a few hundred years.

Dennis Prager, one of America's most respected and popular nationally syndicated radio talk-show hosts, is the author of several books and a frequent guest on television shows such as Larry King Live, Politically Incorrect, The Late Late Show on CBS, Rivera Live, The Early Show on CBS, Fox Family Network, The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes.