Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

Thursday, September 25 - Ground Zero Plus 743



September 26, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 379
The Apologetics Of Vigilance

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

       GROUND ZERO, New York City, September 26--Ever argue how high Heaven is?  Or where "exactly" the soul is located?   How about something mundane, like the length of a piece of string?   Or, if a tree falls in the forest, is it heard?   Then there's the great one:  "Is there a God or not?"   Or, who's right--the Democrats or Republicans?  
       Apologetics is all about arguing in defense of your beliefs, or, shoring up the doctrines of your belief systems in the face of furious questions, doubts, attacks.
        Commonly, the word applies to religious defense of doctrine, but, it is not limited solely to the mushy religious arena.   Apologetics can be anyone standing for any cause or purpose.   
        Currently, President Bush is employing apologetics to support his doctrine of eliminating Saddam Hussein.    Saddam Hussein is using apologetics to support his doctrine of refuting democracy and Western influence over his country and the Middle East.  

          Almost everyone uses apologetics to build a wall between themselves and those who question their truths.  It's like homesteading one's mind; it hardens the mush of doubt into the cement of conviction.  Standing strong against others' challenges to your faith or beliefs gives one Courage, Conviction and the ability to take the Right Actions under assault or siege by opposing forces who attempt to mash your treasured convictions into a bloody pulp.  Ultimately, it is a test of faith.
        The Terrorists who flew their planes into the heart of America on Nine Eleven were Apologetics--Terrorism Apologetics to be exact.    Their dogma was destruction of the West, specifically America..    They believed so passionately in their principles they were willing to give their lives for them, and take the lives of thousands of innocent people around them in an act of senseless horror.
        The dictionary definition of apologetics  is: 

a·pol·o·get·ics   Pronunciation Key  (-pl-jtks)
n. (used with a sing. verb)
  1. The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.
  2. Formal argumentation in defense of something, such as a position or system.

       I find myself in the position of an Apologetic almost daily.    I find the polemics of Vigilance about as challenging as arguing the presence God, or convincing the world that Evil and Good co-exist in us all, and the former will overpower the later unless we're careful, diligent, prepared to defend ourselves against its wrath.
       Bell Laboratories just got smacked in the face by false apologetics.  One of its top scientists, 32-year-old Dr. J. Hendrik Schon, created an Enron-like scientific scandal.    He is accused of fabricating research that put him on a Nobel Prize path until the falsity was discovered.  No one "audited" his findings.  When they finally challenged his beliefs and doctrines, he offered flimsy support for them.   The alleged revolution in molecular electronics he was promoting was a sham, about as truthful as the financial statements of WorldCom or Tycor.
        A committee formed to investigate his "facts" found Dr. Schon guilty of scientific fraud in 16 of the 24 "truths" he advocated--that made him a 66.6 percent scientific strike out.  Had he been in baseball, he would have been a hero, for his batting average for the "truth" would have been over .300.   But science isn't as forgiving as baseball.  Exactitude is the key, not averages of it.
     What one proposes as the truth must be duplicable by others.    If it's not--it's just fodder.   Apparently, Dr. Schon's findings were Swiss cheese, riddled with far too many holes to hold any granite truths.
        Vigilance is a fundamental scientific formula few, if any detractors, can refute.  
        To create its universal and historic strength, requires simple addition and subtraction:  Courage minus Fear, plus Conviction minus Intimidation, plus Right Action minus Complacency equals Vigilance.  But what is most simple often becomes the most complicated to accept.
         The idea that Vigilance takes all three elements--Courage, Conviction and Right Action--working in harmony to overpower Terrorism often meets resistance.
        Last night, for example, I was sitting with a friend of my daughter's who was passing by the sidewalk cafe I frequent on 2nd Avenue in the East Village.   She is a social worker and advocates for families of immigrant workers who died at the World Trade Center.  Her clients have little documentation to prove their claims, and usually can't speak the language.  
       In her opinion, she doesn't see Terrorism as a continuing threat we need to worry about it.   "What happened on Nine Eleven was a one-time occurrence," she told me.  "Terrorists aren't after destroying America.   They just wanted to make a point."
       While I would call her attitude Complacent, she would argue mine was OverReactive.  Somewhere between our two poles lies the truth, for the truth never exists at either extreme, but insulates itself between the extremes of the far right and far left of its core, a place called the "Balance Point.".
       I steered the conversation toward the smallpox threat, and asked what her take was on it.   She was familiar with it, but discounted that Terrorists would employ such tactics.   Her point was they weren't after the "destruction of America," but rather seeking only a political statement against the "institution of government" they saw as oppressive toward the Middle East.   I disagreed, believing that "madness" knows no political boundaries, and when brought to a boil, spills over upon anything and anyone in its wake.
      We enjoyed a pleasant, intellectual difference of opinion.    The earth didn't shake under my feet, neither did it under hers.  When she left, we were still friends who had presented different points of view on whether the sky was falling.  To me, it is.  To her, it is not.

       That brought up the big question mark.   Was I OverReacting?   Was I beating a dead horse?   Were there really Spirits of Vigilance who assumed guardianship over our land as Sentinels of Vigilance on Nine Eleven?  Did they keep one hand on the Sword of Vigilance and the other hoisting the Shield of Vigilance? Or, had all those beliefs and convictions  I started out with been buried on the anniversary of Nine Eleven when I walked in the 16-acre pit of what had been once the foundation of the World Trade Center and laid flowers on the gravesite of those who died that day?
       The questions haunted me as I sipped at my cold coffee, its heat evaporated by the cooling winds that signaled summer's end and winter's chilling approach. 
       Sipping the cold coffee, I began to wonder how many people would really take the Pledge of Vigilance.  How many would restate its vows daily?  How many would seek to uproot the Fear, Intimidation and Complacency that find hiding places inside a child's "secret self?"   How many would look in the mirror and concern themselves with their own Terrorisms, and use the Pledge of Vigilance to strike a blow against their own Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies?
        Apologetics is ultimately about one's faith through questioning it.
        I base my beliefs on the history of facts, not the current state of affairs.   Just reading the newspapers each morning, or watching the news on television, reminds me that the world is locked in a battle of Terror that ebbs and floods, but never dies.  The human condition is not without its problems or its opportunities now, in the past, or, ultimately, into the future.   Terrorism will dominate our lives until we take control of its elements--the germs of Fear, the seeds of Intimidation, and the viruses of Complacency.   Each requires our attention, especially in our children, or they will grow, multiply, and render us far more infected than the smallpox virus to future threats that Saddam Hussein represents in current time.

       I think it is good to question one's beliefs.   It either strengthens them or weakens them.   To not question them is to fall into the quagmire of Complacency.  Refusing to face one's beliefs with questions lowers the drawbridge and allows Terrorism to march unchallenged into our Castles of Vigilance.
        Perhaps those of you reading this might take up a pen and pencil and write down ten things you believe in, ranking them from most important to least important.
        Then, next to those beliefs, write a sentence or two justifying that belief to yourself.  
        Which belief is worth giving your life for?  
        Which belief do you believe is the most important to pass on to your children's, children's children?  
        Which belief will bring you the most happiness from the inside out?  
        Which belief will protect your family, and all other families the most from Terrorism's harm, from its threats?

        If you have problems either writing down all ten, or in supporting them, then perhaps it is time for you to consider the Apologetics of Vigilance.   Perhaps it is time to doubt your Complacency.
        The more answers you have to your beliefs, the fewer roads Terrorism can take en route to your doorstep, and to the doorstep of those Loved Ones you care most about.      

Sep 24--What Warriors Of Vigilance Pray To & For

©2001 - 2004,, All rights reserved -  a ((HYYPE)) design