Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
September 25 - Ground Zero Plus 743
FROM THE ARCHIVES
26, 2002—Ground Zero
The Apologetics Of Vigilance
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
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
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
The dictionary definition of apologetics is:
n. (used with a sing. verb)
- The branch of theology that is concerned with
defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.
- 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
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
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
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
Apologetics is ultimately about one's faith through
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
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
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.