Zero Plus 379
The Apologetics Of Vigilance
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
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
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 granite truths.
Vigilance is a fundamental scientific
formula few, if any detractors, can refute.
To create its universal and historic
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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.
Go To Sep 25--"Cry
Of Life In The Wake Of Death"
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