A frequent statement that is made is that “I don’t know how anyone could become a suicide-bomber” or words to that effect. People cannot understand the mentality that would allow someone to blow themselves up, and cause deaths, injury and trauma on a vast scale.
To which I sometimes reply that ever since in 1999 we were assaulted by a double-glazing salesman I have understood how you can get a suicide-bomber. I don’t want this to sound trite, but techniques were used that evening against May Lin and myself which were nothing less than an assault upon us mentally and emotionally. Holding out against the assault was exhausting. This convinced me how techniques can be used to manipulate the mind. The perfecting of such techniques can, no doubt, manipulate someone’s psyche so that suicide-bombing seems “normal”.
When such techniques are mixed in with enticing rewards then the cocktail is incendiary. So the suicide-bomber is promised that 72 libidinous virgins are waiting for him in heaven. And whats’s not to like about that for a young man wanting to indulge the flesh.
Which leads us into a further contribution to the cocktail that is the connection with a so-called God figure through religion. Hence the cry when these heinous acts are committed often includes the name “Allah”. When you are told you are on the side of the ultimate authority figure you are encouraged into thsi madness.
Then there is the honour, Of course, in their communities these people are not called suicide-bombers, but martyrs on jihad and there is the promise of honour which no doubt flows to the family as well. As the Ayatollah Khomeini put it, “The purest joy in Islam is to kill and be killed for Allah.”
This all leaves me pondering that as Christian preachers we should be ever so careful about how we teach and engage with people. We teach the truth. winsomely and engagingly, but we should be relaying upon the Holy Spirit to do the changing. We should emulate Paul who said: we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God (2 Cor. 4:2). We should not be using manipulative techniques. We should faithfully preach the Word and look to God to do the work. When such happens there will be life and blessing