I watched a movie on Sunday night that made me think. I don't analyze movies a whole lot, I mostly watch them just to get an adrenaline rush and to veg out. (It's odd how a violent war movie can give me both an adrenaline rush and help me veg out at the same time...go figure). Anyway, Windtalkers was on TV and I knew it was a decent war movie because I had seen it before. If you are one of those people who don't like to know the Titanic is going to sink before you see the movie, stop reading now 'cause I'm going to ruin the movie. The super-short plot is the story of Marines during WWII who were assigned to protect "the code" from the enemy. Navajo Indians used their native language to communicate war plans over the radio and the Japanese were unable to break the code. Since it was important that the code not be compromised, the code talkers (i.e. "windtalkers") were assigned guards who were basically assigned the job of killing the code talkers rather than let them be captured by the enemy. Joe Enders, played by Nicholas Cage, was one of the assigned guards. Enders got too close to his Navajo assignment (Ben) and decided to fight to save them both rather than kill Ben when they were surrounded by the enemy. In the end, Ben used the code to call in the air force and both his little group and larger group under attack by the Japanese were saved...but it cost Joe Enders his life.
As I watched Seargent Joe Enders die on the battlefield, I became reflective as I often do at the end of a war movie. When I watch a movie about World War II, I try to imagine what it would have been like to leave everything familiar, your family, perhaps a pregnant wife and to be in the battle for your life day after day. Besides the fighting and missing your loved ones, there were the regular hardships of war (lack of sleep, often lack of good medical care, lack of basic hygiene, etc). To be honest, I cannot imagine that kind of sacrifice. I'm getting too old and am (literally) too flat footed to be drafted, but if called upon to make that kind of sacrifice for my country and my family, I hope that I would step up like so many did for this country in WWII. But as Joe Enders died, I quickly reflected back on what I knew of his life from the movie (as far as I know, he was a fictional character merely representing some who were actually there). Joe talked about being raised Catholic, but he did not knokw much of anything about church tradition. It would be safe to say he was not a practicing Catholic, and it would not appear he was even remotely interested in following Christ. As he was dying, he began to recite Hail Mary. As I pondered his life and his sacrifice, although fictional, I was burdened by the fact that he sacrificed so much for others yet still died and probably went to hell.
All of this caused me to think of real life soldiers who have given their life for this country, and those currently serving risking their lives, willing to make such great sacrifices only to die and wake up to an eternity in hell without Christ. What a tragedy. I thanked God for those who made such great sacrifices for me to live in this free country I take too much for granted. And then I prayed for those putting their lives on the line for our country today...especially those who do not know Christ.
As I sat there thinking about the tragedy of anybody going to hell, especially those who lived through the hell of war, I thought about a lady on the Humanist web site I have been visiting and how much she really despises Christians. Either some Christian has done something that has really hurt her or down deep inside she has serious doubts about her ideology (I image the latter is true, I hope the former is not). I would hardly classify it as "persecution", but she pretty much attacked me personally when I answered their attacks on Christianity. I thought how odd that I would be upset about people going to hell, and somehow the faith that causes me to care upsets this lady so much.
And this led me to yet another paradox. I thought about Christians in China, North Korea, Islamic countries, etc who are tortured and executed for their faith. They care so much about people going to hell that they literally risk their lives in an effort to keep people from going there. Think about it, the soldier torturing these Christians is torturing them for caring that they, the soldier, is going to hell without Christ. "You care about my soul, so let me beat you to death."
I ask my Humanist friends and others who make logic your religion, does that make sense to you? To me, persecution of the Christian church is an evidence that there is a real spiritual world. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12, NLT)