The Islamic State: "We are the Ark."
Suffice it to say, not everyone enjoyed the blockbuster fantasy/drama midrash-as-film by Darren Aronofsky. Some for cinematic reasons. Others for a host of intertwined reasons.
Not the least of the non-enjoying film-goers were certain American evangelicals, for whom the film caused much turmoil with their inner theological and cultural selves. Ironically, as fate would have it, many Christians in the U.S. and elsewhere may be equally troubled and disturbed to find that the biblical narrative of Noah has provided the Islamic State with part of its tortured inspiration.
In a frighteningly informative BBC audio documentary—"Bureaucracy and Brutality"—a former jihadist with Al-Qaeda in the 1990s, and a man with deep, inside knowledge of the so-called Islamic State, talks. Amin Deen offers insight into IS recruitment strategies, financial resources and weapons stockpiles. Deen works, he says, for the British Foreign Office, and he often gathers his intelligence information on the Internet via chat-room debates with a variety of Islamic extremists.
Perhaps more interesting, in the BBC story Deen discusses the ideology and psychopathic behavior behind the Islamic State—ideology and psychopathic behavior that has been, as he puts it, "liberated by religious interpretation." Included in this religious interpretation is an apocalyptic worldview that places IS at the center of a prophesied final fight—beginning, yes, in Syria—for a purified world order.
Enter Noah and his wooden salvation companion.
During an Internet debate with a jurist serving the Islamic State, Deen posed a genuinely provocative question: How can 50,000 Muslims bear the burden and banner of "the righteous" all the while 1 billion Muslims vehemently denounce them? The judge answered with a holy analogy, referencing Noah and proclaiming audaciously, "We are the ark."
In other words, in the Islamic State's otherworldly vision, they are the people who God is using to rescue this wicked ol' earth. When Deen reminded the judge with a global agenda that he—not to mention the Islamic State—was not "God," the judge said, "Yes, but God did it as an example for us to follow."
Which, of course, is absolutely chilling.
But maybe the craziest thing of all is this...
Although the Islamic tradition's theological contribution to the modern ideological emergence of the Islamic State is there for the parsing, the Judeo-Christian tradition (fully unbeknownst to itself) has unwittingly contributed to the deluded inspiration of liberated psychopaths.
*Travel here for the BBC audio documentary "Bureaucracy and Brutality."