The tragic life of Jake Bilardi


~ Early this morning I read an article chronicling the suicide death of Jake Bilardi, an 18 year old Australian who, after buying a one-way ticket to Turkey, joined ISIS and committed a suicide bombing mission for that evil militant group.

Bilardi’s life is tragic on many different counts; it is awful that he willingly killed others via his suicide mission of death, it is tragic that he bought into the lies that ISIS and other extremist Islamist groups fed him, and it is an utter shame that Bilardi, and others like him, have become so disenfranchised from Western Culture that they willingly blow themselves up in their hatred of the West.

What is so bad about Western Society that is driving young adults toward such violent extremism? For more than two years I have been writing about Western Culture, chronicling the good, the bad, and the ugly, but at no time in my life have I thought it was so bad that I needed to blow myself up in protest.

The reality of the situation is that Jake Bilardi is representative of many young adults. While the majority of young people are not being driven to the extreme of joining a militant extremist group, the history of Western Culture has always involved people being swayed by cults, religions that brainwash, and altogether innocent looking groups that end up robbing people of their money and dignity.

Televangelists have preyed upon the discontent of people in Western Society for a LONG time. “Send me your money and you’ll have a much better life” they promise their victims. Politicians prey on the masses by spewing out rhetoric like “the audacity of hope” or “We need another Reagan” and before you know, conservative and liberal constituents have suddenly been drawn into the lies and propaganda of their politicians. Local pastors and religious leaders prey on the populace when they promise their congregants a better life if they come and hear a sermon every Sunday and drop their tithe in the collection plate.

A LOT of people want to be top dog. They want followers. They want followers that they can lead and direct and order around. Whether its a politician, the owner of a corporation, a local minister, or the leader of a militant group; there is a fundamental drive in human nature that leads people to wanting power, rather than wanting to serve.

You see, serving others is much more difficult and self-depreciating then being the top dog. Serving others in a spirit of charity involves an entire paradigm shift in our thinking. For Jake Bilardi, it was easier for him to travel to the other side of the world, join a radical fringe group, and blow himself up, then to grasp onto the principle of serving others as Jesus demonstrated with his life.

In Bilardi’s online journal, he suggests that it was the injustice that people in the Middle East experienced at the hands of Western powers which led him to joining their cause. And to Bilardi and others I say, “BULL SHIT”. Because when I see people who are suffering from injustice, my immediate response is NOT to blow myself up!!!! My immediate response is to reach out and serve them;

—) To clothe the naked

—) Feed the hungry

—) Cry with the mourning

—) And to be a friend to those without friends

No, it is not injustice that spurs on the Jake Bilardi’s of this world, it is a misplaced understanding of what it means to live a life of significance. We have been taught by our leaders (pastors, politicians, managers, and bosses) that significance has to do with being in charge or being at the top. Significance, we are taught, is about standing before a bunch of people and having them listen to us speak or preach. Western Culture applauds men like Steve Jobs or Billy Graham who stand before large crowds and speak at them, and too many people buy into the lie that personal significance comes when people notice us.

I would argue that significance has nothing to do with whether or not people notice us. Jesus said it is actually our good deeds done in secret that are a million times more precious than all the things we do when we are in the limelight, and I agree with him.

The life of Jake Bilardi is tragic, and I fear he is merely another example of Western Culture’s faulty philosophy.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,


Categories: Culture & Society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. I completely agree. 100%. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and views with the world…..and me.

  2. Amen! Good to see someone courageous to blog the truth on this matter. I am fed up with Westerners fleeing to join this evil mob and getting brainwashed all the more, once there. One way ticket is pretty much the only kind of ticket once you join ISIS, I’m guessing…

  3. So as much as I believe these people are crazy, I can understand the jump in thought. Do I pull back from that? Of course! I’m reasonable! But if I was pushed away from reason for a while because of something, I could make the leap in thought and end up doing exactly what they are doing…

  4. So depressing to read and hear about the rise and spread of ISIS and the other fanatical Islamist groups. What is incomprehensible to me is why young people from the West join with them, as did that guy from Australia. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the issue.

  5. Very sad and such a waste of a life. These extremist groups are truly evil, but as history has shown, evil groups attract rabid followers. Hard to believe anyone in the West could feel so disenfranchised and hopeless as to join forces with a group so bent on hate, destruction and violent deaths.

  6. Each and every on of us can easily be mislead when we stop investing into our personal relationships with God, our Heavenly Father, and people around, thankfully the internet by now globally around, and we cease to invest into ourselves in finding the harmony, unity and therefore prosperity between our mind and body centered in our consciousness.

    PS: I truly appreciate your thoughts. I rather read them, than any other propaganda (PR).

    Be Blessed and Be Blessings to Others!

  7. Understanding what motivates people to join ISIS is a tremendous problem if we assume the narrative so many of us impose on it – that it is about politics and social disenfranchisement and Western imperialism and so on – is true. It’s not. But if we accept that narrative, we cannot understand what is going on and so we cannot respond appropriately.

    If we listen to these people and are willing to hear what they say, then we will quickly realize that the narrative is obviously and spectacularly wrong. Drop the assumption that it’s right and only then can we begin to listen and hear.

    You say, “he bought into the lies that ISIS and other extremist Islamist groups fed him, and it is an utter shame that Bilardi, and others like him, have become so disenfranchised from Western Culture that they willingly blow themselves up in their hatred of the West.”

    This is the narrative in a nut shell. It’s not true.

    What is true is that “ISIS has hijacked secular sources of power and grievance, and is using them for religious ends—ends that are, at least among some supporters, sincere and carefully thought through. They include a belief in the imminent fulfillment of prophecy, with the group in a key role.” (source)

    This is a religious movement. It is a sophisticated religious movement. It is an effective religious movement. It is a call to all muslims to obey the koran and come live in the caliphate that Mohammed himself tells us to do. That’s why ISIS needs territory and is not an exporter of ‘terror’ in the way of al-queda – even though both are ideologically based on Wahhabism. That’s why the call affects muslims globally. They are trying to obey their prophet’s call to serve god and obey god’s command to live in the caliphate.

    This movement isn’t about hate; it’s about obeying god. It isn’t about the West, western culture, western politics, western economies, western morals, western lifestyles. That narcissistic narrative is factually wrong. ISIS is about establishing THE caliphate and living and dying and being part of it under god’s divine but righteous sharia law… a law strictly adhered to and applied by the pious, by the REAL muslims.

    This is not extremism. This is Islam 101. The perfect word of god. The only way to live. The only way not to be an apostate. According to this way of thinking, ISIS is not a ‘radical’ ideology. It is religiously pure. This is the only path to fundamental obedience to god according to the koran. Don’t believe me? Fine. Good. Go read the koran yourself. Supporting ISIS is not a mystery. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s not ‘few bad apples’. It is a drawing card to submitting to the will of god and doing so with a loving heart in a community of righteous people.

    Until more people can wrap their heads around that THIS is what what motivates people to join ISIS – belief in god and a willingness to submit to divine authority under sharia law – we will not address it properly and many people will continue to be surprised at how many otherwise ‘good’ people will gladly do what they can to go join this Islamic family called ISIS.

    It’s time – past time – to wake up.

    • You and I oft do not agree but on this I say you are correct. I have not read the entire Koran but I have read some and I have read where it states that I deserve death though I guess I also deserve a chance to convert then death if not

  8. Writing truth takes courage and I want to thank you for that. I hope and pray that these young adults will find a way to serve others for good and not become servants for misguided evil groups.
    blogging 101-following

  9. Leading a life of significance through service does indeed not fill you with the despair, anger, and hate that individuals such as Jake Bilardi seem to have succumbed to. I guess an important question then becomes, how can everyone be empowered and have the tools needed to lead a life of significance through service on a daily basis? That they don’t need someone telling them what to do, but are able to get up and do something? Great post, as always 🙂

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