Referring again to the Prophet’s distinction between the lesser and greater wars, we will say that in order to appraise war as advantageous for spiritual development, it is necessary that it emphasize to a maximum this same teaching. If we say that modern warfare does not present the same opportunities for heroism as traditional war, this is first and foremost because only the lesser war is acknowledged.
We should pause here to say that fighting for freedom or democracy or equality, whatever the value these ideas may hold in practice, is not the same as fighting for sacred purpose. These values are pseudo-religious values that have risen to prominence (and could only have done so) in the absence of a religious climate, and they are not adequate replacements. None of them are transcendent and none can serve as a support for the heroism that we have in mind.
Any time the spiritual component is excluded from the affair, the Greater War, which is the only justification for seeking it out, no matter one’s vocation, recedes further into the distance.
We do not wish to say, here or anywhere, that no contemporary soldier could utilize his circumstances or his vocation to realize the hero in himself, and that it is all for naught; we only wish to repeat our constant warning, which pertains to the dangers of the confused nature of the modern worldview, and to be honest about the difficulties presented in the modern context. It is possible to pursue the greater holy war on one’s own effort, but this is not desirable and is for the most part a serious handicap in practice.