Number Fifty-One

Tealiberasophoterianistic Perspectives

More on Terrorism

with 12 comments

Posted by Joey Phillips:

Briefly, while we are on the topic of terrorism, I wanted to talk about how a Christian should respond to the killing of Usama bin Laden (Jason, he really is dead right?). There was an outbreak of joy in America at the news of his death. There were immediately people taking to the streets in celebration. Social media exploded with triumphant quips, congratulatory comments, and celebratory exclamations from Christian and non-Christian alike. There were a few, however, who drew attention by criticizing the celebrations and triumphal comments. The implication being that celebrating someone’s death is wrong.

David Sirota at salon.com condemned the popular react, as did a couple columnists for the Washington Post (Petula Dvorak and Courtland Milloy). Katy Perry (she is a pop singer, Alex) said she was unsure about the whole thing. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers running back, asked what kind of person could celebrate death…etc.

Is it ok for a Christian, who is supposed to love his enemies, to celebrate the demise of an enemy?

I think the answer is easy. Yes….and no. Let me explain. Scripture seems to indicate that it is ok to rejoice at the demise of the wicked. Proverbs 11:10 says that “when the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish there are shouts of joy.” Proverbs 21:15 says “when justice is done it brings joy to the righteous but terror to the evildoers.” The Israelites would certainly rejoice when they defeated their enemies in battle. It doesn’t seem to me that you can argue that it is immoral to rejoice at the demise of an evildoer. When Hitler died I don’t think anyone would begrudge the Allies a little celebration. So on one hand, yes it is ok.

On the other hand it says in Ezekiel that God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, but would rather they turn from their evil ways. Jesus says to love our enemies. Is this a contradiction? I don’t think so. I think that there is a difference between rejoicing that evil has been defeated, that justice has been done…and taking pleasure in the destruction of an individual. This can seem like a distinction without a difference in the case of Usama, or any individual evildoer who is killed. But there is one. It’s the difference between someone who is thrilled that Usama is no longer a threat, that our military achieved a victory that helps defeat a crafty foe, and is relieved we don’t have to worry about attacks from him anymore…and someone who says “haha rot in hell you $%$&#^$^#*^*$%&#&$.” The first person is legitimately celebrating justice over evil, and the second is self-righteously ignoring the fact that they deserve to rot in hell as well, and are taking pleasure in the destruction of an individual, which is contrary to Christian ethics.

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Written by Jake Phillips

May 26, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

12 Responses

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  1. Yes, he is dead. I don’t necessarily believe all those conspiracy theories; I just like a good debate and take up a side to make it interesting. It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds. Nice post, and I agree with you here.

    Although, I would like to know why Jake was enrolled in a Strategic Weapons and Warfare class. Was that in the US or overseas? The public deserves to see a copy of the long-form class certificate (for verification purposes, you understand).

    Jason

    May 26, 2011 at 3:48 pm

  2. “It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds.”

    You’re no daisy.

    And yes there is nothing better than a good debate…well, almost nothing.

    Joey

    May 26, 2011 at 4:51 pm

  3. Well said.

    Jesse Phillips

    May 26, 2011 at 4:52 pm

  4. I am quite amused that my sons are now using a blog to argue with one another. Does this mean you won’t argue so much in front of me? 🙂

    I love that you guys enjoy the debate. Especially about things that matter, rather than who stole that last cookie.

    Sheree

    May 26, 2011 at 5:17 pm

  5. Very well said – and to the point!

    Sue

    May 26, 2011 at 8:26 pm

  6. Why not celebrate? After all, Bin Laden was a Muslim terrorist, an infidel. And the Bible is pretty clear, all those infidels who refuse to seek the Lord must die:

    2 Chronicles 15:13:
    “anyone who refused to seek the Lord, the God of Israel, would be put to death—whether young or old, man or woman.

    Exodus 22:20:
    “He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.”

    Ellen

    May 26, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    • Ellen,

      I would respond if I thought you were interested in dialogue, rather than just bashing Christianity. I would point out that both verses you cherry picked without looking at the context don’t even refer to “infidels” but in fact are both having to do with God’s own chosen people, the Israelites (the Chronicles verse being a oath the Israelites were swearing to God, knowing full well they were all in agreement to follow God, so the comment about those who refused would be put to death was simply the strongest symbolic language they could find to express that they were going to seek God)…but it wouldn’t matter to you I don’t think. Understanding the bible doesn’t seem to interest you. I think you will find that there won’t be much fruitful discussion on this site for you given that position.

      Feel free to continue to jump in, but I just don’t want you expecting that we will respond to your comments regularly.

      Joey

      May 27, 2011 at 4:04 am

  7. Oh, so the words “put to death” and “utterly destroyed” are just symbolic and the bible doesn’t really mean what it says? OK, I get it. Let’s hope the teabaggers who protest and burn the Koran have a similarly apologist view of that book, although we know that is not the case.

    BTW… I suppose those verses about kiling gays, virgins, babies, are also ‘symbolic.’ We wouldn’t want non-believers to get the wrong impression. (Leviticus 20:13, Deuteronomy 22:20-21, Psalm 137:9)

    Ellen

    May 27, 2011 at 6:19 pm

  8. Like I said, neither verse you mentioned origianlly was in reference to infidels, so they didn’t support your position. The separate issue you are bringing up is whether God has the right over his creation, whether it is just for him ever destroy his own creation. I would argue (as does the Bible) that he does have that right, and exercise’s it justly and many times mercifully withholds judgment. Anyways this is a big topic worthy of serious discussion, which is why I said I didn’t think it was something I would try to get into with you.

    Joey

    May 27, 2011 at 7:38 pm

  9. Infidel:
    1) one who has no religious beliefs,
    2 )one who doubts or rejects the central tenets of a particular religion.

    “anyone who refused to seek the Lord…” = infidel
    “He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only…” = infidel

    You can play games with semantics and interpretations all you want, but it doesn’t change the meaning.

    Ellen

    May 27, 2011 at 9:53 pm

  10. Very good peice Joey. Sheree —the stealing of cookies is a very important topic of debate and discussion since stealing is morally wrong and cookies, especially those of the homemade type, are worthy of being stolen leading us into an even deeper moral dilemma which should be throughly debated. 😉

    john stemberger

    May 28, 2011 at 11:57 am


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