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Thursday, June 08, 2006

'Christian' Love

This afternoon I was greeted with this (sickening) 'Christian' sentiment as I was reading my feeds (from a blog whose ideas I rarely agree with but is usually well written and a good devil's advocate):

Bookworm Room: I'm only sorry it was a 'clean' airstrike that took these evil men down. I can't imagine that one of the bloodiest killers of the 21st Century suffered quite as much as his many victims did. If you go here (although the lines are jammed, so to speak), you can see footage of the airstrike. The President has already issued a statement, which is very polite. I'd have preferred something along the lines of 'we killed that Gosh-danged murderous bastard, and Bin Laden is next on our hit list.'

I can understand feeling glad that a known terrorist can no longer harm innocent people. But this is the part of Christianity that I cannot understand no matter how hard I try. (Note: I am in no way implying that all, or even most Christians would express these kind of sentiments. However I find that those who are most vehement about proclaiming their religion and its supposed superiority at every corner almost invariably express exactly these kinds of thoughts. Case in point: Pat Robertson.) It says very clearly and many times in the Bible, and from the mouth of Jesus (whom all Christians are supposed to emulate - hence calling it Christianity) that love and mercy should be expressed at all times and to all people, including and especially those whom have caused you injury.

  • Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
  • 1 Timothy 1:16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.
  • James 2:12-13 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
  • Matthew 5:43-44 You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
  • Matthew 5:38-40 You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
  • All quotes courtesy of

I, myself, am not a Christian and am not big on the Bible quotes, nor do I normally consider them to make an effective argument. However, one would assume that most Christians know the Bible at least as well as, and hopefully better than, I do. And all Christians profess to follow the teachings and examples of Jesus and to respect the contents of the Bible. My question is this:

Why do so many professed Christians NOT follow, or even consider, the teachings & examples of their own god, and at the same time, try to force everyone else to respect and abide by the very book they so blatantly ignore?

And in response to the comment itself - following through on the suggestion to brutally torture someone whose ideas you don't agree with, in a country where you have no legal jurisdiction, makes you a terrorist as near as I can tell. It is unfortunate that he died. He should have been arrested, fairly tried, and found guilty of his crimes, and given a fitting punishment, within the law. Nothing can ever bring those whose deaths he caused back from the dead - at least a trial would be less likely to turn him into a martyr and incite more violence.


Anonymous Bookworm said...

Eileen: Thanks for saying that my blog is well written, I appreciate that. We all have different points of view, but I think there is a lot more mileage to be had from expressing them well and encouraging debate than from just rabbiting on with gibberish.

Regarding the lack of Christian thinking in my post, that's probably unsurprising given that I'm not Christian. I'm Jewish, although that shouldn't be thought of as an excuse for the rather bloodthirsty nature of my ruminations about Al-Zarqawi's demise. What I mostly am is human, and as a human being I find it bitterly ironic that a man who rejoiced in torturing people before slicing their throats with his bare hands should have died such a surgical death. It seems almost unfair to his victims.

Regarding the Biblical quotations, the Bible has a lot of equally utilitarian ones in the other direction. The one that sprang to my mind was Matthew 26:52: Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

As I understand it, Jesus was not threatening, he was simply issuing a warning about the inevitability of violent death for those who traffic in that kind of thing.

In any event, the Old Testament -- which is more my stomping ground than the new -- is rich with references to making the punishment fit the crime. (See Exodus 21:22, Leviticus 24:17, and Deuteronomy 19:16.)

Anyway, although I think you might have misunderstood "where I was coming from," so to speak, I still appreciate your taking the time, more or less politely, to think about what I was saying.

9:47 AM  

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