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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Death of bin Laden: musings

Osama bin Laden was an evil man. He was dedicated to the destruction of the U. S. Indirectly, he caused the deaths of three or four thousand U. S. citizens. (See here for the Wikipedia article on his beliefs.)

I have a few thoughts on bin Laden's death:

1) I don't believe God takes any pleasure in bin Laden's death. In Ezekiel 33:11, we read this: "Tell them, As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn, turn from your evil ways; for why will you die, house of Israel?" (World English Bible) I don't think that I should take pleasure in it, either.

2) The Bible does seem to indicate that nations have a right to protect their citizens. I believe that we had a right to go after bin Laden. There is a long history of discussion, among Christian thinkers, about the issue of what wars, if any, are just. Not all military action is justifiable, probably including some military action by the United States. Any military action may lead to the death and injury of innocent civilians, and most of them do. They also lead to property destruction and environmental damage.

When the Israelites wanted to go through Edom, under Moses, the Edomites refused them passage, and the Israelites changed direction, rather than go to war. (Numbers 20:14-21) At other times, of course, they did go to war.

3) The United States is a nation blessed by God, with, for example, many natural resources and territory which is difficult to attack by land. There are many Christians in the U. S. But God is not necessarily on the side of the U. S. God sometimes favored other nations against the Israelis, after all. (The U. S. is not some sort of modern-day Israel.) When Joshua, a God-ordained leader, asked the leader of the heavenly hosts if he was on Joshua's side or not, the response was that he was not on either side. (Joshua 5:13-15) The important question is "are we on God's side?" God is not on ours. Joshua, by the way, was on a God-ordained mission, but even in that case, he could not take the approval of God for granted. We shouldn't, either. We have probably taken military actions that were not God-approved, and, perhaps, there are military actions that we should have taken, but didn't.

4) I said above that the Bible seems to indicate that nations can go to war in retaliation for attacks, or to protect weaker nations. It is less clear that individual Christians can retaliate for attacks on their own persons, or to their property, according to Christ, in Matthew 5:38-45. Christians can come to the defense of the weak, and oppose injustice.

Thanks for reading.


Keetha Broyles said...

There is a link on my blog to a post and subsequent discussion in the comments about this that you might like to see. It's in my post titled "Celebrating?? Really???" and the link is "Heath"

Anonymous said...

You're onto something. I find it funny that you mention environmental concerns in war. Reminds me of Deuteronomy 20:19-20

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Keetha. I read your post, and Heath's.

Thanks, superrustyfly. I read your post on the subject, too. Your take was original, and, I believe, on target.

For anyone who sees this, and wants to read superrustyfly's post, it's here: