Some idiot, and the idiot is me, set my alarm clock to the sound of a duck. I guess I thought that, due to my propensity to sleep through tornado sirens, an odd sounding alarm would do the trick… and what better than the joyful sound of a duck. That’s a rhetorical question, for I now have a list of sounds that would in fact be better to wake up to than a duck, and dying cats is one of them. BUT, the important point is that it did indeed do the trick, and I woke up on time. It also made me spend my entire drive to work fantasizing about the various ways in which a duck can be killed. I came up with hundreds during my 20 minute drive, people. Hundreds. And I got creative.
The above serves absolutely no purpose other than to a) creep you out, and b) show you what kind of mood I was in while getting ready this morning and reading Facebook posts and tweets. Everyone has an opinion about the ISIS controversy, and now I have foundation on my pants after reading a post and dropping my bottle in utter shock of the stupidity. (SIDE NOTE: Due to my lack of energy, we’ll blame it on ducks, I didn’t change my pants.) The person that made the comments on this particular status – which was simply one of many people making similar comments & posts – has no idea what his ignorance made me do, nor that my extra cup of coffee this morning was named after him. Seriously, I wrote his name on my McDonalds coffee cup. You’re welcome, Sir. Petty? Yes. But I was tired, and now have to work off an extra cup of coffee containing copious amounts of sugar and cream, as well as remove a foundation stain, because of this particular person. And of course ducks. Can’t forget about the ducks.
“Why is the name —– on your coffee cup?”
“Oh, curious coworker, let me tell you.”
Ok, so this particular person took to Facebook to attack fellow Christians for wanting to take out ISIS. After thoroughly mocking those who want to stop ISIS from beheading human beings, he quoted this set of verses.
“38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:38-48
First I’d like to point out that it’s a bit difficult to turn the other cheek when someone has removed your head. Second, this verse is talking about the victim forgiving, not the people that should step in and stop the madmen from decapitating infants with dull blades. But you know, context is overrated. I adore this verse, it reminds me that I need to forgive the person on my coffee cup, for I was a victim of his dumb comment, or my pants were, maybe they should turn the other cheek (Pun intended? Maybe.)? I’ll need to mull this over.
My favorite so far though is “ISIS needs the gospel more than anyone else.” That is a HUGE assumption. It’s such a big assumption that if I assume unicorns exist, I’d have better odds. Sin is sin, and all fall short. So technically radical ISIS members, while barbarians, are on par with the rest of the world in their need for salvation, including those that are being beheaded by them. Yes, many Christians are being attacked and killed, but many non-Christians are as well. I’d say it’s pretty even if you look at news reports. Since the brave and threatening hashtag diplomacy has taken over, innumerable non-Christians have been beheaded or murdered in some other grotesque way. So basically you’re saying that one group of non-Christians deserves to hear the gospel more than another. Maybe I didn’t read the bible correctly, but from what I understand, when they stand in judgment, those non-believing victims will be held to the same accountability standards as members of ISIS for their unbelief. So claiming that radical members of ISIS somehow need Jesus more is weak and silly, and kind of revolting if you think about it.
Most of these eye opening revelations that I’ve read have, shockingly, come from recent graduates who majored in theology, and now they know everything there is to know about the bible. And most of them believe that God himself predetermined the beheadings, that’s a whole different kettle of fish, and they can make it sound really good if you just give them a chance. Yes, Christians, our churches are filled with people who believe that God Himself orchestrated the beheading of infants. This, my friends, is why I have a “Top 10 Reasons Why We Deserve What’s Coming” list. Many of them have attacked Phil Robertson for saying that “In this case you have to convert them, which I think would be next to impossible, I’m not giving up on them, I’m just saying convert them or kill them. One or the other.” What a hillbilly, am-I-right?! So yes, I’m going to call out the multiple Christians that had huge threads on their timelines that were solely devoted to mocking Phil Robertson for his comment. Not talking about the heartbreaking acts that are taking place in Iraq, no, they were simply saving the world 1 Phil Robertson joke at a time. I even saw some Sarah Palin, George Bush, and Sean Hannity jokes that were thrown in for good measure. I know that Phil didn’t swallow a thesaurus and make his basic argument unnecessarily indigestible so as to appear to be of higher intellect than the fumbling Christians that didn’t spend such intense time (2-4 years) in theological studies – she says sarcastically – but he makes a point, guys.
Last night I made a post about our President’s comments concerning his goal to make ISIS manageable. I won’t comment on that in this post, but I will post a comment that I received on that post. In my post I loosely compared radical members of ISIS (I’m going to talk about the “radicalized” part later in this post) to the Nazi regime. The following comment hit the nail on the head:
“And even so, the Nazi mentality – while also purely evil – was more ideological and less religious zealousness. They (the foot soldiers) were willing to fight for the cause but if overwhelmed, overwhelmingly surrendered. The ISIS extremists are – to a person – jihadists who would die for the cause. They are not reluctant soldiers enlisted by their government. They are – each and every one of them – martyrs willing to do what it takes to eradicate the Israelites, the Christians, the Westerners, the enemies of “Islam”, far more willing to die than to face the shame of surrender. There won’t be stories of Christmas truces of both sides meeting in the trenches to sing Silent Night. In order to preserve innocents and innocence, and quite frankly to be good stewards, I agree- They must be met head on. Enough force to turn back an opponent whose only goal and only acceptable outcome is to kill, is to kill first.”
This person avoided having his name written on my coffee cup.
So, let’s break this down by answering 4 important questions:
1. What does “radical” Islam even mean?
I’ve had a lot of well-meaning believers tell me that they have friends who are peaceful Muslims, and they use the term “radical” – as I did above – to describe those that act in violence. This is all fine and dandy, except that you open doors to be labeled a “radical” yourself simply by following the bible. While the Old Testament contains violence, which those defending peaceful Muslims are quick to point out, there is a big difference between the Quran and the Bible. The verses in the Quran are not restrained by historical context, they remain open ended.
“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” – Quran (8:12)
“And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder/unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah” – Quran (8:39)
The Quran then goes on to chastise those who are not willing to pick up the sword against those who don’t follow him. So, what we label as “radicals” are actually individuals who are taking the Quran seriously. Those that we label as “peaceful” simply don’t adhere as strictly to the Quran. Following the basic tenants of the Quran are “radical.” So if 80% of Muslims are simply “less devout,” does that truly make the other 20% “radicals”? Yes & no… Having extreme views that aren’t widely shared? Yes. Different and new from what is traditional? No. The 20% who are “radical” walk the walk. So, by standing for traditional marriage, you are a radical Christian if going by the same standards that you place on Islam. Let’s all be happy for once that the majority of human beings don’t strictly adhere to the principles of their religion.
2. Why do you hate Muslims?
I don’t. Let me repeat: I DON’T HATE MUSLIMS. I’m just trying to point out the holes in so many of these weak arguments. “I have Muslim friends” is not anywhere close to being a strong argument for your beliefs. I’m not attacking your friends.
According to various reports, the percentage of “radicals” is anywhere between 15-25%. Low, right? No, in comparison to the Nazi Regime, the Soviet Union, etc. that is high. The other 80% do not matter. I don’t need to hear about your friends, because I am well aware that there are plenty of Muslims living in America that aren’t waiting to behead me when they get the chance. I’m sure they like long walks on the beach, dinner parties, and movie nights. I am aware of the fact that many Muslims serve in the military. I’m also aware that they don’t matter. The Muslims that do matter, are the 15-25% that do want to behead me, as well as anyone that doesn’t agree with them, if they get the chance. They matter. There are incredibly peaceful atheists living in our world, they’re not important in discussions chastising Hitler. The “peaceful” Muslims, Germans, Russians, etc. are irrelevant. This is the same issue that I have with law enforcement – Stop touting good cops during police brutality discussions, because unless they are standing up and fighting against militarization, or police brutality, they are irrelevant to the debate.
Peaceful Germans stood by and watched millions of Jews be slaughtered, so, are they relevant to the bodies bulldozed into landfills? Nope. End of story. If your Muslim friends would like to come out against ISIS, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, etc. I’d love to hear their opinions and offer my support, but don’t use them as your version of the race card to try and say that we shouldn’t attack those that are relevant, as well as the book that they use to justify their killing.
3.They aren’t always like this, right?
A lot of people yelled and screamed about the Iraq war, some didn’t agree that we should have been involved over there at all due to the cost, or felt that it was wrong to retaliate. Some really special people actually believed that George Bush orchestrated it all, bless their hearts. I’m not addressing those viewpoints – even though I have opinions of my own. I’m addressing the fact that much of the push back was due to the fact that news crews were interviewing Iraqis that were on their laptops in more developed communities, and they – as if on cue – whined to the media that America was haphazardly murdering civilians. Kind of like Hamas has done with the IDF? Hmmm…
Anyway, the truth? It is very common during non-war times, just as it is now, for women to be raped, murdered, abused, etc. legally in many Middle Eastern areas. They are not equal with men, and are viewed as property. It is normal for Homosexuals to be found guilty and receive a death penalty. It is normal for Christians to be heavily persecuted. It is also normal for Muslims that strictly adhere to the teachings of their religion to teach their children to do the same. They are raised with a hatred for Israel, as well as Western civilization, and a willingness to die for their faith. Not in a “I’ll die before I’ll deny my God” type of willingness, but a “I’ll sacrifice myself to do Allah’s calling” type of willingness. They are not simply confined to the ME, either. We have seen honor killings on American soil, and beheadings in the UK. Families that legally move here, then daughters slaughtered for becoming too “westernized,” why? Because they strictly adhere to their religion, and while they might not be planning terrorist attacks, this is what their strict beliefs demand of them. Once again, I’m not speaking against your peaceful Muslim friends, I’m just throwing out information concerning radicals.
4. Shouldn’t we turn the other cheek?
Firstly, the above was a horrid use of Matthew 5: 38-48, and I really wish people would stop abusing it. In a world filled with evil people, often times war is necessary. Otherwise, think of the millions of additional human beings that would have been slaughtered under Hitler and Stalin, and imagine how much longer African Americans would have been held under slavery. War should never be fun, we shouldn’t look forward to killing individuals, but we should indeed be prepared and willing to protect the innocent, by lethal means if necessary, because they are willing to die before letting you save the innocent. Right now subhuman savagery is taking place, and has been taking place for a long time in the Middle East. So, say what you will, but the God of the bible, the lover of justice, and the one that condoned war on many occasions, would not tell you to “turn the other cheek” while watching madmen saw off someone’s head. The truly detestable and facepalm worthy moment for Christians is when they act like turning the other cheek while the actual victims suffer is somehow a sacrifice and showing of decent fruit on their part. And when you do something that heartless and stupid, you rightfully earn a place on my coffee cup.
As we learn in the Quran, they are not interested in peace. They are not interested in ending the suffering. They are interested in conversion or annihilation. Someone made this point on one of the posts I read this morning, and it was countered with “but you want to do the same thing to them!” Not true, not even close to true. I don’t want to annihilate all Muslims, I don’t want to annihilate anyone, I want them to stop slaughtering others, and due to their adherence to their scripture – which unlike ours, demands them to slaughter – the only way to do that is to take out the individuals who are slaughtering innocents. They were given another option, they do not give us another option. That’s like saying that the person who shoots a mass murderer while trying to stop him is somehow guilty of the same crime that the murderer was committing. No. The murderer had a choice to do what was right, the one defending wasn’t given a choice. It’s not “like” that scenario, people, it IS that scenario. Is that saying that we should proclaim war against the moderate Muslims, the less devout in our own country? Absolutely not.
The point of all of this:
I’m tired of beating around the bush. I’m done beating around the bush. While you sit peacefully in your living room patting yourself on the back for touting the “turn the other cheek” argument – and again, inaccurately so – the actual victims are facing quite a different reality. Imagine with me for a moment that the non-Christian victims can hear your words of pacifism. I wonder how impressed they would be with the children of God for bravely typing “I have to turn the other cheek” in response to their suffering, major emphasis on “their.” Stop pretending like our God is a pacifist, because according to the bible, He isn’t.
Forgive me for my bluntness, but the church needs to wake up, specifically the deeply intellectual hippy-esque theological demigods, and they need to do it yesterday. It’s not about left or right, or situating yourself somewhere in the middle so that you can point to the middle and brag, it’s about right and wrong. Period.
Beheading people = Wrong
Stopping barbarians from beheading people = Right