Monday, December 7, 2015

Loving Your Enemies...

Never involves killing them!

In a speech to Liberty University, Jerry Fallwell Jr., the university's president, addressed the school last week in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings and said the following:
"I always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walk in and kill,"
Now, if we interpret the Christian faith using the internal logic of evangelical Christianity, of which Falwell is a foremost representative, then there is no way to avoid the conclusion that Falwell is calling for DIRECT and UNFLINCHING DISOBEDIENCE to one of the most visible commands of Jesus.  He is calling on Christians to kill Muslims.

This obviously goes against a command of Jesus that occurs not once but twice in the New Testament:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Matt 5:43-44)."
“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.  (Luke 6:27-28). 
Commands of Jesus don't get much more clear than that.  But Falwell is calling for DIRECT DISOBEDIENCE to this clear command of Jesus.  In fact, what he is preaching is "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  He is saying that to love one's neighbor (i.e., good Christian Americans like him), you have to kill your enemy (i.e., muslims).

Now, this love your enemy command can get tricky.  How does one define love?  For example, is it loving to let someone persist in bad actions that harm both others and themselves? Of course not.  So, one can make an argument (whether one agrees or not) that a seemingly unloving action, such as incarcerating someone agains their will, is actually a loving action, even though one might have to do things that seem unloving to accomplish this (like forcefully putting on handcuffs, etc.).  Or, one debate that never ends in our society is about the disciplining of children.  Is a seemingly unloving action of spanking a child actually a loving action of discipline.  Some say yes, some say no.  But this kind of reasoning with regard to killing does not work according to evangelical Christianity's own internal logic.  Let me explain.

For evangelical Christians, when a Muslim dies, he or she by definition is not saved, has not accepted Jesus as his or her personal Lord and Savior, and therefore goes to hell.  Therefore, to kill a Muslim, according to evangelical Christianity, is to sentence that person to eternal torture in hell.  Nothing could be less loving.  Therefore, for Falwell to call for the killing of Muslims is to call for DIRECT UNFLINCHING DISOBEDIENCE to the clear command of Jesus to love one's enemies.

What do you think?

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