Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Convert or Kill?

How are Christians supposed to respond to ISIS (terrorist group in Iraq)?

Phil Robertson stated that we should either convert them or kill them.

Phil has the guts and honesty to state what many Christians feel. Most Christians would love to see those in ISIS discover the love and power of Jesus. However many probably believe that this is impossible and our only response is then to kill them.

Phil has received a lot of criticism for his statement. Some of the criticism is undeserved. Many have said that Phil is exactly like ISIS. I do not agree. Phil is speaking directly about ISIS, a terrorist group that is killing innocents including children. He is saying that something drastic needs to happen about this situation. Either ISIS needs to change or the world needs to take a radical and harsh approach with them. He is not saying that Christians should go into the streets and grab innocents and force them to convert, and if they refuse then to kill them. He is speaking of how to respond to radical terrorists, not how to respond to innocent people who have different beliefs.

That being said I still have a few objections to Phil's message.

First, we do not need to live in such polar extremes. Are our only options really "covert them or kill them"? Giving only two options shows a lack of imagination. There are always more than two choices.

Two, where is love? Phil speaks as a Christian and quotes the bible but never mentions how killing members of ISIS can be an act of love. Jesus has commanded us to love our enemies. We may not like it and struggle with how to do that but Jesus is our master so we need to listen to him. Loving our enemies is not an option. We cannot just ignore this command because we cannot imagine how this works.
However we are also to love ISIS's victims. Many who have objected to Phil sound like we should do nothing. It sounds like it does not matter that innocents are being killed. They are not our children or friends or from our country so why should we care. We are to care because Jesus tells us to love everyone (enemies and victims). Sure life would be easier if we could just love on side or the other but that is not how it works.

Three, why do we believe it is impossible for them to become followers of Jesus? Do we not serve a God who works miracles? It is impossible that a man was raised from the dead, yet this is foundational to our faith. Something being impossible is no reason to not believe that it is possible for God.

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