Should we rejoice that bin Laden is dead?

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Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I believe we can rejoice in the triumph of good over evil, the exercise of justice, and the protection of the innocent. But every person is a soul that Christ died to redeem, so the loss should still bring us grief. Also, honesty and humility require us to acknowledge that we are all capable of great wickedness.

I remember how shocked I was at my reaction to Sadam Hussein's death. When I saw the picture of his body, I burst into tears (and I cry about once every leap year). Somehow the fact that not only was his earthly legacy that of an evil and violent man, but there was literally no hope for him to change. Ever. I'm not boo-hooing over bin Laden, but I feel the same, in the sense that he now is beyond hope of redemption. Not only is that sad, but he is in the same Hell as the many innocent people he planned to murder who weren't redeemed. And yet, that is justice, because he isn't in Hell for murdering thousands, he is in Hell for rejecting Jesus Christ. Talk about your level playing field.

If Saul (before he became Paul) had fallen off his camel and broken his neck, I am sure that many Christians would have breathed a sigh of relief. But knowing that after his conversion he accomplished so much for Christ just gives me pause when I think about the deaths of those we consider to be evil because of their heinous acts. What if...? KWIM?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Thanks, Jay. Fixed the link.

Some of the "let's not rejoice" people seem to be making the same mistake the pacifists do with the teaching of Jesus: fail to distinguish between a personal enemy and an evil doer or enemy of your nation. The same Jesus who said turn the other cheek also told the Israelites to taken Canaan.
Anyway, rejoicing that justice has been served in some measure (I do think we have to qualify how much justice has been served here! Nothing we can do as human beings can really serve justice to a man who murders thousands of noncombatants in peacetime) is a reflection of what you value. If justice matters to you, and you love right and hate wrong... then you cannot help but feel glad when evil men suffer defeat.

Pastor Joe Roof's picture

Romans 13:4 "For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute ] wrath upon him that doeth evil."

I do rejoice that our government executed a God-given right to protect us by "bearing the sword" upon Osama Bin Laden.

Jay's picture

Ezekiel 18:23 talks about the Lord not having pleasure in the death of the wicked, and we have to keep in mind that OBL is now in hell and under the wrath of God, which is a sobering thought. Personally, I am not 'rejoicing' like some of the celebrations of his death, but I am ~relieved~ that earthly punishment has been carried out by Team Six and also that OBL is no longer alive to plot mayhem.

To be honest, the whole response kind of points me forward to the day where the whole earth http://esv.scripturetext.com/revelation/11.htm will rejoice at some other deaths .

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Jay C. wrote:

To be honest, the whole response kind of points me forward to the day where the whole earth http://esv.scripturetext.com/revelation/11.htm will rejoice at some other deaths .

You are really comparing the death of Osama bin Laden to the deaths of the two witnesses? Wow. The world may have a similar reaction, but that in no way makes the events similar.

Dave Barnhart

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

It's a distinction worth noting that every instance of feeling 'good' about something is not necessarily the same as 'taking pleasure' in it. Do I feel good about bin Laden's death? Yes. Do I take pleasure in it? No. I am happy that he personally is no longer a threat? Yes. Am I glad that he has been punished for his crimes? Yes. Am I going to throw a party? No.

The other attitude I've noticed is that of equating America with Israel, as in "I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee", or viewing an attack on America as an attack against God. I understand that bin Laden would consider the death of Christianity (and Christians) as a victory over the infidels, and that America is viewed as a 'Christian' nation, but I am uncomfortable with defining bin Laden's death as a victory for Christians in a flag-waving Star-Spangled-Banner God-Bless-America kind of way.

Bob T.'s picture

When I heard that Bin Laden was dead I thought it was good but not something to rejoice over. There was rejoicing at the end of WWII because there was victory that would bring peace. If this death would bring an end to terrorism and to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq then perhaps this would be a cause for rejoicing. Sadly, this death will not bring peace but perhaps only further conflict. The enemy is Islam and its foundational teachings in the Quran. Secular America is so blinded by its own evil that it now has an incorrect world view and cannot recognize the true evil it faces.

The killing of Bin Laden was just and may have some effect for good. But the Al Quada still exist. Iran still exists. Hamas still exists. The present administration has encouraged Hamas and slighted Israel. It has been ambivalent about Iran. It does not, and cannot, properly identify evil or the nations enemies. It itself is blinded by its own evil expressed in mixed up social values and confused political ambition.

I am satisfied that the killing of Bin Laden was just and should have been done. I am thankful for those who were willing to risk their lives to carry out this military operation. I see the attempt of Obama to use this as a call for unity nothing but another narcissistic political ploy to enhance his chance for re-election. You do not find unity around an assassination no matter how evil the person killed. Let Obama and his minions properly identify the true nature of our national enemies and that will be the cause for some peace of mind. However, unity can only come when the war of terrorism is properly recognized and dealt with, and social and economical issues are dealt with in a realistic manor.

Also, is there cause for rejoicing in a land that has killed 31 million innocent babies, seeks to make Holy Matrimony into an unholy union which includes homosexuals, recognizes Homosexual perversion as good and those who consider it wrong as evil, and increasingly views the Bible and Christ as sources of evil and prejudice? The time may come when the Christian can no longer serve in the military in good conscience to defend a government which will no longer be that ordained by God in Romans 13. That is a government that punishes evil so bears not the sword in vain. That passage was written during the reign of Nero to advise of Christian responsibility in supporting government based on it being ordained by God. To be ordained by God it must punish evil and not bear the sword in vain by punishing good. The context makes submission to human government conditional not absolute as medieval and some Reformed theologians sought to portray it. Fortunately, Calvin saw a right to resist the king.

Everything that brought about this killing was that which was strongly spoken against by Obama in his election campaign. Do not let the "Deceiver in Chief" deceive you. By the way, did you pick up on the type of church Obama went to for Easter? It was a church advocating "Black Theology" of the James Cone variety. The same as the church Obama went to for 20 years in Chicago. Only about 10% of Black churches advocate this theology but Obama found one.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Susan R wrote:

The other attitude I've noticed is that of equating America with Israel, as in "I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee", or viewing an attack on America as an attack against God. I understand that bin Laden would consider the death of Christianity (and Christians) as a victory over the infidels, and that America is viewed as a 'Christian' nation, but I am uncomfortable with defining bin Laden's death as a victory for Christians in a flag-waving Star-Spangled-Banner God-Bless-America kind of way.

I have to admit I'm sort of split on this, being both a Christian and an American. ObL's death is most definitely a victory for the USA, but less so a "victory" for Christians. I'm trying to figure out how much to celebrate as an American, but see it only as an instance of God's justice from the Christian perspective. David certainly praised God for His executing justice on the wicked. I've never completely understood how much of that transfers to Christians (or in fact imprecatory Psalms in general, which are still profitable for doctrine, instruction, etc.).

Dave Barnhart

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I heard it suggested that if bin Laden had been captured instead of killed, an equitable consequence would have been for him to walk a perpetual loop through modern airport security, complete with regular strip searches.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

I guess I join the crowd that is appreciative of the justice of the situation without any pleasure in the outcome. As my grasp of eternal damnation has matured over the years, I have increasingly been saddened by the news of lost people dying. I can honestly say, I would wish an eternity in hell on no one. Let me be plain, I do not equivocate on the righteousness of his death. Had it been my duty to call the shots, figuratively or literally, I would have had no qualms about sending bin Laden into eternity. But, as Susan and Jay have expressed, I have no joy in the knowledge that Osama is now eternally damned beyond the love and rescue of God.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Jay's picture

dcbii wrote:
Jay C. wrote:

To be honest, the whole response kind of points me forward to the day where the whole earth http://esv.scripturetext.com/revelation/11.htm will rejoice at some other deaths .

You are really comparing the death of Osama bin Laden to the deaths of the two witnesses? Wow. The world may have a similar reaction, but that in no way makes the events similar.

No, I'm not comparing the two at all. I'm just saying that the worldwide rejoicing of OBL's death reminded me of the Biblical account when the world will rejoice at the death of two of God's servants.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

KeithK's picture

I am glad he is dead. I am glad that he now recognizes his error that battling the US and battling Christianity are not the same thing. He now knows that his real enemy is Christ and that Christ has the ultimate victory. I do not take delight in his eternal torture, but I am satisfied that he understands the true nature of Christ. If Christ had any intention of redeeming OBL, He would have ensured it. I have no problem in believing that God used Seal Team 6 to carry out His justice. The only reason he was found is because God caused it, because God allowed the hunters to find the courier. This is God's justice, the US government was just the tool.

Again, I don't take joy in the death, but I am glad that God has shown his righteousness through His own means, and that his wrath is satisfied on OBL.

Peace

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

More of the "personal enemy" vs. "enemy of my people"/"enemy of humanity" confusion. I'm seeing it everywhere...
http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id...

It amazes me how many read "love your enemy" and leap to a "be nice to your nation's enemy" or "be nice to criminals" and feel no obligation at all to explain how they derived their interpretation.

This one even suggests we should be challenged by bin Laden's example to embrace austere living in dedication to our cause. Amazing. I suppose we should emulate Hitler's single minded sense of mission?
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/mayweb-only/osama-donotgloat.html Christianity Today

Bob T.'s picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
More of the "personal enemy" vs. "enemy of my people"/"enemy of humanity" confusion. I'm seeing it everywhere...
http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id...

It amazes me how many read "love your enemy" and leap to a "be nice to your nation's enemy" or "be nice to criminals" and feel no obligation at all to explain how they derived their interpretation.

This one even suggests we should be challenged by bin Laden's example to embrace austere living in dedication to our cause. Amazing. I suppose we should emulate Hitler's single minded sense of mission?
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/mayweb-only/osama-donotgloat.html Christianity Today

They evidently missed the fact that Bin Laden was living in a million dollar plus mansion for the last six years or so.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Aaron Blumer wrote:
... This one even suggests we should be challenged by bin Laden's example to embrace austere living in dedication to our cause. Amazing. I suppose we should emulate Hitler's single minded sense of mission?
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/mayweb-only/osama-donotgloat.html Christianity Today

When Scripture offers us examples of good character, ambition and single-minded dedication, we are given things like ants, spiders, and bees. NOT Mormons or famous athletes or Hollywood actors. Or for-cryin-in-a-bucket terrorists. http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php ][img ]http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-sick007.gif[/img ]

In other words, I'd rather be a bug than look at OBL as a role model!

KeithK's picture

And let's not forget the manly way he his behind his (youngest) wife for protection.

Jay's picture

Actually, it seems like http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/05/the-slippery-story-o... those first reports might not be right after all...

The Atlantic wrote:

By end of day, that narrative -- much like the narrative of Jessica Lynch's heroism in 2003 -- was being picked apart. Reported Politico:

Quote:
"A different guy's wife was killed," a different official familiar with the briefing for TV reporters said Monday night. Bin Laden's wife was "injured but not killed," the official said.

Another official familiar with the operation said it did not appear that any woman was used as a human shield, but that the woman killed and the one injured were hurt in the crossfire. The official said he believed Brennan had mixed up the episode involving bin Laden's wife with another encounter elsewhere in the compound.

"Two women were shot here. It sounds like their fates were mixed up," said the U.S. official. "This is hours old and the full facts are still being ascertained as those involved are debriefed."

Whether bin Laden was armed when he was shot also was initially unclear:

Quote:
...during a background, off-camera briefing for television reporters later Monday, a senior White House official said bin Laden was not armed when he was killed, apparently by the U.S. raid team.

Another White House official familiar with the TV briefing confirmed the change to POLITICO, adding, "I'm not aware of him having a weapon."


Either way, I'm still relieved that we found him and took him out.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I can't bring myself to rejoice that anybody's in Hell, even him (though I do rejoice that God's righteousness is revealed through His holy wrath).
But the case some are making against rejoicing relies heavily on moral equivalence premises... that is, variations of "We are no better than he, therefore... "
But that sort of reasoning is way off. None of us would do anything like what he did and the US as a nation is not doing the same thing when it rejoices in ObL's death that Muslims in various places did when they rejoiced after the Towers fell. The acts are not morally equivalent.

Another example of moral equivalence fog...
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=14332

BryanBice's picture

Sure, there aren't exact parallels -- the U.S. isn't a NT version of Israel -- but these songs sure sound pretty close to "rejoicing" over the death of the enemy:

Judges 5 -- Song of Deborah & Barak.
And get a load of this stanza:
24 "Most blessed of women be Jael,
the wife of Heber the Kenite,
of tent-dwelling women most blessed.

25 He asked water and she gave him milk;
she brought him curds in a noble's bowl.

26 She sent her hand to the tent peg
and her right hand to the workmen's mallet;
she struck Sisera;
she crushed his head;
she shattered and pierced his temple.

27 Between her feet
he sank, he fell, he lay still;
between her feet
he sank, he fell;
where he sank,
there he fell—dead.

28 "Out of the window she peered,
the mother of Sisera wailed through the lattice:
'Why is his chariot so long in coming?
Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?'

29 Her wisest princesses answer,
indeed, she answers herself,

30 'Have they not found and divided the spoil?—
A womb or two for every man;
spoil of dyed materials for Sisera,
spoil of dyed materials embroidered,
two pieces of dyed work embroidered for the neck as spoil?'

31 "So may all your enemies perish, O Lord!
But your friends be like the sun as he rises in his might."

Exodus 15:1-19 -- The Song of Moses
And the song concludes with this report:

20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. 21 And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.