In listening to some thoughts posted in response to yesterday’s blog about reactions and responses, I sense some further interest in exploring how a non-violent Christian response might look if one could be found whether in or outside the Bible. I may not be at all suited for this task, because I’m already on record as advocating a violent response, if all too nuanced, in yesterday’s post. But I’ll at least try.
Starting back from scratch, I’m advocating the US approach ISIS / ISIL as we did the German aggression of last century’s two world wars — those being wars we actually did win. My point in yesterday’s post is that we won them by slowly responding instead of quickly reacting. In my mind these were both “just wars” and their history is worth learning from and thus repeating with all due intention.
I’ve heard a mix of views regarding what Jesus would do in either reaction or response to ISIS. Certainly he, and his followers well into the 3rd century, endured torture at the hands of evil men, no less than did the 21 coptic Christians from Egypt last week. I’m not sure he, or his followers, would do anything differently if they could do it all over again. After all, they won (how big is Christianity today?) and their enemy (how big is the Roman Empire today?) lost. It’s pretty hard to argue against their success. But neither would I argue against the success of Old Testament warriors like King David who basically saved the Hebrew people, from which Jesus came, from total annihilation some thousand years B.C. And when Jesus came to Jerusalem and saw the commercialism that surrounded the Holy Temple, he did grab a whip and did use it and did destroy some property in the doing. I’m not arguing against that one either!
To me it seems that all violence is best made an exception and not the rule. And it is most effective when used as a delayed response than as a sudden reaction. Even God is slow to anger (the Old Testament repeats multiple times) for probably some effective reason. Effective as slow violence is, I would strongly argue that fast violence is even more ineffective! It has, I would argue, the knee-jerk effect of poisoning the very well we ourselves must later drink from. Not sure how best to explain that, but I’m thinking that in our early US reaction against organized Islamist terrorism (not to be confused with Islamic religion!!), we became THE PROBLEM that overshadowed the real problem. Don’t even get me started on how I think the Iraq war was $1.7 trillion of our borrowed money spent on recruiting fliers aimed at turning IslamIC youth into IslamIST terrorists. That’s another blog or another book. It’s hard to walk ourselves back from such a foolish exercise of power that backfired so horribly as to have even Al-Qaeda renouncing the ISIS atrocities. Creating power vacuums and serving as recruiting posters is impossible to undo. The water’s already poisoned that we now must drink from.
I’m not even sure we could have won either WWI or WWII if we had jumped into combat at the earliest opportunity. By treating those as wars “over there” and waiting for the traditional enemies of France and England to first ally themselves against THE PROBLEM of Germany, we could then use our military violence as part of THE SOLUTION. I think it’s much harder to become a solution if you’re already identified as the problem to begin with. That’s why I’m rather pessimistic except to say I think it’s now only a matter of time until the evil ISIS forces become a Germany-like problem so big as to unite even Shia AND Sunni led nations into common military alliance. THEN is when we get to become the solution once again instead of having to continue being the Germany-like problem ourselves a la our Iraq fiasco.
I’ll quit for now but want to write tomorrow about what would need to change for us to become a winning nation like we were in WW II. Stay tuned if you’re at all interested.