God’s love for Osama (updated)

28 thoughts on “God’s love for Osama (updated)”

    1. I totally agree. I heard about Bin Laden’s death while with my grandmother, and while she called my family to announce his death and breath a “Praise the LORD”, I immediately thought about a soul in Hell for eternity. I can’t wrap my mind around someone being in Hell for eternity, no matter the terrible things they’ve done. In God’s eyes, we’re all sinners and deserve Hell. When I made this statement to some acquaintances (some of whom are in the military and have family in the military), their response was that he deserved to rot in Hell forever. I was uplifted to see tweets from Showbread letting me know I’m not the only Christian who felt that the death and damnation of a sinner was not a thing to be celebrated.

  1. I couldn’t agree with everything you’ve said more. I too immediately thought of Stephen’s prayer, and his forgiveness when I heard the news of Osama’s murder. I also would recommend reading David Ray Griffin’s “9/11 Commission: Omissions and Distortions” by David Ray Griffin. It raises some serious questions about 9/11 and makes it clear that we haven’t even been given half of the truth by the media and our government

      1. He didn’t use self-defense (or rather, it wasn’t recorded if he did use it) probably because it wasn’t part of his specific mission.

        You’re going to need a lot more than “well, Jesus never did it” if you’re going to make a huge leap into categorical pacifism.

    1. That’s actually pretty well debated amongst known pacifists. The men Josh up there mentions, such as Yoder, Claiborne, and possibly Boyd and Wink (need to read them still) are certainly opposed to physical violence as self-defense in favor of other methods (psychological disarmament, verbal negotiation, etc.). Some well known nonviolent men, such as Gandhi and Thomas Merton, could be read as favoring self-defense. Eric Seibert, a professor at Messiah College I once interviewed on the subject, stated that there were definitely ways to defend oneself without bringing harm to the attacker (the martial art Aikido is specifically designed in this fashion; it prefers deflection to outright attack).

    2. As for Cindi, you’re right, Jesus did not defend himself, but we must remember to examine why this didn’t occur. Jesus Himself stated that He knew he had to do the will of his father, and lashing out prevented that from occurring. He also understood (as did his followers, to some extent) that His kingdom wasn’t a political system to impose (check out the crucifixion narrative in John’s Gospel) but one that must begin from the ground up to change people. His followers continued this throughout Acts and the Epistles, where they chose not to lash out against authorities persecuting them, for doing so would have harmed their witness. Early church fathers such as Justin Martyr acted in the same fashion even before the Roman Emperor himself and defended their God bravely without striking out. I believe this understanding of God’s Will and God’s Kingdom ought to continue today, though the church at large has failed to see this.

      Now, can situations exist where one needs to defend themselves? I would say yes, though they seem few and far between. As for me, I also believe that the defense of one’s own life does not need to include inflicting violence, as I mentioned in my last comment. We must learn to think creatively, and understand that, in God’s eyes, all life is valuable, with no one life having greater value than another, for the value God assigns to one life is is more than sufficient for that one life alone. To use a metaphor, we are all bar of gold crafted by God without blemish or stain, and for one bar to say to another, “I am shinier than you!” is to take on a foolish pride that God never intended.

    3. what is it about saying pointing out that Jesus did not retaliate with violence as a response to violence being forced upon him do you find unsuitable? i mean, if we are to take the life, the words, the actions, and the choices of our Saviour as an indicator as the best way to live, shouldn’t the fact that he did not return violence against violent people say something? what about the fact that when peter raised his sword and struck one of the men, Jesus rebuked him and warned him that if you live by the sword, then he too would die by it as well? and the fact that in the face of all the persecution and violence thrown at the apostles and the early church, there is not a single record of the church responding in kind?

  2. all of this is EXACTLY what i stated in a blog just for a bunch of “proud americans” to make very week accusations. thank you josh, you gave me hope that ALL americans aren’t fools.

  3. I had a very similar thought go thru me when I heard the news, and as we watched the news for about an hour before and after Obama’s speech.
    Upon logging onto facebook and seeing so many of my friends cheering, and saying horrible things, I didn’t know what to say.
    I think you put into words what I didnt know how to say.

  4. Josh – I couldn’t agree with you more when you say Christ died for Bin Laden. God created and loves ALL of us and desires us ALL to be with him. The celebrations that followed the killing of Bin Laden made me feel uncomfortable (to say the least). While he was NOT someone I held in any esteem nor someone I cared to follow (his views seem to be anti-Christian – and that is saying it kindly), he was still one of God’s children who was killed. However, you are crtitical of those who “literally believe whatever the government tells them” without giving the other side of that. There are many who believe any conspiracy theory out there… or at least believe nothing the government tells them. I am not a pro-government guy by any stretch. I approach most government positions with a suspect eye. I always feel that the truth is somewhere in between. Unfortunately, I know of someone who had a family member on Flight 93. I also have a cousin that works at the Pentagon and saw a plane. So I am not sure where you were going with that. But all of this takes away from your very valid point from before though – too many Christians act the role of the older brother in the prodigal son parable. Too righteous, too entitled… as if everyone else deserves death. God doesn’t look at it that way. We ALL fall short. The love of Jesus Christ should prevail. If it would among all Christians, this world would be a beautiful place. I feel convicted through prayer to tell you that you need to be careful to guard against any ill will or hatred against those who disagree with YOU. People are all over the board on this issue. We need to have a mutual respect for all. Be careful making sweeping generalizations about our Country, Government as a whole and referring to it as the Roman Empire. As Christians we need to understand that if Christ died for us he also died for Osama Bin Laden. That being said, he also died for those who disagree with you on this issue. He also died for the folks of the Westboro Baptist Church and the many churches out there just like them but less visible. He also died for the modern Pharisees in our churches today as well as all of the folks who are part of what you call the “Roman Empire America”. I always appreciate your viewpoints. It does make you think.

    1. Chip, thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I certainly see where you’re coming from and feel the need to adjust this post accordingly. thanks very much for the willingness to bring accountability with humility, love and respect. -Josh

  5. i don’t agree with this at all (Romans 13:1-2, 1 peter2:14, jeremiah 22:1-3 numbers 35 30-31, 1 timothy 2:1-2) ,but to each their own.

    also, Osama bin Laden wasn’t a child of God, he wasn’t a Christian, rather, he was created in God’s image. huge difference

    1. hey brother, thanks so much for adding “to each his own” to your thoughts, may seem like a small gesture, but it’s very refreshing. i have a few thoughts to go with yours…

      citing Romans 13 to support a violent government is a slippery slope. a few things to consider: Romans 13 makes no specifications as to which governments are ordained by God, in fact, Romans 13 says they ALL are. to follow this line of thinking the way you’re suggesting would put america at fault for invading Iraq, after all, Saddam’s regime was ordained by God and we should be subject to its authority. the same goes for Hitler’s Germany—instituted by God and worthy of our respect and allegiance? most people use Romans 13 to drum up respect for america, but few are ready to admit this logic leads to respect and submission to ALL governments, past and present. The same guy who wrote these words was constantly in Jail for subverting the political powers. 1st century Christians were notoriously “disrespectful” toward the empire, rewriting slogans like “ceaser is lord” to “JESUS is lord”… the same type of thing as saying “i pledge allegiance to JESUS, not america”

      Romans 13 was also authored during the reign of Nero, who was a notoriously violent oppressor of Christians, to assume that Paul intended for us to rally behind a violent empire would have meant that first century Christians were expected to stand and cheer as their families were fed to lions.

      the same could be said of 1 Peter 2:14, was Saddam doing God’s work? Is Kim Jong Il?

      as 1 timothy 2 points out, certainly we should pray for leaders of all kinds and of all nations (not just america).

      As for Numbers 35:30, I’m not sure you want to cite this verse in this particular instance. the old testament also demands the death penalty for all kinds of things, not just murder, including rebellious kids (duet 21:18-21), girls who lie about being virgins (duet 22:20-21) and even adultery (Lev 20:10-12)… remember, Jesus taught that anyone who divorces and remarries commits adultery, and even those who look at someone other than their wife lustfully commit adultery… are you ready to stick with the old testament law on these as well? lots of Christians are about to get stoned.

      It seems very likely that Osama was not a Christian, but you and I will never know for sure. no one heard anything from Osama for years, who is to say what went on in his life, heart and mind? we shouldn’t make definitive statements about Osama’s salvation, because however unlikely, we really have no idea.

      just some thoughts to chew on, thanks a lot for adding to the conversation!

  6. Thank you so much for the courage to speak the truth in a world that is continually covering their ears against it. I want to encourage you as an individual and as a band. You are one of the few Christian bands who are willing to speak the truth no matter how much it hurts or how badly people don’t want to heart it because it makes them uncomfortable. Thank you so much for impacting my life, and impacting the lives of those around the world with your band and your ministry.

  7. You are welcome Josh. Truthfully, I feel a little uncomfortable with the idea bringing accountability to someone. I know God asks us to do that when it is on our hearts. But God knows that I struggle every day with so many things and it makes me feel like I am the last person that should hold someone accountable. That’s why I think God must have put that directly on my heart to mention to you. I do appreciate your perspective on things. Of course I don’t always agree 100% all of the time, but I do know that you have the love of Christ in your heart first and foremost. I do have to give you (and your music) a significant amount of credit in changing my perspective over the years. I needed to get out of that “older brother” frame of mind – which is sort of funny that I ever had that frame of mind because I have’t always been a Christian (far from it). Continue doing what you do. Its much appreciated.
    – Chip

  8. Shane Crash summed it up pretty well when he said “As I witnessed the crowds cheering I remember thinking: this must have been precisely how it was when we murdered Christ.”

    I don’t always agree with you guys but both of you really stretched my mind and my heart.
    God bless.

  9. I agree that it is so disheartening to see people celebrate the death of another human being. I also believe that the people who think the world will be a better place without Bin Laden are extremely naive.

    One question, though: do you think that it was wrong for a country at war to kill one of their major opponents? (Assuming that Bin Laden is responsible for what he has said to have been responsible for)

  10. I know I’m late on this one but I’m having trouble comprehending. I understand not celebrating a death, even Bin Laden’s, but is force never required? If someone is actively plotting to kill our people should we not kill him? I guess you could detain someone in a situation like that. But what about in a one on one situation? I could see letting someone take my life, but if someone was attacking my wife it doesn’t seem to make sense to let her die if I wasn’t able to hold that person back without shooting him or something of the sort. Jesus never used violence, but he was always able to avoid a situation like that. Do I always have the ability to de-escalate a situation? If I fail in that am I to let the person kill me or my family?

  11. I really loved reading this because I also did not feel any joy, relief or happiness when I found out that Osama had been killed. In fact, I felt very sad because he did not have to opportunity to serve one such as Jesus, the Lord God. Once in grad school I got into a debate with a classmate and I bought to her attention that Jeffrey Dahmer accepted Christ before he was killed. He did not have any wounds to indicate self-defense. How I wish that I could be just like Jesus and truly not hate and only love. My priest once said, “The most radical an counter-cultural life is that of the Gospel.” Amen. Josh, I also loved reading Nevada, well loved…..isn’t the right word. It did convict me greatly. Thank you. All Blessings.

  12. I reacted the same way Josh and had the same feelings right away. And i think the point is, is that you can’t fight fire with fire. Osama was acting the way he did because of years of what we had been doing to his people and country. They wouldn’t know how to fly planes, or operate weapons if we didn’t sell them to them in the first place. After we had already blew up their mommy’s and daddy’s. So they came and blew up our children, mommy’s and daddy’s. So we went back and made sure we blew up their mommy’s and daddy’s and children again and the cycle goes on and on forever unless something changes.

    Turning the other cheek doesn’t mean letting everyone walk all over you, it means disarming your enemies. Like Jesus did, they lost a reason to fight him, he took away that option with the way he loved. However people much like the USA today put him to death because of it. Because there isn’t a profit in love.

  13. just for the record… nero was only a violent persecutor of Christians and “crazy” during the last 4 years of his reign.. which was after the book of romans was written. not saying it invalidates the point entirely.. just gotta be careful how the information is thrown around.

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