Today Maureen Dowd wrote an article entitled: “Killing Evil Doesn’t Make Us Evil“. It begins with this quote:
I don’t want closure. There is no closure after tragedy.
I want memory, and justice, and revenge.
When you’re dealing with a mass murderer who bragged about incinerating thousands of Americans and planned to kill countless more, that seems like the only civilized and morally sound response.
Apparently as ‘gods’ ourselves we can make these moral choices much better than God Himself has done in the past. We apparently have a right – our postmodern society has determined – and God does not. I bring this up because our postmodern society has made no bones about condemning God for his judicial dealings with certain people who did with less technology in their time the same thing Osama Bin Laden did in our day – especially in the Old Testament in the Bible.
Osama exterminated people because he thought they were evil. Did you get that? Osama determined that WE who lived here in the United States were evil in his eyes and the eyes of those who followed his same thinking. Whereas here in America and other parts of the postmodern world, Osama Bin Laden was understood to have been the mastermind of an evil act against innocent people (And I am not saying I disagree with that determination). Conversely, the people that God had judicially executed ( as recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible) are completely let off the hook, nay even perceived as ‘innocent’, simply because it wasn’t us but him who made the decision.
I know of no human personally that has been able to see directly into a person’s heart or, indeed, into the future. However, God has told those willing to listen exactly what is in the heart of mankind and has been on many occasions willing, even insistent, on warning what the future would bring if certain paths were chosen. Who better to know when a thing is evil or not, when a person is evil or not, than God?
My point in bringing this up is not to disagree about a single act. In point of fact, I do agree that what Osama did was evil. It is not my goal either to launch into a point by point defense of every instance in the Bible where God seems to be the “bad” guy. My point is to get you, my reader, to start thinking in terms of better investigation of why God would do such a thing instead of assuming you and I had all the facts. When He makes a determination its because he sees things better than we do. Everything he does has a purpose beyond our limited sight and our limited understanding. And it is always for the good. Ours is not.
Maureen Dowd is not the only one examining society’s position and response to the judicial execution by US forces of Osama Bin Laden. Others are doing the same examination of the affair and they are generally of a similar conclusion. I will not take the time to quote them here. But I will make one more point with her ending quote:
Unlike Osama, the Navy Seals took great care not to harm civilians — they shot Bin Laden’s youngest wife in the leg and carried two young girls out of harm’s way before killing Osama.
Morally and operationally, this was counterterrorism at its finest.
We have nothing to apologize for.
Did you get the moral distinction there, the differentiation between ‘us’ and ‘them’? “Unlike Osama, the Navy Seals took great care not to harm civilians — they shot Bin Laden’s youngest wife in the leg and carried two young girls out of harm’s way before killing Osama.” We determined who the ‘innocents’ are: the women and children. No one has thought that this woman and her two girls could have been in on the bombing or used guns against others at the order of their father and their own beliefs. It’s the picture you see: a woman and her two girls who must be assumed ‘innocent’. Because why? Because they are of the feminine nature? Because they didn’t have a gun in their hand that day and moment? Do we assume that they weren’t part of the 9/11 operation? Do we assume that they didn’t agree whole-heartedly with its undertaking? Do we assume that if given the chance, they wouldn’t help someone else do the same thing again?
Let’s just assume that they were innocent and warranted the designation ‘civilian’. I don’t disagree with that. But for the sake of perspective from God’s intervention in the Old Testament, that doesn’t mean that they won’t use a gun tomorrow in revenge. It doesn’t mean the daughters won’t later grow up and marry and raise sons who will grow up to do the same thing that their grandfather did. We only have a picture of the past and a picture of the present. It is usually an incomplete picture. And we have no ability to remember the future.
Do I condemn what was done by the US Forces? No. We cannot stand by and not oppose evil. How a Christian is supposed to do that and the purpose for now taking that different stand from the tack of previous godly direction is a subject for another future discourse. But neither will I jump on the bandwagon of either popular opinion: celebrating the death of someone evil ( Ezekiel 33:11 ) or in condemning God for doing essentially the same thing in the past to protect his people from those whose entire culture at the time was ruthless, wicked, unrepentant, and unsparing.
The only person who can remember the future and intervene with a final good purpose in mind is God. Something to think about.