Tuesday, September 16, 2014

To Fight or Not to Fight

There is nothing to add to the news about what's happening to Iraq and Syria the past few weeks, especially on how Christians have been displaced there. But I can't help but be appalled. We are talking here about Christians who have been rooted in those areas for the past 6,000 years. That's sad, isn't it?

Image from Christian Headlines

When jihadists came conquering Europe in the Middle Ages, predominantly Christian Europe fought back through what is now known as the Crusades. Will it come to that?

I have doubts. Much of that doubt comes from my conviction that the jihadists already wins when Christians arm themselves to retaliate. That's not what Christianity is about; although, I must admit, Christians do need to fight back physically from time to time.

The Pope's call for an international coalition to disarm the aggressors seems to be the direction of the world today.  I don't know how long this is going to take. One thing I know, western countries would not allow the jihadists to win, ever. The past two weeks, we see some governments responding: France, Germany, Australia, United Kingdom and the USA.

US Air Strikes on ISIS in Iraq and Syria (August 2014)
Image Credit: International Business Times

I still have to read about what the rest of the world will do. I have no idea how the international coalition would look like. One thing for certain, the whole world is shaken and sees the need to respond.

But I have no doubt that the power that can be drawn from one's religion is going to be the cry of governments in the front line. How do you fight a profoundly religious motivation with a predominantly feel-good secular agenda? It won't be easy to win a battle against devout people who single-mindedly believe that dying in the middle of a jihad is a spiritual achievement and killing Christians is to give praise and honor to God.

From a secular perspective, to stoop down to that murderous level is unbecoming of a civilized person. Thus, one can fight jihadists only unwillingly, motivated simply by the desire to protect one's home and way of life. This was partly why the villages in Iraq so easily got trapped by false promises at the start.

But if such fight against jihadists is motivated by the will to preserve the Church and its faithfuls from extinction, even if one is not a faithful himself or herself; then such fight becomes a sacred duty. In today's world, the sacredness of such duty can be underlined only by the Pope, the spiritual leader of the Christian world. For indeed, who can be more pacifist than the Pope?

After all, didn't Jesus say this?

"Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Matthew 18:18

Yes, a Christian fights and, I believe, it is time to demonstrate that fighting stance once again.

The Christian's fighting stance: Elevating the Eucharist
Image Credit: Wikimedia

The Christian fights for the primacy of compassion over murderous expression of faith. The Christian seeks to neutralize the aggressor, not to destroy them, but to free them. The Christian fights the good fight of faith.

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