Global Christian Perspectives – November 20, 2015

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The Paris attacks.

[Our data today comes from Chris Eyre, who will co-host today with guest host Michael Kennedy, Jr., author of Parent Driven Discipleship.]

My own instant response is at:-
http://eyrelines.energion.net/?p=884 (and will appear on the Energion Discussion Network on Thursday). (Note that there is also an extended response from Elgin Hushbeck, Jr. on the EDN post. Elgin will not be participating in GCP this week.)

Here’s a Guardian piece on the origins of ISIS:-
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/24/how-to-think-about-islamic-state

A source supporting the argument that occupations produce suicide attacks is at:-
https://foreignpolicy.com/2010/10/18/its-the-occupation-stupid/ ; For bombings, see https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=JLW1CgAAQBAJ&pg=PA130&lpg=PA130&dq=bombing+produces+terrorists&source=bl&ots=BW9OXl1nMx&sig=jLYrz6zafKwjUnoskfEBZysrXT8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CEQQ6AEwBjgKahUKEwjWs4KqipfJAhVI7BQKHcgRDwM#v=onepage&q=bombing%20produces%20terrorists&f=false

Article on possible non-violent techniques:-
http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/8-ways-defend-terror-nonviolently/?utm_content=bufferdc823&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Questions arising include:-

Is it reasonable for us to fixate so much on attacks in Paris when an attack the day before in Beirut killing over 40 went more or less unreported until Paris occurred? There have been attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria this week, including Tuesday killing over 50 people, but we see nothing about that in the media, just a lot of coverage of a dead police dog that day…
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Given that the terrorist’s stated objectives are to make us overreact, both in reprisals abroad (which they state give them more recruits) and in persecution of Muslims at home (which they state help formulate a binary view of “us and them” in currently moderate Muslims and give them more recruits), should we play into their hands by doing what they want? Are they right about the mechanism? Should we damage our own freedoms more out of a desire for security tight enough to stop this happening where we live?
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(From Michael) One related item to the Paris attacks is the refugee crisis in Syria and how several countries and several states in the US are now refusing to receive refugees. Is this a proper response? Does the command to care for the widows, orphans, poor, strangers etc. apply to countries or only to individual believers? If it applies only to believers what should be the response of Christians to these events? What practical steps should churches take?

Here is one approach to the issue:
Here is another:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvjMUrPUfC4
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(I’m considering this as the final and longer discussion)…


I don’t know if any of you have read Karen Armstrong’s “The Battle for God”, but I consider that to give a fine analysis of some of the root causes of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism (and Christian and Jewish fundamentalisms as well). In general terms, this kind of fundamentalism can be contained by leaving them to their own devices in their countries of origin, but Elgin has a point when it comes to Islamic State, which considers itself a Caliphate, and yes, it’s objective is world Islam of it’s own nasty variety, which is a neoconservative harking back to the early days of Islam. They won’t stop unless they’re stopped. Do we (as in the USA, Britain and other parties to the “War against Terror”) have a moral obligation to find a solution, given that we were very instrumental in producing the circumstances which led to this?

If we are, how do we justify this from the teachings of Jesus, and what constraints are there on us in pursuing this objective?

One thought on “Global Christian Perspectives – November 20, 2015”

  1. I am afraid that I will not be able to participate in tomorrow’s discussion. As I mull over what is transpiring, I have the following thoughts.

    From an American point of view, America’s has always been a land of immigrants. In my own situation, my ancestors are German (on one side of the family) and Scots-Irish on the other side. The Scots-Irish came to this country after being pushed off their lands in Scotland and Ireland (that is my understanding of the situation). How can I, with a history of immigration for a variety of political and cultural issues, turn against other immigrants seeking the same things (sanctuary, shelter, and peace)? Perhaps that is over simplyfing things but that’s part of what I am thinking.

    Second, fighting ISIS is going to be difficult. One problem is how ISIS recruits its “soldiers”. Again, it is my understanding that many of those who are recruited are dissaffected in their own country and ISIS offers what they are seeking (or make it easy to get them to think so). I think the development of gangs in the United States works the same way – people are recruited with the offer that they will get a better deal in the gang than they will elsewhere.

    We may end up in a massive land battle in the Middle East (which will undoubtedly please a few Christian fundamentalists) but I can’t help but think that sending troops from any country will create another Viet Nam scenario (a few troops now serving as advisors, followed by an ever increasing number of troops trying to fight a conventional war against an unconventional opponent).

    I don’t know what the intellegience situation is like at this moment. It would seem that there is something lacking in what is publically obvious. But electronic signals intelligence will always be lacking and only real-time human intelligence can provide the best information. And the odds are that we don’t have what are termed human assets anywhere in the area (at least it would appear that way).

    In the end, the condundrum we find ourselves in is that fighting a war with guns and other weapons may only lengthen the war. We need to be as unconventional as possible by removing the causes of the war.

    What was it that Chairman Mao once said, “the guerilla moves among the people as a fish swims in the sea.” We have to make sure that we can catch the fish without poisoning the sea.

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