Biblical response to Osama bin Laden’s death doesn’t call for celebration

As social media unfolded the story of Osama bin Laden’s death, Americans rejoiced. But, the Bible calls for a different response to death.

Social networks lit up last Sunday with news that the sting on the Pakistani compound housing Osama bin Laden had been successful, killing the wanted terrorist leader.

The initial reaction for most was jubilation and even a sense of closure. The man who orchestrated the terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Americans in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania had been brought to justice.

What quickly followed, however, was a sudden general backpedal. Americans and Christians in particular re-gathered their bearings and asked themselves if it was right to revel in the death of any man — even one as hated as bin Laden.

Social media reactions to Osama bin Laden’s death

The reactionary, second-by-second unfolding nature of social media like Twitter and Facebook showcased their good and ugly sides all at once. A Twitter account for “Osama in hell” quickly solicited thousands of followers.

But the networks did their job of getting the word out quickly. Virtually every American knew Osama was dead within hours of the covert operation’s conclusion. The president was able to address the nation immediately, broadcasting live on both television and web. As a nation, we breathed a collective sigh of relief knowing that justice had been done.

A biblical perspective

But, not all aspects of the response were positive. All over the country and the world, freedom-loving citizens took to the streets with American flags and USA chants to celebrate bin Laden’s death. Thanks to the internet and the blogosphere, rash, snap-decision comments solicited potentially international audiences. Many did not take the time to think before reacting, and the reactions were, in some cases, tough to swallow.

Bin Laden was undoubtedly evil, killing thousands of Americans as well as his own people, and encouraging the abuse of Afghani women. But he was still a fellow human being, created in God’s image. God does not take pleasure in the death of even the most evil human being (Proverbs 24:17-18; Ezekiel 18:32). Given time to reflect, most can agree that relishing the death of anyone, terrorist or not, is not just in poor taste, but counter-biblical.

Yet, there is still room for thoughtful conversation regarding the appropriate Christian attitude towards war and violence. And, particularly with Biola’s population of ROTC students who are training to lead others into battle, the dialogue is alive and well in the Biola community. Our role is to engage in it, listen well, and respectfully help each other work through their response in light of what Christ has done for us.

0 0 votes
Article Rating