On ISIS and Humanity
Categories: Tuck's Blog
It seems each week, we read of a new atrocity committed by ISIS. Last Saturday’s attack in London left seven people dead. And that’s only the most recent in a never-ending series of merciless, mindless murders. The Coptic Christians of Egypt have been the special target of the ISIS attacks; twenty-eight Christians, including children as young as two, were slaughtered on a bus just a week before the London attacks. It is easy to see why these barbaric, inhuman acts have led some to denounce ISIS as a sub-human group that needs to be exterminated. One Australian headline read: “ISIS Terrorists: Sub-Human Filth Can Rot in Hell.” That sentiment has been shared by people as diverse as Piers Morgan on twitter to Alan Simpson in news interviews to Christian bloggers. ISIS terrorists are simply sub-human.
But that’s not the opinion of bearing the brunt of the ISIS’s attacks. Here is an excerpt from Bishop Angaelos, the general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church which has suffered so much. Bishop Angaelos and his people look at all this with eyes full of tears, but also with the eyes of the One who tells us to love our enemies and leave vengeance to God:
I feel a need to address those who perpetrate these crimes. You are loved. The violent and deadly crimes you perpetrate are abhorrent and detestable, but you are loved. You are loved by God, your creator, for he created you in his image and according to his likeness, and placed you on this earth for much greater things, according to his plan for all humankind. You are loved by me and millions like me, not because of what you do, but what you are capable of as that wonderful creation of God…
Transformation is core to the Christian message, for throughout history we have seen many transformed from being those who persecuted Christ himself and Christians to those who went on to live with grace. We believe in transformation because, on a daily basis, we are personally transformed from a life of human weakness and sinfulness to a life of power and righteousness. We believe in transformation because that’s the whole message of the cross…
He goes on to talk about pain and grief, not only for those who suffered loss, but also for those who thought that such an act was justifiable. He denounced this act of violence as evil, and he attributed it to a “loss of the meaning and comprehension of the sanctity of life.” He invited them to join with him in praying for the brokenness of the world that caused parents to lose children and children to lose parents. He AFFIRMS the humanity of ISIS, and called them to the responsibility of that humanity. Somehow, this just seems more Christian than, “Kill them all and let God sort it out.”