Monthly Archives: May 2011

Never Settle for Dissatisfaction

Are you satisfied?

There are big questions looming over all of us.  Why are we here?  Is there even a why?  If there is, who’s why matters?  Why do we have such a capacity to feel pain and comprehend evil?  Where does this sense of justice come from?  Does my life have a purpose beyond the other animals?  Is there a God?  Which God is the real one?  Which faith is the right one?  Is there an afterlife?  Is anything true, or is it all perception?  What is good?  Why do the people I love eventually suffer and die?  What is consciousness?  Who am I?

I think that all of us wrestle with these questions to some degree on a day to day basis.  I also think that most of us are not satisfied with the answers ,or lack thereof.  But the crazy thing is that many of us don’t do anything about it.  How many people do you know who settle on something, like a religion, throughout their entire life without ever really finding deep satisfaction?  Maybe they think that they can’t get an answer, so they stop looking.  Or, perhaps they have grown weary with constant dissatisfaction, and have found comfort in blissful ignorance.  Whatever the case, many people are living lives of quiet desperation.

Alright Dave, now shut up.  I know I know.  I’m a 20-something with little experience.  No kids, no wife, no hard earned authority in the arena of life.  But I’m an observer and a thinker and a seeker of the truth, and though I have found my satisfaction in Jesus Christ, I keep asking the hard questions and try to challenge people to do the same.  If you get too comfortable with your “rightness” it leads to pride and ignorance.  I want to be challenged because I have faith that what I believe can withstand the barrage of life’s toughest questions.    If I’m not satisfied with something, I ask questions, seek answers, and keep at it until I’m knocking at the door of truth.   And the reason I write blog posts like this one is that I have found great value in honest introspection, and hope to encourage you to do the same.  Take it or leave it.

If you’re not satisfied with something, don’t settle for that.  If you feel that you’re wasting your time sitting in church, ask yourself why you’re there.  If you want to know your life has a purpose, but you are turned off by philosophy and religion, simply talk to real people and see what they have to say about it.  These questions are way too important to ignore, and you are way too important to settle for someone else’s answers.  Know what you believe, and own it.

For the love of God, never settle for dissatisfaction.

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A**holes and Revelations

Muse has an album called Black Holes and Revelations, which is where I got the inspiration for the title.   If my slight dip into cursing has offended you, I do sincerely apologize.  This blog is generally a place of pure language, but for today’s subject I felt compelled to use a word that really captures the essence of this moronic false prophet.  He’s an asshole.

This guy, Harold Camping, has already falsely predicted the end of the world in the nineties.  What gall to do it again.  And what is this new prediction based on?  It’s based on biblical numerology.  You know, you take a three here and a seven there and you divide and then multiply arbitrarily until you get some date that you can work with.  It’s complete madness.

Alright, so the Bible does contain numbers of symbolic meaning.  You can look up the meaning of three and seven and forty, if you have some time to spare.  Those are some of the most significant ones.  But nowhere is there any indication that one can use these numbers to make any type of accurate prediction about anything.  You see, the problem is that the Bible also contain words, and when you take a word and put it in a sentence it forms a complete thought.  Here, let me show you.

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”  Jesus  (Mark 13:32)   Look at that!  God Himself used words to say that no one knows when the world will end.  But hey, don’t let the words of God get in the way of your search for “hidden codes” lurking between the lines.

Harold Camping is just one asshole, but unfortunately there are others out there, and they make other Christians look like a bunch of… you know.  People who use end times curiosity to sell books and promote their weekly television and radio programs should not be trusted.  I’m looking at you Jack Van Impe, and those guys who wrote the Left Behind series .  I do not denounce their inclusion of the gospel message in their material, but I’m afraid it’s hard for people on the outside to see the love of Christ when it’s covered by a pile of apocalyptic… you know.  More harm than good?  Probably.  Bringing many to Christ?  Probably not.

The Bible does say that the world is going to face a time of really intense turmoil ending in the return of Jesus Himself.  But the Bible is also very clear that we are not to know when that time is.  The early Christians believed the end would happen in their time two-thousand years ago.  It is good to be aware of what is happening in the world,  and I am not saying that the end isn’t coming soon.  It might be.   All I’m saying is that the end isn’t going to happen tomorrow, and jerks who use people’s beliefs and fears and curiosities to turn a profit are assholes who have no love for God in their hearts.

As a side note, I want to address the issue of rapture.  Many Christians believe that they will be taken up into heaven right before the really bad stuff starts happening to the world.  There are other Christians who don’t believe in the rapture.  I personally don’t believe that Christians will be raptured.  Why?  Historically, Christians have had to endure much suffering and torture and persecution, and they had to endure it to the end.  “Easy way outs” don’t seem to fit with God’s character.  Instead, I think it would make sense that followers of Christ remain to face the trails and tribulations along with all others.  That way, in the face of so much suffering, Christians could be a witness to the world of the peace and hope that can only come through Jesus Christ.  That’s not anything you’ll find in the Bible, but it’s my thoughts on what God could do in the last days to bring people to Himself. 

And one last thing.  When Jesus came, He wasn’t the conquering king that the people expected from their messiah.  We have this image of what the end will look like.  I have a feeling that when the end comes, it will look a lot different than what we expect.  That being said, when Jesus returns, you’ll know.  Believe me, you’ll know. 

The Jesus Vaccine

“[Jesus] came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life He has – by what I call ‘good infection’. Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.”- C.S. Lewis

Have you been vaccinated?

A vaccine is a dead or weakened form of a pathogen injected into you in order to build up your body’s immunity.  When the living virus then enters your body, you should be able to fight it off without much trouble.  Because you got used to the dead version, your body hardly responds to the live one.  That’s what has happened to many people when it comes to the person of Jesus Christ.  You’ve been injected so many times over so many years with a dead form of God, how could you ever hope to be affected by the life that comes from the living One?

Every time you sit in a church and listen to a priest, or pastor, or minister speak to you without passion, conviction, or a genuine heart for God, you have just been inoculated.

When you hear on the news that another Christian leader has cheated on his wife, or been exposed in some scandal, you’ve just been given another dose.

When you know someone who calls themselves a Christian, but has no love for God in their heart and lives in no way as Jesus taught, your immunity increases.

When politicians use their “faith” to win votes…

When the name of God is brought low by cursing and tasteless jokes…

When a Christian judges you instead of loving you…

When I do these things, I inoculate you.

The “good infection” is out there.

How sick are you?

Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’  For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  Matthew 9:12-13

Lady Gaga’s Hypocrisy: An Analysis of Judas

A good artist creates things that cannot be easily pinned down or defined.  Like her or hate her, Lady Gaga is a good artist.  Sure, she’s a little quirky with her outfits made entirely of meat, and she says things just to be sensational, but her lyrics are meaningful.  I think you’ll find my analysis of her latest single to be intriguing.

Be sure to watch this video before reading further.

Before I jump into the lyrics, I want to take a closer look at the video itself.  Did you notice that the bike gang is composed of a Christ figure and twelve men representing the twelve disciples?   It’s clear that Lady Gaga wants us to focus on the biblical references, but for what purpose is yet to be determined.  I think it’s an interesting choice to make them bikers.  Bikers are often looked at as unrefined rebels, and you could certainly say the same for the disciples of Jesus.  They were rebels in relation to the established religion of the day, and also rebels in the eyes of the Romans.  Bikers also tend to travel in packs, which is how the disciples mostly moved around.

One observation I have that is of great importance is the relation of Lady Gaga to the Christ figure.  She is constantly near him, and usually clinging to him.  I don’t get the impression that she is portraying the Christ figure as undesirable or false in any way (Lady Gaga has stated that she believes in Jesus and God, but she has a lot of questions).  Actually, I was surprised with how non-offensive this video was.  Well, at least in terms of tearing apart Christianity.  Also, notice how she is usually between the Christ figure and the Judas character.  This has to be symbolic of something she states later in the song, “Jesus is my virtue, but Judas is the demon I cling to.”  She is torn between what she believes is true, and what she feels, which is the desire to rebel and indulge.  Basically, just like in her song,  “Just Dance”,  Lady Gaga is pinpointing the duality of human nature, or, to put it another way, the reality of ambivalence, which paves the way for hypocrisy.

Judas

Lady Gaga

Ohohohoh
I’m in love with Judas, Judas

Ohohohoh
I’m in love with Judas, Judas

Judas! Juda-as Judas! Juda-as
Judas! Juda-as Judas! GAGA

Judas is the disciple of Jesus who betrayed him into the hands of the Romans to be crucified.  His name is synonymous with betrayal, falsehood, and just plain evil.  He was as close to Jesus as one could be, as he spent many miles and days following him.  For Lady Gaga to say that she’s in love with Judas implies that she is attracted to the dark side, or even just attracted to those things that are less than godly.  Note how she ends this section of the song by saying her own name, which may indicate a fusion of identity between her and Judas.  Perhaps she sees herself as a Judas figure. 

[Lady Gaga – Verse 1]
When he comes to me, I am ready
I’ll wash his feet with my hair if he needs
Forgive him when his tongue lies through his brain
Even after three times, he betrays me

There’s a lot going on here.  In the Bible, a woman washes Jesus’ feet with her hair.  And there is a place where Peter, Jesus’ disciple denies him three times, and later Jesus forgives him.  So much of this is actually from the perspective of Christ.  But the first two lines could also be from Lady Gaga’s perspective.  When Jesus comes to her she is ready to show that she loves him by showing him the same kind of affection and reverence as the woman who washed his feet with her hair.  But the quick transition in the next few lines may indicate that Lady Gaga is saying these things of Jesus from her perspective.  That she feels that he has betrayed her somehow, or lied.  Perhaps she is expressing her frustration at how the church has lied to her somehow. 

I’ll bring him down, bring him down, down
A king with no crown, king with no crown

The Jews were expecting a conquering messiah.  They weren’t expecting their savior to die on a cross.  Jesus was a king without a crown, in that he didn’t seek power on earth to rule while he was living here.  I have heard it said that Judas was waiting for Jesus to become that powerful king on earth, but when he realized that he wasn’t going to fill that role, he decided to betray him since he felt betrayed.  This is all speculation, but it fits with an interpretation of the lyrics.  Judas is bringing Christ down because he is a king without a crown, and in his eyes, a false messiah.  Another way to interpret is to continue from the perspective of Lady Gaga from the last stanza, and say that she is bringing Christ down in how she lives, and by what she feels.  Notice that the word down is repeated three times.  The betrayal happens three times.  

[Chorus]

I’m just a Holy Fool, oh baby he’s so cruel
But still I’m in love with Judas, baby
I’m just a Holy Fool, oh baby he’s so cruel
But still I’m in love with Judas, baby

This could actually be from Jesus’ perspective.  Jesus knew Judas’ heart, and it is safe to say that he still loved him regardless.  So Lady Gaga is calling him a Holy Fool for keeping such an evil man close to him.  Or, this could be Lady Gaga acknowledging that she is foolish to love Judas and what he represents, but she can’t help it. 

Ohohohoh
I’m in love with Judas, Judas

Ohohohoh
I’m in love with Judas, Judas

Judas! Juda-as Judas! Juda-as
Judas! Juda-as Judas! GAGA

[Lady Gaga – Verse 2]
I couldn’t love a man so purely
Even prophets forgave his crooked way
I’ve learned love is like a brick you can
Build a house or sink a dead body

I’m honestly a little stumped by the first two lines.  She could be saying that she can’t love a man without also being impure, which is that conflict between holiness and sin.  But the second line puzzles me.  Prophets spoke about one who would betray Jesus, but I don’t see how they forgave him.  Unless she is speaking about Jesus, and implying that Jesus was somehow crooked.  This is possible since much of this song is about loving Judas and to see things from Judas’ perspective would probably paint Jesus in this negative light. 

The last two lines are a little easier to discern.  Love is like a brick in that it can build up or bring down.  Love is what brought Christ to live on earth, but it is also what brought him to the cross.  Love can give meaning to relationships, but it can also lead to tremendous sacrifice and pain.   At the end of the video, Lady Gaga is stoned (or bricked) to death.   Just keep that in mind. 

I’ll bring him down, bring him down, down
A king with no crown, king with no crown

[Chorus]
I’m just a Holy Fool, oh baby he’s so cruel
But still I’m in love with Judas, baby
I’m just a Holy Fool, oh baby he’s so cruel
But still I’m in love with Judas, baby

Ohohohoh
I’m in love with Judas, Judas

Ohohohoh
I’m in love with Judas, Judas

[Bridge]
In the most Biblical sense,
I am beyond repentance
Fame hooker, prostitute wench, vomits her mind
But in the cultural sense
I just speak in future tense
Judas kiss me if offenced,
Or wear an ear condom next time

In the Bible, Judas hanged himself after betraying Jesus.  He felt despair and considered himself beyond repentance.  So, in the most Biblical sense he is beyond repentance because that’s what happens in the Bible.  But Lady Gaga is also speaking from her perspective, since in the next line she lists reasons that she is beyond repentance.  In that sense, she is not correct, since the Bible teaches that no one is beyond repentance.  BUT, we can look at it another way, and for that we need to consider the whole stanza.

In the last four lines she is speaking to the people in our culture.  To say she speaks in future tense is to call herself a cultural prophet.  How is she a prophet?  She identifies the hypocrisy of those who condemn her.  Those who judge her, are supposed to be those who don’t judge.  I am referring to the Christians.  In the second to last line she refers to those hypocrites as Judas because they have betrayed Christ and his teachings.  It is not hard to see how Lady Gaga would arrive at this conclusion since she is an outspoken proponent for gay rights.  From her perspective, many Christians hate and judge homosexuals, which is contrary to what Jesus would have done.  When she tells them to wear an ear condom she is saying many things.  For one, she is telling them not to listen to her if it makes them so disgusted.  She is also poking fun at the issue of abstinence vs. safe sex.  There is controversy among those who believe sex should not be taught in school, and that condoms only promote premarital sex, and those who believe that sex is going to happen anyway so people need to be educated on how to do it without hurting themselves.  Many Conservative Christians largely favor the abstinence policy over the condom use policy, so to tell them to use a condom is a jab.  Finally, AIDs is an issue in the gay community and condom use is meant to prevent the spread of it.   I could be completely off here, but based on some reasonable evidence, I think I’m at least on track. 

I wanna love you,
But something’s pulling me away from you
Jesus is my virtue,
And Judas is the demon I cling to
I cling to

This is the heart of the matter.  There is a conflict between values and actions.  There is a prevalence of hypocrisy among Christians, people in general, and specifically Lady Gaga herself.  We are torn between what is right and what we want. 

[Chorus]
I’m just a Holy Fool, oh baby he’s so cruel
But still I’m in love with Judas, baby
I’m just a Holy Fool, oh baby he’s so cruel
But still I’m in love with Judas, baby

Ohohohoh
I’m in love with Judas, Judas

Ohohohoh
I’m in love with Judas, Judas

Judas! Juda-as Judas! Juda-as
Judas! Juda-as Judas! GAGA

The Stages of My Life Finely Organized

Maybe it’s just how my mind works, but when I think back on my life I can’t help but organize it into various stages.  Let me show you.

The Pre-Memory (Pre-History) Years (Birth-Age 3)

Just like the earth has a pre-history, I have a pre-memory.  These were the years without a personal record.  All that I know of this time I pick up from first-hand accounts, pictures, and videos.  My mother claims I was delightful.

The Origin (Ancient History) Years (Age 3- 4)

This spans from my first memory, of choking on a penny, to my first day of pre-school.  Memories of this time are spotty and especially prone to the influence of stories told by family members.  I do certainly recall watching David the Gnome and eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  Also, I recall my cousins and neighbors playing at my house as well as the presence of Nintendo.

The Preschool Years (Age 4- 5)

This was the first time I left my home for any significant length of time.  These were happy years.  Friends were easily made and there were no social divisions.  I have many memories of this time, and am glad that my first step out into the world was so satisfactory.   A number of people I knew then became my friends throughout the remainder of my public school career.  Also, I got married to twins.  Or, one girl who happened to be a twin.  It wasn’t official.

The Kindergarten Years (Age 5-6)

Another positive experience outside of my home, Kindergarten was an even larger world than preschool.  This was another happy time, and it seemed like smooth sailing for me.

The Dark Age of First Grade (Age 7)

This was the worst year of my life.  I wrote a post about it a while back, so I will post a link here.  Basically, it was my first real exposure to the dark side of existence.  My teacher did not like me (a new concept) and I was a hypochondriac.  If I have any psychological abnormalities you could probably trace it back here. Time flowed slowly.

The Lost Years of Grade School ( Years 3-0 Before the Common Era)  (Age 8-10)

Second through fourth grade were largely uneventful.  Perhaps the major event of this time was my brother going to college.  We shared a room together, and his absence was felt.  This was the first time I would feel the absence of one who had been a constant presence.  Also, I liked a girl named Heather.

The Golden Age of Fifth Grade (Year 1 of the Common Era)  (Age 11)

This was my favorite year of schooling.  I made friends with John Benton, who is still a close friend.  Also, this was the first time I discovered that I liked to write.  This was when I discovered the joy of the written word.  My memories of this time are still strong and significant.   For these reasons, I call this year one of the common era.

The Middle School Years (Middle Ages)  (Age 12-14)

Stuff happened at this time.  I made more friends and movies like The Matrix and The Phantom Menace came out.  I went to dances and I started to think about life in a more philosophical way.  Also, when I was thirteen I became a monster.  That was not my best year.

The High School Years (The Renaissance) (Age 15-18)

I call it the Renaissance because it was a time of self-discovery.  Well, sort of.  I got my license and I became close with many of the friends that I am close with today.  This also was the time of my first girlfriend, which probably deserves its own title and age.  This was also a time in which I developed myself as a writer.  I wrote my first story, Team Justice, which was about Bob Costas and various fictional characters fighting Santa in Willy Wonka’s factory.  And a bunch of other significant things happened.

The Breaking Year (Freshman Year) (Age 19)

My freshman year in college began with a bitter breakup.  It was also a time in which I felt entirely uncomfortable and started to question everything I ever believed.  I call it the breaking year because it was a time of, well, breaking.  Used to a life of consistency and stability, I was finally away from home and faced with the terror of having to really define myself.  It was at this time that I ran into the Navigators.  For the first time, I participated in a bible study.  This was when Dan Kim asked me to meet and pray with him, which was the first time I ever prayed with anyone.  After the breaking, I started to actually follow Jesus.  So really, this was the first year of my walk with Christ.

The Building Year (Sophomore Year) (Age 20)

I call this the building year because it is when I started to build real college friendships and develop spiritually as a Christian.  Jon Vickers and myself played a lot of ping-pong.  Also, I became a better writer.

The Logos Years (Age 21-22)

Developing and working on the Logos magazine is an experience that I cannot confine to this little paragraph.  To sum up, it was both a time of radical maturation in my walk with Christ and a time of great challenges and rewards.  This endeavor was the most significant work of my life thus far, as it combined all of my passions into one tangible entity.  Also, I went to classes and became a better essay writer.  And, my close friendships developed into what they are today.

The Post- Grad Years (The Present)  (Age 23- 24)

This is the time in which I tried to find a direction in life.  I continued to work at the R.V. dealership while searching for some career path.  In the meantime, I wrote on a blog, which I called Thoughts of a Post-Grad English Major.  Then I met a guy named Jared, who asked me to go to his bible study.  This was closely followed by a meeting with Tim Teal.  They were my first new friends of this Post-Grad era.  Tim suggested I switch over to WordPress, which led me to start this blog, Thoughts of a Post-Grad TwentySomething.

Then I cleaned my room.

Soon after, I left facebook for a month and joined e-harmony.

Then I met Nicole Thurling, and Nicole Thurling met me.

Here we are.

What will the next stage be?

Pray For Our President

I didn’t vote for President Obama.  I almost did, but in the end I voted for the candidate that better reflected my position on the issues.  When Obama became President Obama, I wasn’t thrilled.  I didn’t celebrate.  And, honestly, I resigned myself to disliking and disrespecting him.  Here and there I would feed the flames of opposition with some conservative talk radio or something on Fox News, and when I got a chance, made sure to tear him down.   This was how I planned to get through his term in office.   But, I’m growing weary of this same old song and dance, and I’m seeing that as a follower of Jesus and as a citizen of this country I am falling short of my calling.

I have witnessed a phenomenon in which President Obama cannot do anything right in the eyes of many who stand on the right.   I have heard the same people who commended Bush for sticking to his guns when much of the country opposed him, turn around and criticize Obama for not listening to the people while he worked to enact unpopular policies.  I have heard otherwise reasonable people argue that Obama is really a Muslim even though he is a confessed Christian and has spoken about his faith in Christ openly.  I have watched (a few) conservative Christians give reasons as to why Obama may be the Anti-Christ.  Then we have the birth certificate thing, which is a joke.  Thankfully, that was put to rest when the birth certificate was revealed.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “Obama hates America.”    The bottom line is that many people have chosen to hate this man, and unfortunately, many of them are Christians.

Does it have to take a terrible tragedy like 9/11, or the killing of a common enemy like Osama Bin Laden to bring the people of this country together?  Is that really what it takes to get those who disagree with the President to look up to him with respect, and support him?  Is that really where we’re at?  While the country is divided on issues of policy and morality, where are the Christians to lead by example?  Instead of hating the President as our enemy, shouldn’t we instead be loving him and offering our prayers for him and our other leaders?

Which is a greater witness to the person of Jesus Christ, joining in on the day to day Obama bashing, or offering our genuine prayers and support to him even when we disagree with his policies?

I think it’s time for Christians, namely conservative Christians, to acknowledge our deeply ingrained pride and hatred directed at liberals, and above all, President Obama.  I’m not saying our positions on the issues are wrong,  that’s not at all what I’m saying.  All I’m saying is, we’re not serving anyone but ourselves when we engage in this bitter banter.  It’s time we felt uncomfortable in the service of those we oppose.

    “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.  Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.  And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.  But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6: 27-36)

Reacting to Reactions: The Death of Osama Bin Laden

Last night I turned on the television to see in big bold letters, Osama is Dead.  That declaration served as the banner to live footage of people celebrating in the streets by waving flags and marching victoriously.  As I watched this, I thought about the next day.  Would everyone in America join in this celebration of his death, or would there be people condemning the celebration as inappropriate?

At first, all I heard on television and the radio were positive proclamations: we finally got the bastard, and justice is finally served.  Facebook was also brimming over with status updates from overjoyed friends, who expressed themselves without reservation.  For a second I thought, maybe this is one of those things that everyone agrees on.  Maybe it’s like Hitler and the Nazis being evil.  But as the day wore on, I started to see a different reaction.

In the span of an hour I came across the same Martin Luther King Jr. quote three times from three different people,

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”–Martin Luther King, Jr.

A few others echoed this sentiment, and expressed that they didn’t think it was right for people to be celebrating the death of another human being, even if he was Osama Bin Laden; the same Osama Bin Laden who took credit for the murder of thousands of our fellow citizens.

I want to let you into my mind, and more specifically, my thought process as this has unfolded.  At first I thought, this is a good thing.  A sworn enemy of my country, who made it his mission to terrorize and murder, has been taken out of this world.  When I saw the people in the cities marching, I thought that it was an appropriate response.  One reason is that Bin Laden was the face of our enemy.  In a time where things seem to always be gray and there is great disunity, we had at least one common enemy.  Who was about to defend this man?  Someone who makes it his mission to murder you and the people you care about can’t be anything but an enemy.  To see this person killed removes a threat to innocent life.  It is a good thing that this man is dead.

But honestly, I also had thoughts about relativism.  I thought about how many people in this country don’t hold to any solid truths and what’s true for me may not be true to you, and who am I for telling you otherwise?  This led me to consider that Bin Laden and his followers likely believed in what they were doing, just like Hitler and many of the Nazis believed in theirs.  To pass judgment on them requires a greater truth.  If all we have is our own individual truths, what makes that any better than the one the enemy holds?  This concept of truth is very much tied to ideas of Good and Evil.  To live by a certain understanding of what’s true about the world will paint your picture of what is good and what is evil.  Is it good to give women the right to abort their babies, or is that evil?  Is it good to oppose gay marriage, or is that evil for letting your personal morals restrict another human’s freedom?  You see, if this is how you see the world(where no one truth is more true than another), how can you be happy that Osama Bin Laden is dead?  If you’re happy, that must be because you believe that he was evil and you (we) are good.  But he and his followers thought we were evil and they were good.  Clearly, we believe that our truth is greater.  Killing innocent people is wrong, and justice must be served. 

But what about the Martin Luther King Jr. quote?  Are people actually using it to say that we shouldn’t have killed Bin Laden, or are they just saying that we shouldn’t rejoice when our enemy is killed?  I can see a line of reasoning that would lead to the belief that no one should be celebrating this.

If we rejoice when our enemy is killed, it is a declaration that their life is less valuable than our own, and that we are better (more righteous) than them.  The problem with this is that it conflicts with the belief that all human life is of equal value (that whole equality and made in the image of God thing) and it also challenges the call to love our enemies.  How many times have you heard someone in real life or in fiction say, “If we do this, we will be no better than the enemy!”   I have heard some compare the street celebrations over here to the street celebrations that our enemies conduct when we are hurt.  Maybe we should quietly mourn the loss of a human life, while recognizing that this death was for our good?  Is that what we should do?   Or, are we right to cheer when a mass murderer is killed?

I think the problem with getting all philosophical and deep with this is that it misses the simple truths of this whole matter.  There was a man who believed very much that all of us deserved to die.  He believed it so much that he intentionally enacted a plan to murder us.  Thousands of us were killed.  We recognized and agreed that this was evil, and needed to be confronted.  So for ten years we hunted him, and when we found him we killed him.  We didn’t take him in for a fair trial, or attempt to love him so that he would adopt our beliefs about life.  We killed him because he was ready and willing to help kill the innocent people we love.

So was it right to kill him?  Yes.

Should we be celebrating the death of a mass murderer who killed our people?  That’s for you to decide.  But I wouldn’t stop anyone from cheering.