rebelling against low expectations

How should we respond to terrorism?


RACHEL WRITES: In light of the increasing threat of terrorism, and especially in light of what happened in Paris, what should a rebelutionary’s response to terrorism be? How should we respond mentally, in our heads and hearts? What hands-on action, if any, should we take? With what ideology should we combat the ideology of terror? How should we respond, in general?

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are submitted by real rebelutionaries who are looking for godly answers to tough questions and lively conversation with other young adults. You can join the conversation by commenting below. If you'd like to submit your own discussion question, email us at [email protected].


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  • Be vigilant, and be unafraid.

    That’s what Bono of U2 says to the people who are now scared to go to concerts because of what happened in Paris. We can pray for protection from our enemies, but there are a few practical things that we can do.

    (1) Own a gun. It is the most practical weapon to fight off a terrorist. If you have a gun, you are the first line of defense in a hostile situation. You now have the ability to do something about terrorism, and you have the potential to save more lives now than ever.

    (2) Become an activist. Join the NRA. Support our military overseas. Support our police officers (which everyone is loving to hate on right now). The military and the police are our greatest protections against terrorism.

    (3) Learn your state. Learn what the gun laws are in your state. Learn what the beliefs of your state’s leaders are. If they are weak on combating terrorism, start a lobby group to make sure proper safety measures are put in place. If they still won’t change, advocate that they be voted out.

    (4) Lastly, don’t change your habits. If terrorist attacks cause you to change your lifestyle, then they’ve already won. Don’t give them that. If it’s a matter of safety, then fine. But don’t be afraid to go about doing normal activities.

    These may seem like small potatoes, but remember, one voice can start a fire that will spread. William Wilberforce stood all alone for a time while he was fighting slavery, but eventually, more people followed his cause. And now, slavery is nonexistent in the civilized world.

    Hope this helps.

    • Well said. I read through the all the comments and am laughing about how NRA-supportive, Republican we all are. I’m totally all for 2nd Amendment rights too, it’s just funny in a nice way that there are so many of us with the same veiws on guns etc. here. 😀

    • I don’t have many opinions on guns….. but I do know that as an eighth grader I certainly can’t own one, and that my parents don’t ever want one in our house because I have two siblings with disabilities that we would NOT want to have access to a gun.

        • Umm…. that might be a good suggestion for some people, but I don’t do anything sports or fighting related. The closest thing that I’ve done to a sport was ballet when I was 7 😛
          I play piano and violin and do art and writing, which take up…. just about all my free time. So, my over-all opinion is that as a 12 year old, I’m not going to spend my time living in fear.

          • Hey, the pen is mightier than the sword. We’re talking about fighting ideas here, and so art and writing are incredibly powerful (and actually both things I love, too!).

      • We definitely live in a broken world. *nods* ‘Tis hard, for there is no cut and dry answer for everyone. 🙁 That’s why I wanted to see what everyone’s ideas were. Thanks for bringing another point of view to the table. 🙂

      • Then you have made the wise choice! My opinion comes from what I have heard/read/experienced, and I think it is the wise choice to keep guns from the access of people with disabilities. And I didn’t exactly mean that we (as teenagers) should own guns, but we should encourage out parents to for protection, if they don’t already have them. In your family’s case, you still want to be protected. Maybe take a self-defense course as a family. Maybe install a home alarm system. There are other measures you can take besides owning a gun. Owning guns, in my opinion, are just one of the best ways to protect yourself, your family, and your rights. But I understand that others will not share my view. I’m just trying to be helpful.

        But thank you for expressing your view as well. 🙂 I always try to be open to these types of discussions.

  • @martialartists:disqus summed up everything we can do perfectly. So, I hope my advice is helpful.
    1.Trust in God
    2.We should pray for the victims’ families and become brave like what Martial Artist said.
    3. We can start learning how defend ourselves.
    4.Have a weapon with you; so you can protect not only yourself but others as well.

  • Lemme just throw in one thing real quick: remember that Paul was basically a terrorist to Christians at the time when he was saved. So pray for the terrorists as well, that they will repent of their awful deeds and come to Christ. Who knows, maybe one of them will become the next Paul. =)

  • I absolutely love what @martialartists:disqus said and I don’t believe that I can top it but I heard a tip on the radio yesterday that is pretty good. So I thought I would share some simple advice.

    1) PRAY! Praying is always a wonderful thing to do anywhere that you are. No matter what time of day it might be. God is always there. Always remember that.

    2) This is the tip from the radio. I think it was on Frank Beckmann. The tip was to ALWAYS know where the exits are in ANY building. Your church, the mall, the stadium. WHEREVER. You might never need to know where the exits are but it is good to come prepared. I found this tip very helpful and logical.

    I hope these 2 tips will help you in some way, Rachel!


  • Christians need to be firm in what we believe and ready to die for the gospel. We need to know the Word and memorize big chunks of the bible so we can think about and be changed by it. We need to be loving people, which means an attitude of doing what’s best for them even if they kill us for it. We need to obey God no matter the cost. All of this needs to be happening anyway, and terrorism can’t change it. So when the world is crazy, or when things are fine, we keep on the as same we would anyway and God is glorified. God will do what is best so let’s be ready to live or die like that. We’re on a mission that cannot fail, God knows what he’s doing.

  • Maybe I’m totally missing the point here, but I think that we can love the sinner an still hate the sin, to borrow a “way-to-often-used” phrase. God created the person who is acting out of such hate. I hear a lot of Christians hating on Muslim people in general and talking about how they’re all this and that. I lived in the Middle East for a year and I met some lovely people (that I still keep in contact with) that are Muslims. They aren’t all hateful people. Each terrorist was also made in the image of God and can still be saved. God still loves each of them, even though He does not condone their sin.

    • Thank you so much for bringing out that aspect, Stephanie! I live 5 minutes from a huge state university with lots of internationals, and I see Middle Eastern people just about every day. That is almost what makes fighting terrorism so difficult– it’s not the people, it’s the ideology. And that’s why it’s such a fine line to balance. <3

  • I actually wrote about this on facebook a few days ago, after seeing a lot of hateful things posted by people who claim to be Christians.

    “Dear Christian Brothers and Sisters,

    The world is a complicated, scary place right now. We are threatened on many sides. However, we are called to follow Christ’s example, which means to not lash out in fear or hate. Having a political opinion is one thing, but don’t claim you are representing God’s will or displaying Christ-like behavior if you are in open opposition to His teachings. If the only words out of someone’s mouth are words of hate, words that call for death, or words that spit on those that offer charity, then that person does not represent Christ and is actively disobeying Jesus’s own commandments.

    How does Jesus expect us to behave in the midst of all this chaos? Read Luke 6.

    He would expect us to pray for our enemies. “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” Luke 6:28

    He would not expect us to retaliate with violence. “And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.” Luke 6:29

    He would expect us to be charitable. “Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.” Luke 6:30

    He would expect us to love. “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” Luke 6:35

    Jesus lived these commandments in his own life. He sat down to dinner with prostitutes and tax collectors. He ministered to the Samaritans, who were the most hated people-group in his region at that time. He commanded Peter not to raise a sword to the men who had come to arrest him. He forgave those that killed him. He died for those that hated him.

    It’s okay to have an opinion that is counter-cultural. It’s okay to want to protect the ones you love. It’s okay to want to advocate for intelligent politics. It’s not okay to hate. The Bible calls us to love, to forgive, and to share God’s forgiveness with the world. In fact, according to the Bible, if you do not love you do not know God.

    “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8

    Now is the perfect time for Christian’s to display the love of God. Please don’t squander the opportunity, or defile Christ’s name with hate and violence.

    • Definitely important what you said.

      Yet, when people are killed, we can hate that. God hates injustice & so should we.

      Our hearts should break for a hurting world, yet we must boldly love those placed in our lives.

      We are the light of the world, and this dark world really needs some light.

    • So true, @Birdwhisperer! Thank you so much for saying this! We need #prayforisis just as much as #prayforparis. And like Stephanie just said, we hate the sin, not the sinner.

  • I appreciate everyone’s exclamations of compassion for the Muslims. But, let us not forget, that in spite of their pleasant demeanor, they are still also God’s enemies. If anyone, and I mean anyone, who espouses Islam as their religion has a mandate to memorize the Koran, lift it up above God’s a Word, and to hate Christians, the representatives of Christ. Jesus Christ is their anti-Christ. If you are a Muslim and don’t hold to the beliefs of the Koran, then you can’t be a Muslim. We need to quit talking about “radical Islam” separate from the Islam religion. They both have the same Satanic foundation. Yes pray for them, but yoking in friendship with them shows our naïveté in knowing what they are really about.


    • Dear Jean, we live in a secular world. A world where religion, of any type is, depending on who you talk to; “the opiate of the masses” , the “root of all evils”, the outgrowth of cultural ideals, the result of divine providence, the only way to escape suffering, et cetera, et cetera. There are as many perspectives in the world as there are people. And while neither Islam, nor “radical Islam”, nor Sunni Islam, nor Shi´a Islam, nor Wahhabi Islam, or any other religion/cult/system-of-beliefs/whatever-you-want-to-call-it tell the true way to salvation. However, The people who believe in all of the aforementioned are still people. Like you. Like me.

      We were both once sinners in the darkness of despair, and Christ had compassion on us and saved us from the worst fate. Ever. If it were not for the Apostles who shared Jesus´ message with Jews and Gentiles and then that someone shared it with someone else who, over a chain of sharing shared the news with us. And because of that we can be here and speak of Jesus as a real, personal entity that saved us. We are not really better than them, and while I applaud your zeal for God´s righteousness it is not our place to condemn them. If we are to become a “someone” in the chain of evangelism, we must understand these different cultures and ideals and approach them with humility, because, after all we were once blind men in the dark just like they are.

      Sincerely, Laura

      • Dear Laura,

        You speak as if I am unaware of my sinfulness, which I am not. I am eternally grateful for the gift of salvation.

        But we are drowning in this generations message of “Can’t we all get along.” No we cannot. If Christians had a better understanding of scripture, they might feel a greater threat of this force of evil called Islam. We are not called to “understand” these evil religions. We are called to confront these religions with the truth. I honor the man who spoke truth to the terrorist that killed all those people yesterday. Whether he was targeted or not, it was known that he had reached out to this man to bring him to Christ and to question the peacefulness of Islam. He lost his life, but he obviously wasn’t afraid of any man. He did not shirk his responsibility to challenge the man’s beliefs.

        It is very comfortable and easy to sit back and think that grace is being kind and non-confrontive, but it is not. We are to have nothing to do with the evil deeds of darkness and we certainly shouldn’t be labeling God’s enemies our friends.

        Jesus was never quiet in speaking to His enemies and we are to model that. And telling the truth to these people can put your life in danger, just as it did Christ’s.

        With all due respect Laura, I am afraid that this generation that has been fed a fraudulent form of grace will not be prepared in the future. These Muslims are no more lost than the others who are lost. But their goal is to kill every Jew and Christian in a violent way.

        Muslims need to be confronted, not coddled. Unless we ourselves are afraid of their consequences. We are called to share the truth with all. I am not into searching out people to confront, but when I am confronted by one of God’s enemies, I pray that I will have the boldness to speak the hard truth whatever the consequences. We are cheating these people if we don’t.

        If we are consistently studying scripture for the truth, God will give us understanding of good vs. evil. I don’t need to study evil to know evil. It has no traction when the rubber meets the road.

        In Christ Alone,

        • @tmselden:disqus @disqus_cVDZkcdmGh:disqus It’s so hard to find the balance of grace and truth! (That’s half of why I asked this question.) John tells us that “Jesus came… full of grace and truth.” You girls both have excellent points– there is no way that Islam and Christianity can ‘coexist’, but it is so critical to realize that we would be in their place if it were not for the grace of God to us {a thought both amazing and terrifying}.

          And as a last thought 🙂 – To piece together what you are both saying (I think). As Christians and soldiers in the Kingdom of God, we study the Truth with a passion so as to be able to recognize evil. We study evil (more objectively) so as to know how best to confront/handle it. When you know how a Islamic worldview works and why terrorists do what they do, you can 1) better pray for them, and 2) better combat the flaws in the ideology.

          Ultimately, it’s not an “us versus them” battle. It’s a war of Light versus Dark. We need to see God in this, not ourselves. <3

          • Rachel,
            I like what you have to say. And as much as it might be nice to be young, I am a woman of many years. But thanks for thinking so! Keep pursuing the Way, the Truth and the Life. You will be blessed and bless others.

          • Oh okay. See, I was originally going to write ‘you guys’ because that’s just how I often refer to people, but then I figured since you were both female, that might sound weird, which is why I switched it to ‘you girls’. –not trying to imply anything about your level of life experience. 😉 Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on my question!

          • No offense taken. I didn’t tell my age in order to one up anybody on the experience level. The one thing I love about this blog is the intelligence, wisdom and respect shown to others by the younger generation and I so appreciate it. Thanks for your respect. God bless!

        • Dear Ms. Jean (I just realized that you´re older than me),

          I agree completely with what you say about the confrontation of followers of Islam. If we are to be called Christians, it is imperative that we must share the truth which is message of Christ. It is true that I have had little experience with evangelizing Muslims, however, if we are to share the truth with anyone it is necessary to understand what they believe. If I were to share the gospel with someone who only spoke Spanish, I should at least know a few words in Spanish. In the same way, the apostle Paul himself, in one of my favorite sermons in the Bible, took an idol to “the unknown God” and used that to speak about the true God and his Son´s sacrifice in some of the world´s finest rhetoric.

          In my previous comment I did not mean to imply that you were not aware of your own sinfulness. I simply meant that we all are in desperate need of a savior, and we should share as ones who were also in darkness and had others share with us because they saw how flawed our human ideas were and yet, created common basis with us and shared light in a bold, non-passive, voice of truth. Why? Because He loved us first and called us to love others in the same way. I´m sorry that I did not express myself clearly.

          Sincerely trying to seek Truth and often stumbling, Laura.

          • Laura,
            Thank you for your respect. I think we are on the same page as far as sharing Christ with all the lost.

            As far as how you think you might have come across, there is no offense taken. You are an obviously spiritually mature follower of Christ who expresses herself well.

            I, myself, can come across as harsh to some, and if I appeared that way to you, forgive me. I had a radical conversion 37 years ago and I have never looked back. I am a true “lover of righteousness and hater of wickedness” yet totally aware of my own capacity to sin outside the grace of God.

            God bless you and have a wonderful Christmas season.

            Ms. Jean

      • Thank you so much, Laura, for pointing this out. “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy….”

    • Jean,
      Im not sure if I completely agree with you. Im am not an expert on the Islamic religion. However, I am taking a worldviews class, one which includes Islam in its curriculum, as well as Christianity, and compares the two.

      From what I understand, many Muslims believe that Allah (meaning God in Arabic but we can use this to differentiate between the Christian God and the Islamic god) is the same as the True God, the Christian God. Even though they believe Christians are not following the ways of Allah, they (Christians) are on the right “path”. I, for one, disagree with this, which I believe many Christians would. Though you can find some similarities between Allah, God, and their commandments, there are 2 major and many minor differences that I found. 1) Our God is a God of love. Never in the Quran is it mentioned that Allah is a god of love, only a god of war. 2) Our God is made of 3 persons, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost. This is the foundation of our salvation, and the explanation of the Savior, Jesus.

      With these ideas in mind, I, for one, can to a certain extent understand where Muslims are coming from, even though I know that their religion is wrong. Because Muhammad switched so much in his prophecies from being at war to being at peace, he did not leave Muslims a clear understanding of their designated actions in foreign affairs. Muhammad simply turned from war to peace whenever it was more convenient for him. However, he died in a time of war, implying that the good Muslim would conquer all the infidels by the sword.

      Also, no Muslim is made to memorize the Quran. When they do, they are given a certain title, but even then it is only the men. (We must understand that labeling the Islam religion as sexist is an understatement.) The only thing they are made to memorize is this: There is no God but God, Muhammad is the prophet of God. (Shahada, one of the 5 pillars of Islam. )

      Jesus is NOT their anti-christ. In fact, many Muslims believe that Jesus was the perfect prophet. However, they do not believe he was the Son of God. They follow Muhammads prophecies because Muhammad claimed himself the final prophet (conveniently making it impossible for anyone to change his doctrine).

      Muhammad was the main initiator of Islam, compiling many Saudi religions into one. The reason it spread so quickly in a desert void of technology is because of Muhammads crusades. He would take over towns, holding swords to throats unless the person converted to Islam.

      I hope this enlightens you a bit more about the religion of Islam. I want to conclude with this final thought. Jesus wants us to love those who persecute us. I agree that naivete should not be encouraged, but Jesus was not naive.
      The Muslims I have met are in no way hostile, and in no way destructive. Some have even come to my church! Muslims need Christ so much, and there is no way the news of Christ can be given to them if His hands and feet choose to be immobile.

      • Thanks for taking the time to write all this out, @Marie! 🙂 Worldviews are excellent (and a little fascinating in that they affect EVERYTHING else) things to study. It is so key to know the ins and outs of the ideology we are up against if we are to battle it with the ideology of Christ!

      • Marie,

        Nowhere in scripture does it encourage the study of evil. It is unnecessary knowledge in our fight for people’s souls. We are to have nothing to do with the evil deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is the knowledge of the Word that brings us wisdom. A Christian brother once told me that he didn’t think that it was necessary to taste the garbage to know it is garbage. The Bible tells us to taste of The Lord and see His goodness. It is The Lord and His Word that is our salvation. Time is much better spent and the rewards endless if we place our time and resources there.

        The other axis is being totally ignorant of evil. That can be just as bad. But I believe that the knowledge of these religions is shown by what we see them do.

        I know of many young people whose hearts changed as they started studying other religious viewpoints. Remember, the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. Make no provision for the flesh in any activity, whether it be what you read, who you hang with, what you study. The brain is the part of our flesh. Please feed it righteousness and starve it of unrighteousness.

        My viewpoint may not agree with other Christians point of view, but I see things as righteous vs evil. It has been that way since the Garden. If one can justify with God’s Word their choices, they should be on a firm foundation.

        I will pray for you. Thanks for the question.

        In Him,

    • “Our call to war: to love the captive soul, but rage against the captor.” It is important to realize that even while Jesus hated the sin of the tax collectors and prostitutes and certainly did not join them in it, He had compassion on them because “they were like sheep without a shepherd.” So while there should be no confusion with any sort of ‘noble savage’ spin offs, we need to recognize that we are dealing with the terrible brokenness of a world without Christ. Like you said– we needn’t be best friends with them, but definitely pray with the compassion and love of Christ.

    • Miss Jean (I know you’re older than me, so calling you by your first name alone sounds far too familiar :), I appreciate what you’ve said. There is some truth to it in that our world today is far too quick to dismiss any complaint against Islam’s radical element and shout “Islamophobia” at the slightest hint of caution against Islam.

      A friend and I had the pleasure of sharing the gospel with a young Muslim wife in Malawi, Africa, during a missions trip there. Contrary to the Koran, she was not wearing hajib, she had no problem talking to us two Christian young men, and her husband stood right by listening as she questioned us about Jesus and what faith in Him meant.

      My point is this: not all Muslims are radicals; in fact, in this particular case, the woman hardly even knew what “muslim” meant. She was simply calling herself by the religion she knew most about. She wasn’t a radical; there was no hatred for the gospel or for us as Christians. She was a simple village woman who had never heard the gospel before.

      It would be a debate whether or not proper, Islamic interpretation comes to violence as a proper means to an end (there are plenty of Islamic scholars who would argue both ways), but it’s a debate for men much more learned about the Koran and Arabic than I.

      Yes, Muslims are unbelievers. They believe in Jesus as a mere prophet, not as God or Redeemer, they believe in salvation by works granted by a god of fear and war, a false god. Yet they are no more lost than any other lost person. From what I have read from missionaries that have served in Muslim countries (I plan to spend at least a portion of my life in African missions, so relating to Muslims is an important topic to me), relationship and friendship is one of the best ways of making the first step to presenting the gospel to a Muslim. They accept the “false doctrine” Christians teach in a much more friendly, open way from a friend rather than from a stranger.

      I think you are right in much of what you said, Miss Jean. I just wanted to offer a slightly different point of view for anyone reading this thread. You’re right; they need our prayers. They also need our love and our witness.

      • Taylor,
        You are a wise young man. I admire your desire to reach the lost in the Muslim community. I pray God’s blessings on you.

        There are lost people in all religious cultures. And a religious culture can make you feel okay unless servants for Christ tell them the truth.

        I believe that most people that call themselves Muslims are practicing religious culture and ignorant of the real foundations of their faith. In that respect, I wouldn’t call them real Muslims as most would not condone killing people. These people are deceived. And they need to be told of their deception. That can be life threatening to those bearing the message, but they need to be shown the truth if they want to know it.

        I could say the same for any religious culture that relies on traditions rather than the Word of God for their truth. Many are sitting in churches today totally unaware of the true Gospel. I know multitudes of people that call themselves “Christian,” yet do not adhere to the mandates of Christ. They “honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him.” They also need to be told.

        Thank you for your comments and I pray the best for you.

        Sincerely His,
        Miss Jean

        • Yes! The important thing is to watch our heart attitudes/how we come across to make sure we are looking at lost people (whether they be nominal Christians, nominal Muslims, or even ISIS leaders) with humility and compassion, not a ‘you are deceived and need enlightened by me.’ That would be us without Christ. I appreciate your sensitivity to truth!

    • Hi Miss Jean! I know that a lot of people have shared my same feelings and thoughts, but I’d like to share with you a personal story that illustrates their points.
      I’d also like to reply to a comment you made below saying “we (referring to this generation) are drowning in the “can’t we all get along?” message” but I’d like to say that we are as Christian teens are constantly drowned in the common message of being safe and comfortable in your own borders of Christian community is more important than witnessing to the unsaved in love and respect. When Jesus asked us to make disciples of all the earth, I’m sure He meant it. Of course he calls us to be wise about it, but He doesn’t want to isolate ourselves by a mere prejudice and general assumption.
      So, my community is pretty diverse and we have over 50 Muslims that come every now and then to my church. I will you that everyone of them have claimed with complete confidence that what ISIS and all radical Muslims is completely, absolutely wrong and inhuman. I’ve had dinner at their houses and they are more generous than any families I’ve ever encountered. It hurts me when people bash them so in saying that they are all jihadists who are vicious killing machines. I think many match the Muslims they see on Tv with the Muslims at my church. When you have personal experiences with them, you could probably understand why I’m so hurt by this comment. Thank you:)

      • Thank you so much for sharing this personal side of things, @Kate I. I really, really appreciate how you recognize Muslims as individual people– not just one faceless lump. I live 5 minutes from a huge state university with lots of internationals, so I see Muslims all the time. They are definitely people with hearts and souls and feelings just as much as me. It is so important to realize that we are not fighting against a people, but a terrorist ideology.

    • Hello Ms. Jean,
      I’m just wondering, how are we supposed to share the Gospel and the love of Christ with people who are practicing false religions unless we interact and maybe even become friends with them?? I’m not saying we shouldn’t be cautious…I’m just saying it’s often necessary when spreading God’s Word to have a relationship with the people we’re sharing with…

      Secondly, I agree Muslims have messed up beliefs, however, I think it is completely healthy to separate the two Muslim categories. They are both wrong in what they believe, but they are in fact different.
      It’s similar in design to Christian denominations: Church of Christ, Methodist, Pentecostals, and Baptist are all Christians, but all have slightly differing interpretations of the Bible. The basic underlying beliefs remain the same, but some things we believe differently from one another…
      Muslims are Muslims, but their beliefs are different from one another and we can’t look at the whole Islamic religion as one full of haters and people out to get us…Some of them are yes; but others maybe just think they are following “God” and are confused and lost and (like Kate said below me) maybe don’t even know what they believe; they’re just calling themselves a Muslim (just like some Christians)!

      So no, we can’t COMPLETELY separate them, but we can’t completely unify them either. They are different from one another entirely. That’s like trying to 100% unify a the Church of Christ denomination with a Pentecostal…(if you’re familiar with the beliefs of those two denominations, you’ll understand my comparison). Both are Christians, but both understand the Scriptures a little differently.

      • very well said, Megan! I love your comparison. Muslims are not just one lump. They are individuals with different hearts, souls, struggles– just like us.

      • Megan,
        I have no problem with interacting on a cordial level. I am a firm believer that we are “in this world and not of it.” I have been part of many forms of witnessing, be it street preaching, going to the homeless and ministering the Word and feeding the hungry. I am a very vocal person about my faith, but am very careful what I share with whom. Not everyone is in the receptive mode in their hearts so each individual should be approached differently. I am a dedicated follower of Christ and have a deep love for scripture and I try not to “throw pearls to the swine.” A lot of what I do does come from life’s time and experiences.

        I believe one of the most effective witness is our silent witness. Once we profess Christ as our Lord and. Savior, the lost will put us on their radar and will see much more of what you do than what you say. We are told in scriptures to let our words be few. I have sat under some wonderful leaders that were known as great pastors, but to this day, the most prominent memory in my mind is never what they said, but in how they lived.

        My biggest challenge to anyone hoping to minister is to evaluate their lives in light of scripture before taking on the task. Too many are out trying to minister without understanding the great impact their lifestyle has on the lost. Often young people are not ready to witness vocally, but they do have the ability to stay silent and live out their faith. People observe when you don’t know it.

        The name “Christian” has been so tainted by hypocrites in the faith and has done enormous damage to the cause of Christ. Just know that when you profess Christ, you have taken on the biggest challenge in your life to be faithful and if one is too young and not yet skilled in the Word, they would be better off with less words and much action.

        I wish you the best.

        Ms. Jean

        • Thank you for your reply Ms. Jean! I’m really taking what you say to heart and pondering it because you are older and therefore far wiser than I am.

          I’m actually a MK living in Zambia…Granted, I’m very young but my parents have made it their #1 focus to diligently train my brothers and I in God’s Word to be prepared to share the gospel with any and everyone around us. As a young teenage *girl* I have to be extra careful about my surroundings, but we believe the Gospel is for everyone.

          I agree with you, we shouldn’t force anything on anyone…and there are some people who are un-receptive to the Gospel; but we never know until we try! There are some people we have tried to share the gospel with and they shut us down time and time again, so we do the only thing we can do for them: pray and try to shine the light of Christ when we are around them.

          One person I know (in the U.S.) was a graffiti artist and almost murdered someone and you WOULD guess it to look at him…but he has turned his life around ENTIRELY because someone thought to share the GOspel with him! Ultimately, it was God who changed his heart…not the person of course; but GOd’s tool was that person.

          I’m not quick to judge someone by their appearance or even what they do anymore because God can change ANYONE!!! I’m not to judge who the “swine” are. That’s God’s place…My job is to share the Gospel with those around me and ask God for guidance when I’m sharing His truths and in everything else I do.

          Here in Zambia, after a meeting with some high-schoolers at the ministry we work with, a young man came up to me and was asking me all sorts of questions about God, the Bible, prayer, etc… He asked some TOUGH questions (why does God allow bad things to happen? What is the holy spirit’s role in our life? How do I become a christian?..etc…you can read the story on my blog here: if you’re interested). By God’s grace and the diligent training of my parents, I was prepared to answer the questions…though God gave me the words, because sometimes I didn’t know quite how to say something…But God did…I answered all of his questions to the best of my ability trying to do it in a mix of two languages… Afterwards, he wanted to pray with me, and he surrendered his life to Christ that day. I know, as you said, the name “christian” has often been tainted! But month after month I see this young man and every time I see him he brings me a new set of questions he has after reading different parts of the Bible. He also tells me how GOd has been working in his life an how he has been struggling and what he has been learning!

          I say all this to say I know sometimes people aren’t as “mature” in their faith…And I know I’m FAR FAR FAR from having all the answers, but I also agree with the passage in Timothy telling us to let no one look down on us because we are young…And even a new believer can share what God has done in their life!! Maybe they won’t have the answers to those deep questions (there was one he asked i didn’t have the answer to either) but they can at least share what they know!!!

          My parents have encouraged me in discipling this young man..they are always around when I’m talking to him (I’m never alone with a boy), but they want to encourage me in sharing my faith with others!!

          Besides, if God wants to use me, HE’S going to use me no matter my
          state…Because ultimately, when I share the Gospel, it’s not even
’s God and the HOly Spirit in me. Without God, I am nothing…so I
          can’t take credit for anything good!! It’s all the Lord and it shows His power even more when He uses someone like me who has more faults than strengths and stumbles over her too-many-wrods…=P I cant’ do anything good apart from Christ!

          I DO agree with you our silent witness can often be our biggest! I do tend to open my mouth a bit more than I should…anyone who knows me knows that…it’s something I’m working on for sure!!! So I know I’d personally probably be better off using less words in my day-to-day life…But if I am going to speak…and speak a lot, I feel like there is no better subject to discuss than Christ, what he’s done and is doing in my life, and what He can do in the lives of others. I do STRONGLY agree though that a silent witness is indeed a witness; and a strong one at that!

          Thank you again for taking the time to reply to me! I greatly appreciate it!

    • I don’t feel I have much to add; Megan, Kate, Taylor, Faith, and everyone else already did a good job. But I have a verse I would like to share:

      “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolateror slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-11

      (An idolateror is anyone who puts something or someone above God; I feel this should include any religions that are not Christianity.) So, if I understand this verse correctly, it is the people who claim to be Christians, but live in unrepented sin that we should avoid, and the people who do not claim to be Christians but need salvation (which is everyone who is not a true Christian) that we must reach out to.

  • This is something I’ve thought a lot about lately, and talked with my family about.

    First, I think it is important to pray for Muslims and Terrorists, however, just praying for them isn’t necessarily gonna stop them. We should be prepared to protect ourselves and others, as @martialartists:disqus already said. I don’t personally own a real gun (I’m too young), but I do know how to shoot and my dad owns guns. I also know how to take away guns.

    Secondly, be prepared and willing to die for others. Even if you can’t do anything to protect others, be eternally prepared to leave this earth suddenly by making sure that you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior. Be willing to give your life for someone else, because that’s what Jesus did for us. Christians should love as Jesus loved.

    Lastly, support the Military, Police, and other First Responders. The Military and Police are able to provide more safety, and Firefighters and EMTs are gonna be the first to provide medical assistance in the case of an attack. If you’re old enough, find out if you can volunteer in a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), Red Cross, or similar program. Be prepared to provide basic medical assistance.

    • Thanks for the shout out Grace! And same here about the guns. I’m also too young to own one, but my family has them in the house and I am a proficient shooter. And I agree that we need to be willing to lay our lives on the line if necessary, even though we all hope that never comes to pass.

    • Thanks for looking at both the head/heart the hands-on response! I am really appreciating reading over everyone’s comments! 😀

  • A Christian friend showed us a DVD recently. I don’t have its name at the time of writing but someone might be able to source it off the internet or You tube by searching for videos of interviews of Muslims converted to Christianity or similar. Basically, an American Christian pastor invited three ex-Muslim extremists who had become Christians to give their testimonies. The DVD gave me insight into the Muslim mindset and the motivation for their acts of terrorism.

    One of the ex-Muslims described how he had slaughtered a Jew when he was fourteen, and his family had treated him like a hero on his return – because now he could pray 70 other members of his family “into heaven”. According to this ex-Muslim, this is one reason Muslims are extremists.

    After returning from an extremist mission, an extremist’s family throws a celebration party over the slaughter of the innocent “unbelievers”.

    Another ex-Muslim described how a father beheaded his own teenage daughter in front of all of their neighbours after she allegedly flirted with a teenage friend.

    One of the ex-Muslims on the DVD was beaten badly by a mob of Muslims for admitting that he was reading the Bible and his mother approved of the bashing.

    According to these ex-Muslims it is really hard for a Muslim to accept that salvation is a free gift through Jesus . They are taught from an early age that salvation must be earned through extreme acts or the prayers of an extremist.

    Perhaps the question is not how should we respond to terrorism? But rather, how do we respond to spiritually motivated acts of terrorism by non-Christians?

    Jesus instructed us to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors. But he also made a whip and used it against the money-changers who had infiltrated the temple and were preventing true worship and healing.

  • I haven’t read any of the other comments yet…and I don’t feel like I have the complete answer, but here’s what I know from Scripture:
    1) love our enemies (Luke 6:27-28; Mt. 5:44)
    2) Pray for those who persecute us ^^
    3) We are blessed when we are persecuted for our faith. We should never give in.. (Mt. 5: 10-11; Eph. 6:10)
    4) we should strive to be peacemakers…not peacebreakers (BUT i don’t mean we shouldn’t stand up for ourselves! I just mean we shouldn’t SEEK to stir up trouble) (Rom. 12:18; Mt. 5:9)
    5) Be strong in the Lord! We are weak, but through Him we are strong and can defeat any “giant” (Eph. 6:10; Phil. 4:13)

    To answer your question about any “hands on” response, God clearly called people to battle and hands on combat in Scripture. He doesn’t (like i said above) want us to create strife and chaos, but sometimes others create it and we have to combat it. We need to seek the Lord to guide us as Christians in our response to this…I don’t really *know* the answer to this “hands on” question, but I for sure don’t feel like it’s entirely wrong. To defend ourselves or others and to defend Christ and His morals, I strongly believe hands on action is acceptable.

    • Okay, so after reading some of the comments and debates in them, I want to point out that I agree not all Muslims are terrorists/radicals. I live in a country where there are many Muslims; and while I disagree with their beliefs, I still love the people…just because they are a muslim does NOT make them a terrorist…I’m simply directing my comment at the question asked which was about at terrorists. I’m not talking about the non-terrorist Muslims or anything about them…I’m simply talking about terrorists here.

  • Wow, this is SUCH a controversial topic. I know a guy online who drives me nuts because any time that I talk with him, he sends “emoji person wearing a turban” + “Eiffel tower emoji” or “random building emoji” = “bomb emoji”. This drives me crazy, because I do not agree with his opinion that all muslims want to kill and need to be punished. I agree completely with Stehanie on how we should be praying for the muslims just the same as we would for any other non-believers. And most importantly, I believe that not all muslims are violent. (This is the debate that I have had more than once with the guy I mentioned above.)

    • Ugh! That’s is just immature [what that guy is doing]. Grace and truth, people! I’m sorry this has stirred up so much controversy here. 🙁

    • Excuse me sir, but I disagree. While we should defend ourselves from terrorists, that does not mean we should not try to love them.

    • With all due respect, I disagree. Even if we were to disagree on that particular verse, there are still plenty of verses throughout Scripture that command us to love the world and to do good to them that spitefully use you. We don’t need Matt. 5:44 in order to prove that we should love even terrorists. As emulators of Christ who voices His love for all creation, we are to follow in His ways.

    • I am with Taylor and Martial Artist below. I’d just like to add that I think your hate for radical Muslims comes from your fear of them. I can say with confidence that we have nothing to fear. Christ has swallowed up death. Death has no sting. If terrorists come to kill you, do you not have faith in the resurrection and power of Christ’s death? I’d rather die and knowing that I spoke to my murderer and telling them of Christ, than live and cursing my enemies and hating them. We are ambassadors of Christ that voice His name in humility and love.

    • Dennis, Jesus told us to love our enemies, and He didn’t say there were any exceptions. He is MUCH more powerful than terrorists, and if you believe He is all-powerful, you have no reason to be afraid of them.
      Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world! What do you think Jesus meant when He said to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, bless those who curse us, and do good to those who hate us? If He didn’t mean terrorists–the people who are against us, persecute us, curse us, and hate us–I don’t know who else could be considered an enemy!

      • Amanda and others: In my paper (see link in my original comment), I answer objections brought up so far (like who is the enemy, no exceptions in Jesus saying, and saying means no self-defense) all in the context of the Sermon on the Mount. I encourage you to completely read my paper (instead of guessing what I believe) because it is too much detail to enter in these comments. Then send me feedback via e-mail (my e-mail address is on the cover page) and let me know where you think my exegesis or logic is incorrect.

        • Another thing I wanted to point out was that the people you quoted appeared to think Jesus tends to exaggerate when He taught or gave commands. However, we have to remember that He spent His time with common, uneducated people, not scholars. I don’t believe He meant to have us sit and evaluate His words and explain or interpret them. Considering who He was originally talking to, I believe He said what He meant and meant what He said, speaking plainly so people could understand Him. I don’t see a reason for us to decide 2,000 years later that He was exaggerating because we don’t want to love the people who are hardest to love.

          • Amanda: If you are saying that we take all of Jesus’ sayings from the Sermon on the Mount at face value and in isolation to whatever else he said and not allow any hyperbole or qualification, then do you really believe Jesus wanted people to gouge out their eyes (Matt. 5:29) or cut off their hand (Matt. 5:30) if they sin and that he wanted them to hate their family (Luke 14:26)? If you reply “no, that is not what Jesus meant”, then guess what: You are applying some wisdom and qualifications to what Jesus said and that is what I am saying that you should do to the “love your enemies” saying.

          • Yes, of course He meant those things. Why else would He have said them? He wants us to get rid of anything that causes us to sin. About the hate your family thing, He wants us to love Him so much that in comparison our love for our families would look like hate. He wants us to put Him so far above them that we would be willing to leave them for His sake.

          • Amanda: When you say “of course He meant those things” you are saying that Jesus wanted people to literally gouge out their eyes and cut off their hand to prevent them from sinning anymore. That is an interesting, but disturbing, view of Jesus because that makes him pretty barbaric and not worth following, in my opinion. I have never heard of any scholar, even liberal or atheist, taking that view of Jesus.

            It is interesting that you used my example of “hating”
            family (Luke 14:26) to substantiate your point of interpreting Jesus literally instead of using my other examples of the gouging out of eyes (Matt. 5:29) and cutting off of the hand (Matt. 5:30) because I think Matt. 5:29-30 are clearer examples of why we shouldn’t take
            those sayings literally. However, even your explanation of Luke 14:26 is not a literal interpretation. You explain
            that “hate” means that Jesus “wants us to put Him so far above them [family] that we would be willing to leave them for His sake.” I happen to agree with that interpretation of
            Luke 14:26 (which I included in my paper), but notice that it is not a literal interpretation of “hate”. “Hate” means “hate”. So that interpretation you gave does not support your claim that we should take all of Jesus’ sayings literally.

            When you state “Why else would He have said them?” it is evident that you are missing a piece of the puzzle in interpreting the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus spoke in hyperbole because it was a common rabbinic tradition to do so. I hinted at this in my paper when I quoted Metzger, a NT scholar: “Along with his contemporaries Jesus delighted in sharp contrasts and extreme tatements—what the rhetorician calls hyperbole and exaggeration.” By
            “contemporaries”, Metzger was referring to the rabbinic tradition. You should Google this topic to get more
            information, but briefly, rabbis often spoke in extremes to make a point. The point Jesus was making in Matt. 5:29-30
            is that one should avoid sin in every possible way and remove items in your life that could cause you to sin. So
            Jesus sounded like many other rabbis who said extreme things to reinforce the importance of their teaching. People took these teachings seriously, but knew they were overstatements for effect. That is why you don’t have examples of early Christians who had gouged out their eyes or cut off their hands. They understood that Jesus did not mean this literally.

            Other people: If you are reading this comment/reply trail
            and can’t find the link to my paper I reference, here is the link:

          • Jesus was not a normal Jewish rabbi, He was the Son of God. He had the authority to say whatever He wanted to. Do you believe that? He didn’t need to follow our human traditions; in fact, He condemned the religious leaders and their ways of doing things!

            I have always been taught to take God’s Word literally. I don’t think it’s right for us to sit and analyze what Jesus said and try to find ways to avoid doing what He told us to. God said it, I believe it.

            Jesus is the opposite of barbaric! He wants us to get rid of everything that causes us to sin. Isn’t that a good thing? And He is absolutely worth following. I really hope you know that, Dennis.

            Overstatements for effect…so we don’t have to love our neighbors quite as much as we love ourselves? Not many people come to the Father except through Jesus? We don’t have to completely deny ourselves to follow Him, just mostly?

          • Amanda: You are correct, Jesus was not a normal rabbi, but he used some rabbinic techniques. Remember that the incarnation means that Jesus was fully God AND fully man. Yes, I believe he had the authority to say what he wanted. However, I have never met anyone like you who believed that Jesus wanted people to literally cut off their hand or gouge out their eyes to prevent them from sinning. Since we are all sinners, explain to me why we don’t have an historical trail of early Christians who gouged out their eyes or cut off their hands? We don’t because early Christians, closest to Jesus, knew that he did not mean that literally. Surely, if your interpretation is correct, then we should have some Christians who did that. Don’t confuse the issue by assuming that everything that Jesus said was hyperbole. That is not what I am saying. You seem to be opposed to New Testament (NT) scholarship on this issue. I just hope that you will not mutilate yourself in this manner thinking that you are following Jesus’ command because you are misinterpreting Jesus. As I stated in my previous response, I do not know of one scholar who takes your view on this. Also, you totally ignored and did not respond to my criticism that you did not interpret Luke 14:26 literally. I don’t think it is worthwhile to continue this conversation via the web since we are getting nowhere. You are just restating your position and ignoring anything I am saying to defend my position, which, BTW, is the consensus among scholars. However, if you want to continue this, I will give you the option of communicating with me via e-mail. My e-mail address is on the cover page of my paper. If you decide not to, then Merry Christmas and good luck in your view of a “literal” interpretation of the NT.

          • Dennis, please don’t put me down like that. We need to respect each other even if we disagree.

            By the way, the reason I haven’t emailed you is because I don’t think my parents would allow me to, and because this is a discussion page and it’s okay to have discussions on it. Also, if someone else has something to say that would be valuable to our argument, they can add it here.

            I just read a few articles:




            Now I understand a little better what Jesus meant, and He probably didn’t want us to actually mutilate our bodies. I’ll give you that. However, I still do not think Jesus was exaggerating or using hyperbole to prove a point. That is an incorrect explanation for why He said these things. Jesus meant what He said and said what He meant. The first article does a great job explaining this. Obviously your ideas are not the consensus among all scholars!

            We have strayed from the point a bit. We were talking about whether “love your enemies” applies to terrorists, but you brought up the hatred of family and self-mutilation.

            Before returning to the question of loving our enemies, I’ll say something about hating your family. I didn’t answer that in my last comment because I hadn’t done research on it yet. Don’t assume I was shying away from it! I’m not afraid.

            Here are some articles I read about that:




            I would say that this is still a literal interpretation of Jesus’ words. He was serious. We are to love Him infinitely more than anyone or anything else.

            Now to our original question: should Christians love the members of ISIS and other terrorists?

            RELEVANT Magazine has an amazing article on this:


            The reason I give you so many links is because I want you to know I’m not the only one who believes what I believe. You can’t say I came up with this stuff on my own.

            As I said earlier, Jesus did not exaggerate. He wants us to love our enemies, literally. And He doesn’t just mean annoying people–He means enemies. There are countless Bible verses that command us to love everyone and be a witness to everyone. Just because you don’t want to love terrorists or you are afraid of them doesn’t change the fact that Jesus has commanded it. Believe me, it isn’t easy to love them, and I don’t naturally want to! But I think it’s wrong to look for a way out by finding people who think Jesus exaggerated when He taught or He didn’t mean what He said.

          • He kinda did… much of it is in the eye of the reader. I could see where he could have said exactly what he said with on intention to offend. If I were in Amanda’s shoes, that response would probably have escalated my level of discussion from friendly discussion to debate mode. 🙂

          • Amanda: At your request, I’ll try the replies at this web site a little longer to see if they are productive. If others read them, then you are right, they are better than just e-mails between us. On the other hand, my comments run extremely long and I don’t know if there is a limit on the number of words.

            I can see how you could take what I last replied as a “put down”. I guess it was a put down, in a sense, because I just don’t know how to reach common ground with someone who says that what Jesus said and meant in Matt. 5:29-30 is that we should literally gouge out our eyes and cut off our hands to prevent us from sinning. That is barbaric and is on the level of what ISIS would do to people they capture. I think your comment “Obviously your ideas are not the consensus among all scholars!” was a reference to my repeated comment that no scholar (even liberal or atheist) believed that Jesus thought people should literally do these mutilations. I still believe that.

            Based on your last response, I think we are using words differently. When I use “literal”, I mean what is commonly meant by that word, i.e. “taking words in their usual or most basic sense without metaphor or allegory.” So when I refer to a literal interpretation of Matt. 5:29-30, I mean that Jesus said and meant that we should literally gouge out our eyes and chop off our hands to prevent sinning. You kept replying that Jesus “said what He meant and meant what He said”.
            So I thought you believed in this literal interpretation as I have defined it, and I couldn’t understand why you believed that. You now say “Now I understand a little better what Jesus meant, and He probably didn’t want us to actually mutilate our bodies.” I’m happy that we are finally in agreement on this point.

            However, I think we still disagree about the use of the words “literal” in reference to Matt. 5:29-30. You state in your last
            response: “Jesus meant what He said and said what He meant. The first article does a great job explaining this.”
            I looked at that article ( In that article, Paul Ellis expresses his belief that Jesus did not use hyperbole. He states: “Jesus never exaggerated. Preachers sometimes exaggerate to make a point but Jesus always meant what He said and said what He meant. He is Truth personified.” It seems like you follow Ellis and think that exaggeration/hyperbole is lying and beneath what Jesus would do. I don’t take that viewpoint. I follow the many scholars who believe that Jesus, esp. in the Sermon on the Mount, used effectively the rabbinic technique of hyperbole. He wasn’t lying by using that technique because people knew the rabbis did not mean it literally. However, if you object to the word “hyperbole”, then use the phrase “figurative language” to describe the language in Matt. 5:29-30. Hyperbole is a type of figurative language. The point is that Jesus did not intend for the sayings of gouging out eyes and chopping off hands to be taken literally. In this article, Ellis seems to be saying that Jesus wants his Mat. 5:29-30 saying to be taken literally (because Jesus is teaching the high demands of the law) and also to be taken figuratively
            (because he is also teaching the grace of salvation through Jesus’ sacrificial work). I think the law vs. grace tension
            is in the Sermon on the Mount, but I personally wouldn’t try to explain it by trying to have it both ways, i.e. literal and non-literal meanings of Jesus’ sayings, because that is confusing and contradictory. “Literal” is mutually exclusive of “figurative” by definition. Figurative means “departing from a literal use of words”. So one cannot say that you can interpret a verse in the Bible (or any statement for that matter) literally and figuratively at the same time.

            The authors of your second link ( and your third link ( argue for a non-literal, figurative interpretation of Matt. 5:29-30. I agree with that.

            Regarding “hating” of family, you listed some links and said “I would say that this is still a literal interpretation of Jesus’ words. He was serious. We are to love Him infinitely more than anyone or anything else.” But “literal” does not mean
            “serious”. As defined earlier, it means “taking words in their usual or most basic sense without metaphor or allegory.” Here is the verse in question: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person
            cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26). The word in
            question is “hate”. So a literal interpretation of that verse is that we are to really and actually hate these people listed, including ourselves. I agree with your interpretation that “we are to love Jesus infinitely more than anyone or anything else.” but that is not a literal interpretation of that verse. The three links you list make that point. Therefore, my point is that one must interpret that verse as hyperbole, or “figuratively” if you prefer that term, just like Matt. 5:29-30.

            You state “We have strayed from the point a bit. We
            were talking about whether ‘love your enemies’ applies to terrorists, but you brought up the hatred of family and self-mutilation.” You actually started this string of replies
            with your comment beginning with “Another thing I wanted to point out was that the people you quoted [in my paper] appeared to think Jesus tends to exaggerate when He taught or gave commands…..”

            You state: “Jesus did not exaggerate. He wants us to
            love our enemies, literally. And He doesn’t just mean annoying people–He means enemies.” You misread my
            paper. The point I made about hyperbole was in reference to the inconsistency in the method that pacifists use for
            Sermon on the Mount ethics. I said the claim made by many pacifists that because Jesus did not state any qualifications or exceptions in his command to “love your enemies,” then there are no qualifications or exceptions fails to understand Jesus’ method of teaching. I then cited Matt. 5:29-30 as an example of how a pacifist would not take that literally. The following are the main points I made about “love your enemies” in Matt. 5:44: (1) primary meaning applied to the Roman occupation of Palestine in 1st century. (2) any application of that verse for today should use some qualifications and wisdom, e.g. it doesn’t mean to not kill someone (terrorist or anyone else) trying to kill you or other innocent people if you have a chance to kill them. In other
            words, I disagree with the pacifists who say that even self-defense is prohibited by this verse. (3) there is an application of this verse for today for enemies who are not trying to kill us.

            For anyone else reading my reply: Do not try to judge my paper based on the content of these replies. Please read it for yourself posted here:

          • You don’t need to keep arguing about the cutting off body parts, because I just told you I agree with you on that.

            I must not be a pacifist, because I certainly disagree with the claim that we shouldn’t defend ourselves against terrorists. You can’t lump me together with people who say that. As I said earlier in our discussion, there is a difference between loving someone and sitting and letting them kill you!

            Certainly there is an application today for those who are not trying to kill us, but there is also application to those who are.

            Your paragraphs about literal vs. figurative were a bit dizzying for me; I didn’t quite follow all that, but let’s talk about the truth rather than getting hung up on the name we use for our method of interpreting it. Apparently I don’t take everything completely literally.

            Sure, Jesus may have used figures of speech from time to time, but He didn’t exaggerate–when I say exaggerate or hyperbole, I’m talking about making something sound bigger than it actually is, like telling us we should love our neighbors and enemies but setting it up more as an ideal than a real command.

            Perhaps I did misread part of your paper, but I see you listed enemies as:

            People with whom you work who treat you bad or are difficult to work with
            Your boss who makes your life miserable
            Your neighbor who disrupts your life – e.g. her dog barks constantly

            And I don’t think that was everyone who Jesus was talking about. If you think He meant Romans occupying Palestine, weren’t they enemies who wanted to kill and conquer?

            I may have been the one to bring up those other issues, I don’t remember. Regardless, we had strayed from the point.

            If you are speaking the truth, speak the truth in love. That’s a command from the Bible too. You don’t need to put anyone down even if they do think they’re supposed to cut off their hands or gouge their eyes out.

          • Amanda: I’ll first comment on the following two comments
            of yours:
            1. “You don’t need to keep arguing about the cutting off body parts, because I just told you I agree with you on that.”
            2. “Your paragraphs about literal vs. figurative were a bit dizzying for me; I didn’t quite follow all that, but let’s talk about the truth rather than getting hung up on the name we use for our method of interpreting it. Apparently I don’t
            take everything completely literally.”
            My response:
            Correct terminology matters quite a bit when discussing the Bible. If you pick up any book on biblical hermeneutics
            (interpretation), you will see a discussion of literal vs. figurative meaning. This is not just a personal matter of
            “getting hung up on the name” and we can call it what we want because if you enter discussions about the Bible then you must use the correct terminology or you will end up not understanding the other person. When we started the replies back and forth, I thought you were familiar with this terminology. That is why it took many replies back and
            forth for me to realize that you were not using “literal
            interpretation” correctly. I recommend checking a book out of the library on biblical hermeneutics and reading it to see what I mean.

            Regarding your comment: ” I must not be a pacifist, because I certainly disagree with the claim that we shouldn’t defend ourselves against terrorists. You can’t lump me together with people who say that. As I said earlier in our discussion, there is a difference between loving someone and sitting and letting them kill you!”

            My response:
            I did not think I was lumping you with pacifists. I was just summarizing the main points in my paper relating to the “love your enemies” saying.

            Regarding your comment: ” Sure, Jesus may have used figures of speech from time to time, but He didn’t exaggerate–when I say exaggerate or hyperbole, I’m talking about making something sound bigger than it actually is, like telling us we should love our neighbors and enemies but setting it up more as an ideal than a real command.” I respond as
            1. Hyperbole means “exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.” I think Jesus did use hyperbole in Matt. 5:29-30 & Luke 14:26 per my previous posts. I said there that you can use the word “figurative” if you want. But in any case, those verses should not be taken literally.
            2. I mentioned in my previous post that I did not apply hyperbole to the “love your enemies” saying (Matt. 5:44) in my paper.
            3. I did say that the “love your enemies” saying in the context of Matt. 5:43-48 was presented as an ideal ethic or goal in its context. I think my exegesis of that context in my paper substantiates my claim.

            Regarding your comments: “Perhaps I did misread part of your paper, but I see you listed enemies as: People with whom you work who treat you bad or are difficult to work with; Your boss who makes your life miserable; Your neighbor who disrupts your life – e.g. her dog barks constantly And I don’t think that was everyone who Jesus was talking about. If you think He meant Romans occupying Palestine, weren’t they enemies who wanted to kill and
            conquer?” I have this to say:
            1. Those are just examples under the category of personal enemies who are not trying to kill you. Yes, there are many
            more examples.
            2. The primary application of “love your enemies” was to the Roman occupation. As the detail in the link to Wink (in Works cited) shows, it was a way for the Jews to react nonviolently to the Romans. Jesus did not want to argue for armed resistance because the Jews would have been slaughtered. Therefore, the examples of how they turned the other cheek, walked the extra mile, and gave the undergarment were ways to show their human dignity to the Romans. We in the US are not under an oppressive government like Rome. The terrorists that attack us are not part of our government. Therefore, it is a totally different situation today.

            Regarding your comment ” If you are speaking the truth, speak the truth in love. That’s a command from the Bible too. You don’t need to put anyone down even if they do think they’re supposed to cut off their hands or gouge their
            eyes out.” I respond as follows:

            1. I partially disagree. Someone who goes to that extreme of saying that Jesus wants us to practice body mutilation should be corrected without sugar-coating it. I agree with you on general doctrinal issues not of that magnitude.
            2. Read all of the biblical passages in my paper in which Jesus and Paul condemned or cursed the enemy in the harshest language.

          • I never said anything against condemning what our enemies do. Of course we should do that. I’m saying we should love them because Jesus told us to.

            Yes, we should correct people who think those things, but there is a difference between sugar coating it and saying it lovingly. You are doing neither, in my opinion. We shouldn’t sugar coat things, but we do not need to put people down. I don’t understand why you disagree, but oh well. I forgive you for not being the nicest all the time because I have a hard time controlling myself too. It is hard to be gentle when you are convinced someone is in the wrong! I’m trying to show God’s love to you too, though I don’t consider you an enemy but a brother.

            Our situation is different, but you avoided my question of whether the Romans wanted to kill and conquer the Jews. If so, then if He meant they should love the Romans, He meant we should love people who try to kill us.

            We aren’t under an oppressive government, but we could be soon. Why does it matter if it comes from the government or somewhere else?

            I am leaving for Uganda, East Africa on a mission trip in two days, so we should wrap this up. Clearly you are convinced that I am wrong and I am convinced that you have a few things wrong. We will find out on the other side. Meanwhile, I love the members of ISIS, and you hate them.

          • Amanda:

            Regarding your comment: “I love the members of ISIS, and you hate them.”

            My reply: What actions of “love” do you/would you show to ISIS? If you say that you would pray for them that they will stop the killing of innocent people, then I do that now. Since you say that you are not a pacifist, then I think you would kill an ISIS member (if you could) to defend yourself and other innocent people if an ISIS member started shooting people with an assault weapon. (In the pacifist’s mind, doing that would NOT be showing love for them.) So I would be interested in a list of ways you show love for ISIS. You may be surprised that I would agree with some, like prayer.

            Regarding your comment: “Yes, we should correct people who think those things, but there is a difference between
            sugar coating it and saying it lovingly. You are doing neither, in my opinion. We shouldn’t sugar coat things, but we do not need to put people down. I don’t understand why you disagree, but oh well. I forgive you for not being the
            nicest all the time because I have a hard time controlling myself too. It is hard to be gentle when you are convinced someone is in the wrong! I’m trying to show God’s love to you too, though I don’t consider you an enemy but a brother.”

            My reply: When you first starting commenting that you take what Jesus said in Matt. 5:29-30 (gouge out eye, cut off hand) “literally”, I did think that was a barbaric view of Jesus and even on the level of something that ISIS would do to
            the people they capture. I even stated that in a response. So my rhetoric was harsh because I thought that was a view of Christ which would definitely turn people away from Christianity, and I wanted to quickly correct that view. I guess I could have been nicer in my wording. So I apologize for that. But in my view, this was not one of the many Christian
            doctrines that people can discuss lovingly but not divide over because it affects the kind of ethics Jesus taught and what kind of person He was. As I commented in one of my replies, if Jesus meant that stuff literally, then I don’t think He is worth following because I know I won’t gouge out my eye or cut off my hand and wouldn’t encourage others to do so. My rhetoric escalated when you said that you didn’t believe in that bodily mutilation either but you still took Jesus’ words literally. I then did not know what you were saying. Finally, after many replies back and forth, I realized that you were not using the words “literal interpretation” correctly. So I think I now understand your position and hope you now understand that Matt. 5:29-30 should not be taken literally but figuratively. I personally still prefer the term “hyperbole” to describe this type of figurative language. By the way, find any book on biblical hermeneutics and look at the Bible verses that the author cites for examples of hyperbole. I will bet one will be Matt. 5:29-30. Also, I don’t consider you to be an enemy

            Regarding your comment: “Our situation is different, but you avoided my question of whether the Romans wanted to kill and conquer the Jews. If so, then if He meant they should love the Romans, He meant we should love people who try to kill us.”

            My reply: The examples Jesus gave (turn other cheek, go extra mile, give garment) were examples of how the Jews could prevent the Romans from trying to kill them while they lived under Roman occupation. If they did something different in these examples (like striking back when they were slapped or refusing to go extra mile), then the Romans would have probably killed them. So to your point, there situation was showing acts of love to people who could kill them. Remember that the Jews linked the loving or helping enemies with action, per Ex. 23:4-5 & Prov. 25:21-22 that I mention in my paper. But notice that Jesus did not specifically address self-defense in the Sermon on the Mount. For example, what if a Roman still tried to kill a Jew even though the Jew took steps to prevent it? Would Jesus want the Jew to stand by and let himself and his family to be killed without attempting to stop it? One can only guess. Of course, the pacifist would say “yes because this is showing love.” But I would think that Jesus would want the Jew to apply some wisdom in that situation as I explained in my paper.

            Regarding your comment: “We aren’t under an oppressive government, but we could be soon. Why does it matter if it comes from the government or somewhere else?”

            My reply: It mattered to the Jews because if they mounted an armed resistance to the Romans, then they would have been
            slaughtered. There were Jewish groups at that time who wanted Jesus to lead a revolt against Rome, but instead, Jesus described in the Sermon on the Mount (SM), how the Jews can live under Roman occupation and still love their enemy. As I stated in my paper, one has to make a case for applying the SM ethics today. There may be some SM principles to use under repressive governments today (like North Korea), but I wouldn’t want to state that dogmatically.

          • As I said at the beginning of our discussion, I think our main difference is our definition of “love.” You seem to think that when we say we should love terrorists we mean we are pacifists and don’t think we should fight back. When I say we need to love them, I mean we need to recognize them as fellow human beings, created in the image of God, who need Jesus just as desperately as we do. I mean we need to see them as lost souls who need to be reached, and we should pray for their salvation. Perhaps we didn’t disagree after all.

          • Amanda: I agree with what you said. So I guess we don’t disagree on that definition of what it means to “love” ISIS. I mostly targeted the pacifists in my paper. They add a lot of additional “love” criteria to what you said, and I disagree with that additional stuff. Well, maybe one good thing that came out of all of these replies was some clarification of literal, figurative, and hyperbole as these relate to the Bible.

          • Yes, I can see that’s who you were talking to. I would still disagree with your original statement that saying “love your enemies” with regard to terrorists is a misuse of the verse. We do need to love them, as you just agreed.

          • Amanda: I phrased my first comment like I did based on how Rachel phrased the topic. She said: “In light of the increasing threat of terrorism, and especially in light of what happened in Paris, what should a rebelutionary’s response to terrorism be? How should we respond mentally, in our heads and hearts? What hands-on action, if any, should we take? With what ideology should we combat the ideology of terror? How should we respond, in general?”

            So I had in mind the Paris attacks and what pacifists were saying on other websites about the Paris attacks when I phrased my first comment like I did. I also meant it to be a teaser to get people to read my paper. What many pacifists were saying (and still do) is that we can lift that “love your enemies” verse from the Sermon on the Mount and apply it to ISIS attacks as a universal ethic of nonviolence without qualification and irrespective of the historical context of the Sermon on the Mount. To do that is a misuse of that verse as I explained in my paper.

          • I see. You probably should have explained that in your original comment. You still could edit it. You saw how it came across to me–it can seriously be misread the way you worded it.

            Well, I’m flying out tomorrow, so let’s finish up here.

          • Amanda: Here is my original comment: “One thing we should NOT do in response to terrorism is to quote “love your enemies” (Matt. 5:44). It is a misuse of that verse to view it as the Christian response to terrorists. If you want to know the true meaning of that verse within its context, see my paper at the following link:
            I still agree with the way I stated it since I pointed to my paper for the details of what I meant. You interpreted that comment one way based on your frame of mind. Others may have interpreted it differently. However, if one read my paper, then they would know what I meant, or if not, they would respond (like you did) by asking for clarification on certain points.

          • Many people would not click on your link, much less thoroughly read that long paper.

            I disagree that “it is a misuse of that verse to view it as the Christian response to terrorists.” That statement assumes that everyone who says we should love them is saying we shouldn’t fight them back.

          • Okay, then we will end with a disagreement. I think one should read my paper based on previously cited reasons. The format of the replies at this and other websites does not facilitate a comprehensive response by just using the allotted text. So I think a reference to a paper is appropriate. Have a nice flight.

          • Darn, a debate, and I missed it. 😉 Just saying, most evangelical pastors/teachers agree that Jesus didn’t want us to literally mutilate ourselves. My pastor says that self-mutilation is not the answer to sin problems. Other than that I’ve totally agreed with what you’ve said about loving your enemies lol =)

  • I do trust God that he will do his will for us but I am a little scared that bombing will happen here!

  • We should trust God, but we should also fight it,
    Some of my friends were joking around that if they showed up on isis territory with at t shirt that says Jesus saves all of the Muslims would stop and love Jesus, but that probably will not happen
    We should pray for these extremists and their salvation.
    But in all of this , we have to remember, in their heads this is what God wants, it is obeying God to them. Their holy book told them to do it. All the killing. I’m not saying it’s right, but we need to understand their mindset.
    Most of us will probably not meet Isis face to face, but we still need to remember to share the gospel on our social media ect because we never know how God is going to change their lives, we need to continually be the salt and light so they can see the real followers of the real God.

  • Interestingly enough, I just gave a speech on this for my final speech project. A couple notes, first, if there is any doubt, the so-called extremist position is a perfectly legitimate interpretation of the Quran. While many progressivistic Muslims today want to syncretize Islam and the western value of tolerance the so-called radicals are practicing true, historical Islam.

    As for a response, I would point out one thing which I think we tend to forget and that is that the Bible gives different directions to governments and individuals. While we may debate as to the application of the sermon on the mount, many people have quoted it below and it bears application so long as we speak of the individual for it was to the individual that it was spoken. The government was given a different job, that of being an “agent of God’s wrath” per Romans 13. So as far as military action or the use of force by any government sanctioned officials, that is permitted Biblically Matthew 5 not withstanding for the government was given authority to take actions on God’s behalf which individuals are not allowed to do.

    That said, how should one respond if, say, a terrorist were to walk into my university’s chapel service and start shooting? Assuming for the sake of the argument that the safety officers are all on a donut break, there are no government sanctioned officials nearby to be the “agent of God’s wrath.” Do I engage them in the defense of others? I know what I would do, but this is largely based of various values sets well in-grained into the American mindset. I would argue that we are to act “for the greater good” but this worldview, utilitarianism, is dangerous. Utilitarianism leaves you to decide your moral right and wrong. It leaves every man and woman to do whatever is right in his or her own eyes. Is it better for the majority in light of the social security issues that perhaps the more expensive 10% of the elderly be euthanized? That is only a small percentage of the population and they are going to die soon anyway. As you can see, utilitarianism leads to scewed moral judgements. Perhaps this is because it puts us in service to society instead of God.

    Individually, so long as I am the only person involved, I would hold to non-resistance. Governmentally, it is clear we are to wage war and when appropriate administer the death penalty. However, what to do in the situation where you can stop evil forcefully or the proper response when you have a civil responsibility to protect others, say as the father in a house? To this question, I would say fight as anything else seems wrong but I know not where I can make this argument from the scriptures.

    If anyone wants to further understand ISIS I ran across this article the other day. I don’t know anything about The Atlantic but I can tell you from having researched this topic heavily that this journalist is spot on and unusually fair to ISIS:

  • My big thing is, do we fight? Paul never fought. He ran, but never fought. Then again, they’re not going after just Christians, they are killing people for no reason- all religions aside. I’m stumped.

  • My family has this discussion almost every night at dinner. It is definitely a tough topic! I would recommend to y’all to read The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn- its really deep and can be confusing at times, but it gives a very different perspective on 9/11 and other terrorist attacks. I believe that most Muslims will always persecute Christians, and that’s the way its been, and probably will be for a long time. But most of all, we just need to trust God. Hope this was somewhat helpful 🙂

rebelling against low expectations

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