May 4, 2011

Should We Celebrate Osama Bin Laden's Death?

Osama Bin Laden was, by definition, an evil man. However, when I found out that he had died, I was oddly somber. I remember not feeling that way when Huessein was captured (indeed I was overjoyed about that), so I wondered what was different. Then I realized that the different was death.

But why should I be sad that an evil man died? I think what it comes down to is that deep down I know that Hell has another occupant, and to me, that just doesn't seem victorious. It isn't that I am regretful that he is dead (quite the opposite in fact); it is just that I am not happy about it.

I've read two different blog posts on this issue that demonstrates both sides. One is Dr. Roger Olson's (note how his title is very similar to mine). Reading this post was like reviewing my own thoughts, which was rather nice. I do believe that death is something which is alien to creation, and that killing is never something God really wants. Even David was told that his hands were too bloody to build the temple, and the wars he had raged were righteous. Dr. Olson I believe does a very good job at both recognizing that Bin Laden was evil, and thus needed to be killed while on the other hand lamenting the loss of a soul.

On the other hand, there is my best friend Chris's post, whose blog is more politically based than theological. However, Chris does have a strong heart for God and the lost, and he does know his Bible well. His main point is that there are many places where the Bible encourages us to celebrate justice, and to rejoice in victory. He quotes I Samuel 18:6-7, though I think something like Psalm 18 would have been more appropriate. Still, his point remains valid: there is support in Scripture for rejoicing in victory, and in celebrating justice.

Where does that leave me? Well, at the risk of being Bartian, I would argue that as Christians we should be both mournful and celebratory. Every evil man's has a stint of beauty and worth to them on account of them being made in the image of God. This is not something to be blotted out. But their beauty is akin to the beauty of a dandelion, and all though it may be bright and possess in intrinsic value, that value is made moot by its aggression which places its environs in danger.

So yes, I do think that in a sense we should celebrate. We should rejoice that a major victory was made for goodness and the world. We should rejoice that a threat that existed against us has been diminished. We should rejoice that justice was done. But we should do so while mourning that this victory was an earthly one, and our Enemy achieved a victory the same night.

PS. I only use the term beauty above to make the dandelion analogy work. I mean look at the guy. What was he thinking with that beard!


bethyada said...

Well Doug Wilson is worth a read on this topic also:

Makettles said...

I have issues with all the people who have jumped up to criticize those who felt "joyful' at the news. I am willing to bet my arm, not one of them lost a loved one on 9/11 and not one of them ever would have prayed for his soul or tried to get the gospel to him ( OBL) . So where does this righteous feeling of creating guilt in the hearts of those who feel that justice has been meted out, come from!
PS: I am not an American, I was not in America when 9/11 happened. But was in a place where I saw people throw parties when the twin towers collapsed and being a minority could only silently watch it. I feel my pent up emotions of that day has finally been released.!

Jc_Freak: said...


I agree. Some people try to make a habit over creating guilt. Like I said, it is important to be celebratory over a victory of this nature.

Anticipated Serendipity said...

Considering I live in the tri-state area, I have not seen a lot of evidence of people trying to make those who would celebrate feel guilty. To defend those who celebrate though, I really haven't seen that many celebrations that reveled in his death. It was a relief, it was closing a chapter. For many people it was theraputic as if they could let their loved ones now rest in peace. The celebration was the destruction, or at least a damaging blow, to what Bin Laden represented not really of the man himself.

I do have a question though, you said that you were overjoyed about Hussien. Why joy then and hesitation now?

Jc_Freak: said...

Tara, I actually explained this in the post I think. I was overjoyed when Hussein was captured, not when he died. Indeed, I wasn't particularly happy about him dying either, though I understood why.

Anticipated Serendipity said...

touche - i misread it