Yeah, he’s dead.

Our alarm is a gentle voice of NPR set to go off at 6:30 every morning.  Today, this is the time at which we learned Osama Bin Laden had been killed.

Being in the midst of more important tasks, I didn’t listen long to the reporting. (I had a dishwasher to empty and then getting ready for a run)  Thus it wasn’t until later that I heard of all the excitement – people chanting “U S A” at a baseball game as the announcement scrolled, for instance. There were, in fact, many reports of partying in response to the news.

I was saddened at the news; I am even more saddened at the partying.

I get that bin Laden was the leader of Al Quaeda, which was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, as well as many other terrorist actions, but I don’t want to be excited about anyone’s death.

Not even bin Laden’s.

Another reason I’m not really in the partying mood over bin Laden’s apparent demise is that I doubt this means an end to terrorism, much less actual peace.  Violence as repayment for violence rarely brings an end to violence.

And so it continues.  We remember today the impromptu parties that broke out in some places around the globe immediately following 9/11.  How many of us, as we remember those parties today, are thinking, “well, look who’s partying now!”?  Do we really think this means it is over?

May we consider what kinds of things might be done to move us closer to actual peace.

11 thoughts on “Yeah, he’s dead.

  1. “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” -Gandalf, a wizard

  2. I feel okay about the celebrating – the way people congregated to their nearest appropriate public place… it wasn’t organized – it was organic, a natural response and I think it’s perfectly fine.

    Personally, in my gut, I am glad he’s dead and I’m glad our troops killed him. I don’t feel the need the justify it (not that you were asking me to). 🙂

  3. But is the ‘natural’ response right? I don’t think necessarily so. I think that the celebrating is a fleshly response that misunderstands justice. Justice was not done. There is no way that the death of Osama Bin Laden in anyway is able to pay for his past evil actions. In this way, I would borrow from a blog of a friend (of a friend) a great theological phrase. Osama’s offense differs from ours not in kind, but in degree.
    What kind of offense to God has Osama committed? Nothing save is common to all humanity. Osama has rebelled against God and is a sinner. Are we not the of the same kind? Certainly. The degree of our offense may differ, but not the kind. In our flesh we are driven to comparison. We regard not the kind of offense, but rather the degree. Is Osama, in his flesh, offensive to God? Most assuredly. Are we in our flesh offensive to God? Yes, and in the same way.
    Does this not speak to us most strikingly of the power of the blood of Jesus? Surely, if the blood of Jesus is sufficient to cover the sins of Osama is is sufficient to cover our own sins. How great is this news?! My prayer is that Osama professed his faith in Jesus before his death. My prayer, is not then that Osama is rotting in hell, but my prayer is that Osama is dancing in the street of heaven, redeemed by the only means of redemption offered to humanity; namely the blood of Jesus. Now by the blood of Jesus, please know I am speaking to the entirety of who Jesus is, and what Jesus has accomplished, even His own bodily resurrection.
    The message for me, is not one of rejoicing in the death of Osama, but rather in the hopes of a merciful Saviour whose blood is more powerful than the sins of Osama.

    • Well, I realize this is a religious blog and so I am definitely not here in the same “spirit” (in that I’m not religious in any way).

      But I do believe that our natural feelings are perfectly fine – that’s why we have them. I resent having to say that we may have to channel those feelings into something positive because I feel that is an obvious statement. However, if people feel jubilant and satisfied because in some way they believe the closest thing to justice has been done (on a gut level) – then I think that’s perfectly fine.

      Stifling genuine, natural, understandable human emotion will only cause us to shut down our emotions completely. Feel those feelings – Know them – Know yourself. Feel the anger, Feel the sadness, Feel the joy – we have those feelings for a reason. We will have plenty of time to reflect and if so inclined, to forgive. But to try to force solemnity when one feels like expressing their true emotions would be artificial.

      • I hear you about not stifling natural responses, yet spending 48 hours of news cycle (how many cycles is that?) on the death, mission, etc., and flag waving and ceremonies – even the “NBA on TNT” desk jockies devoted a solid 10 minutes to it last night – may be a little more than natural response. Perhaps it is natural response meets consumer culture.

    • Ryan: good stuff. I always appreciate your perspective.

      I am concerned at different levels, I suppose. To expect no one to have the instantaneous, visceral reaction of relief at the death of the alleged mastermind of terrorism is, perhaps, understandable.

      For the adults among us, though, moving on from visceral reaction is reasonable to expect of mature people. I would, of course, expect even more of Jesus’ followers.

  4. Girly,
    perhaps this isn’t the correct venue (perhaps it is), but I don’t understand your comment that you are ‘not religious in any way.’ I I just confused by that. You hold no beliefs about God, or about the end of humanity (end as in purpose)? You have no lens through which you view the world?
    Confessedly, I am not a modernist. I don’t buy into the objectivity of modernity, nor in the idea that we can in anyway be anything more than completely religious, no matter our religious beliefs.

  5. First of all, thank you to Sheyduck for even allowing me to comment on a blog I probably have no business commenting on (and I usually don’t) except that I enjoy reading it.

    Secondly, to Ryan… I have a sincere interest in religion and religious people. I have no belief system but feel comfortable accepting the unknown – you may call it what you will, I see myself firmly (haha) agnostic. I do have strong feelings about humanity, animals, the earth, ethics etc and have an appreciation for the teachings of Jesus – despite my assertion that it’s okay to feel and express satisfaction, even joyful satisfaction in the events of this past Sunday.

    Thank you for engaging me.

  6. Surely,
    please do not regard my comments as critical at all. I find it giving people MORE credit, not less to say we are all equally religious. You seem like you do have strong feelings about many things. These core beliefs surely are your religious beliefs. You are ‘firmly’ open minded. So which of Jesus’ teachings do you appreciate? All? Some? How would you divide Jesus’ speech actions? Who do you think Jesus is?

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