A Christian Response to bin Laden’s Death

Last night, the world learned that the US Military successfully executed Osama bin Laden at a compound in Pakistan. Immediately, the Social Media universe exploded in a flurry of celebratory, nationalistic self-congratulation. Within minutes, #Osama bin Laden was leading Twitter’s trends (narrowly beating out Hermione Granger). If you weren’t paying close attention, you’d think that those of us behind the keyboards were responsible for killing him single-handedly.

I found most disturbing the celebration coming from the Christian camp. Many of us were celebrating his death.

One of the more moderate Facebook comments I read a Facebook read, “Toast that our enemy is dead; sad though that anyone goes to hell.” Too many of us have been raising our glasses and cheering bin Laden’s death. And when we’re asked about it, we’ll begrudgingly admit that we’re sad in the abstract that a human being is now in Hell. But our tone and the tenor of our posts and comments make it clear that if anyone deserves to be in Hell, it’s bin Laden – apparently he’s been placed right next to Hitler.

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Love Wins by Rob Bell

Bell’s book is a lot to chew on; it’ll certainly reward several close readings. But it is well within the bounds of Orthodox Christianity, and asks some very good questions (it’s far outside the bounds of Orthodox New Calvinism, and some people mistake that for the whole of the Christian tradition, but rest assured they’re deluded). We need to be talking about Heaven, Hell and the picture of God that lies behind them. It’s a fun read and very accessible.

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