It’s simple, yet striking: Outside of its offer of salvation and eternal joy, Christianity is the only belief system — bar none — that offers hope here on Earth that humankind can progress forward.(1)
I was listening to National Public Radio (NPR) this morning on the way into work. It was their morning fake news program called, “Morning Edition.”
On came an Iraqi man who now lives in the United States. During the Iraq War, he was a translator for American forces in Iraq. After the Americans bolted from the country and left him high and dry, this man who had performed vital service for America told of how he had faced death threats from the scumbags whom Barack Obama’s half-witted policies allowed to rise and thrive.
So, the Iraqi man came to America. In this morning’s NPR feature he told of how he would inform people that he was from Iraq, and then would face a barrage of questions such as, “Why did you kill Americans?” These questions came from people unaware that he had worked for the American forces during the war.
The Christian perspective, though, is (1) to love everyone — everyone— unconditionally. This is the meaning of the commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” After all, “your neighbor” is anyone with whom you have direct interaction at any given moment. Your neighbor next door; your neighbor on the train or on the plane; your neighbor at work; your neighbor, if ever so fleetingly, on the sidewalk as you hurry on your way from here to there; your neighbor even more fleetingly on the highway, and so on.
Christianity then takes it one step further into the truly radical: Love your enemy.
If you approach this Iraqi guy as a Christian, then you love him, and you can make no judgmental presuppositions as to his past whatsoever, even though there is a possibility that he is your sworn enemy. You approach him simply as another person; as your neighbor … and you love him.
Then your reaction, upon meeting him, and finding out that he came from Iraq, would be something like, “Oh, my goodness! How did you make it to America, if you’re comfortable talking about it, and how do you like it here?” Or, “Oh, how long have you been here?” Or something of the sort.
As a Christian, you would have the foundational state-of-mind necessary to find out that the Iraqi man had been a friend to America and Americans all along.
The first state-of-mind, the first reaction — “Why did you kill Americans?” — is perfectly normal human nature. Nothing more nor less. Christianity, and its exhortation to love everyone unconditionally is the only doctrine that allows, no, that commands a person to go above and beyond his normal human nature, and to love that Iraqi man … unconditionally.(2)
In Dakota Meyer’s heart-wrenching book — Into The Fire — he tells of Hafez, an interpreter who proved to be of vital assistance to Meyer and his brothers-in-arms as they battled against Taliban savages in Afghanistan.
After Meyer’s company returned to the United States, Hafez petitioned to come to the United States. To this day, I believe, that petition is pending. Dakota Meyer received the Medal of Honor for valor above and beyond the call of duty in what’s now known as the Battle of Ganjigal in Afghanistan.
In Meyer’s telling, Hafez was every bit as valorous and heroic in that deadly battle as was Meyer, in saving American and Afghan lives. Yet, if he were to come to America, this American war hero would face the same kind of questions: “Why did you kill Americans?”
Not, though, if he were interacting with Christians, acting as Christians are commanded to. Furthermore, if all people were to act as Christians are commanded to, war would disappear overnight, as well as systemic hunger, poverty, and all the other evils that spring from human interactions.
It’s simple: only with Christianity will the world, and mankind, move forward.
(1) Though I’m a fully believing Christian, I’m approaching this from a secular perspective. I’m a firm believer that the truth works on all levels of life: Philosophical, moral, secular, religious, ethical, moment-to-moment, day-to-day, in all circumstances, in every context.
(2) Sometimes, the Iraqi man would be your enemy, and might attack you, but the Christian is confident of his ultimate fate if that attack were to succeed. The point is that Christian doctrine commands us always to start from a positive point-of-view, firmly on the moral high ground.
If, as in most cases, the man from Iraq is not our enemy, then the Christian has just manufactured a strongly positive interaction with his neighbor, and literally has moved the world forward, if only a little. No other belief system commands us to transcend our normal human nature in this way. By loving our neighbor and our enemy.
A brief foray into the spiritual, if you’ll indulge me for just a moment: The reason this is so radical is that the commandment comes to us from Jesus Christ, who issued it as the incarnate Son of God. That meant that what He said carried the full weight and authority of God Himself, and wasn’t merely the opinion of a human philosopher.