I was a bit surprised to read David Gushee’s article “Kill or be killed” in the Religious Herald [Oct. 21]. The piece was well-written and thoughtfully prepared, the kind of essay one might find in The Atlantic Monthly, for instance, or The New Republic. This was not the surprise, and the Religious Herald consistently meets high standards. The surprise was that the Herald would use its editorial space to publish such a thoroughly secular document.
There is no evidence in Gushee’s piece that any sort of Christian worldview is at work informing it. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Gushee’s primary evidence consists of two movies and the 9/11 commission report, neither of which exhibit any specifically Christian characteristics. In fact, the overwhelming sentiment was quite anti-Christian: “Kill or be killed.”
Whatever the president in Independence Day or Winston Churchill has to say may make for an interesting movie or good history reading, but it is certainly not a basis around which to form our lives. What we as Christians do find compelling enough to build our lives around are the words and actions of Jesus. In the moment of crisis, at a “kill or be killed” point, Jesus resists the temptation of violence, even commanding his disciple to “put down the sword.” This is a far cry from “kill or be killed” — in fact, it is precisely the opposite.
Greg Jarrell, Richmond