What Can We Do About ISIS?

This post and the article found here are a bit heavy, even by my standards, but I’ll risk it.

Like most Americans, I find the violence and brutality practiced by ISIS (or ISIL or DA’ASH) deplorable, despicable, and sickening–irrespective of who their victims may be. One of the most grievous consequences of their barbarism is the vindictive spirit it (1)provokes among many Christians, along with the tolerance of violence in retaliation which it breeds.

I confess that my immediate response to each new report of ISIS violence is the thought, “Somebody must do something to stop this,” generally followed, if only for a fleeting moment, by the image of some kind of giant weapon which enables the obliteration of ISIS and the elimination of its savagery.

That natural response passes soon enough, as I recall my strong commitment to nonviolence. But it is often followed by a sense of helplessness at the thought that, as a (2)pacifist, I have nothing substantive to contribute to the discussion of the question, “What to do about ISIS?”

In the accompanying article, a blog post by Derek Flood, the author describes people like me, evangelicals who came to their convictions regarding nonviolence and nonresistance as adults. He rightly notes that we are strongly committed to nonviolence but at a loss as to how to respond to violent threats like ISIS apart from the frustrated resignation that “we must simply leave it up to God. We can’t defeat violence by the use of violence.”

That’s why I am pleased to recommend this article, brought to my attention by a new Facebook friend. In it, Derek Flood proposes a meaningful nonviolent response. I know that (3)it has little chance of influencing the powers-that-be, but it is encouraging to see a serious and thoughtful attempt to address this issue, and one that maintains a commitment to the values of the Prince of Peace and his peaceable kingdom.

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